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How to make my dog smarter – Can technology help? — 16 Comments

  1. Hello Ian,

    This is the first I have heard of tech-based puzzles for dog – what an interesting concept. Based on your research, does the age of the dog matter? I mean, would a pup be easier to train using the technology over a dog who is past 2 years old?

    I got a chuckle out of your list of dogs at the top and bottom of the scale. My daugher has a Rottweiler (very smart dog) and a Saint Bernard (we call him a big galoot!) who we don’t consider as smart as his ‘brother’ (in fact, I didn’t even see him on the list!). Thanks for a fun and interesting article.

    • Hi Mary Ann – thanks for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Puppies are usually the easiest to train because you can teach them what they ought to do and avoid any bad habits. Ha Ha! 🙂 In theory.

      These tech puzzles require the dog to do more than one thing (recognising sequences, for example) but they start off asking the dog to do just one thing such as press a button or come near the Wobbler which ought to be doable. However, a puppy’s curiosity and urge to explore may make it difficult to concentrate. As with any activity, the success will depend on the individual dog, and if a puppy struggles with the basic game, try them again at monthly intervals. A slightly older dog who is familiar with their surroundings and who can be trained to do simple tricks maytake to it a little faster.

      There’s a link to Cohen’s full list in the artcile. Here it is again:  Stanley Coren’s list of smartest dog breeds. The Saint Bernard, alas, comes 65 out of 79. But the list is mainly abou ‘trainability’ so he can probably do whatever you want him to but it may take him a little longer than the Doberman. I bet he’s absolutely lovely! 🙂

      Ian

  2. This was a really interesting article. I am always looking out for new things to learn about dogs, their behavior, their intelligence, how to teach them tricks and how to stimulate them. I have a little-mixed race dog. He is not a proper breed but I got him from a  rescue home and for me, he is just adorable. I am definitely gonna try some of the things you spoke about in your article with him. Thank you

    • Hi Barbara – thank you for taking a look at the site. I got my Murphy from a rescue home. There are too many dogs there so thank you for rescuing a dog 🙂 I think many mongrels are hardy souls and I like to think they get the best aspects of their mix 🙂

      One of the main requirements  of looking after a dog is to keep them engaged. They are smarter than we often give them credit for and get bored just as we do if not kept stimulated. There are hundreds of interesting toys and puzzles available to help you do just that. 

      Have fun with your littlefella!

      Ian

  3. This was an eye opener for dog lovers like me. I am happy to see my dog breed among the smartest of all dogs which is a Papillon .I always enjoy all of your writing and this one is no exception because your articles are very helpful and informative.This is the most extensive and comprehensive review I’ve read on dog intelligence.

    I am now going to see just how smart my little Papillon is with some of the toys nd puzzles you suggest.

    • Hi Abioye – thank you for your flattering comments 🙂

      I think a lot of dog owners will be surprised by the list. Monty, my Bernese Mountain Dog comes 23 on the list (a link to the complete list is in the article) so no slouch but a few people didn’t think he was very bright for some reason. But I knew better 🙂

      Have fun seeing just how clever your dog is. He may surprise you!
      Ian

  4. I didn’t know that Poodles are smart dogs. I  have a Labrador who loves to play with me all the time. He is 2 years old and quite smart. Thanks for sharing all those devices that can improve a dog’s IQ. Dogs are usually curious and ready to learn. I would definitely buy one for my dog and share the results here. Thanks

    • Hi Sanjay – yes, I think Poodles will surprise a lot of people – although not Poodle owners 🙂 It does depend on the individual dog, too.

      Labradors are pretty smart. My Henry was! 🙂 He never missed an opportunity to do a trick for a treat and he was most adept at hoovering up any food that hit the floor! 🙂

      If you do try any of the puzzles with your dog, do let us know how you get on.

      Ian

  5. Thanks for sharing this articlee. Basically I started as soon as i brought my puppy home. Early training will make your dog more trainable later and increase this type of intelligence. Provide continued exposure to tests and problems. Buy food bowls that make him use his intelligence to eat, and continually test his intelligence.

    • Hi Seun – yes, you’re absolutely right! if you keep engaging with your dog and testing him with puzzles you will keep his mind active and looking for new possibilities so it will be easier to train him to do new tricks. Remember that mental stimulation is tiring, too, as well as physical exercise (which is, of course, a major necessity) so make sure your dog is having fun as he is learning and don’t make the sessions too long.

      Ian

  6. Your article on making dogs smatter was very educational. But I believe that no dog is dumb, if your dog is not smart it means you are lazy and don’t pay enough attention to your dog. With a little dedication and care you can make any dog intelligent enough. And the more intelligent your dog is the easier life is

    • Hi Nathaniel – I had to laugh!  Only lazy people have dumb dogs 🙂 You could be right! 🙂 

      I think you can train just about every dog although some are smarter than others and will pick up training faster than others. Bit like us – some humans learn faster than others. So with some dogs we may need a little more patience.

      However, interaction with your dog is very important for bonding and engagement. I think a lot of dogs in our modern environment do not get the human contact they need and deserve.
      Ian

  7. Let me say I am suprised to learn that we can increase a dog’s IQ. I would really love to learn more on how to make my dog smarter and if technology can help me to achieve that goal. Do you think the two tech toys can really make my dog smarter or are they just gimmicks?

    • Hi Charles – yes, increasing your dog’s IQ is an intriguing idea, isn’t it?

      All the info and references to get you started are in the article so check them out if you haven’t done so already.

      Insofar as we can improve our IQ score by practising IQ tests, and improve our ability to learn simply by learning, all the evidence suggests that dogs can do the same.

      If you give a dog a series of puzzles of increasing difficulty such as those by Nina Ottosson you are stretching their learning ability as they increase in difficulty. The beauty of tech puzzles like the PupPod and CleverPet Hub is that the puzzles adapt to your dog’s ability and get harder (or go down a level) as your dog solves them. In other words they are continually pushing your dog at the edge of his ability. This challenges them and keeps them engaged -and makes them smarter! 🙂
      Ian

  8. Wow…super article.  Very comprehensive.  Now I know why I haven’t been successful as a dog owner- I haven’t put in the work or time to help my dogs to get smarter.  

    It does seem like a lot of work and patience-something that I do lack. This is why I now have cats..

    Nice work!

    • Ha! Ha! Ok, Nate, some people are dog people and some people are cat people. Dogs do take a lot more looking after but, in my opinion, they are far more rewarding. I had a cat as a child and I loved him to bits but I much preferred the contact, engagement and interaction you get from dogs. Heck, they’re just so much fun, too!

      Yes, it does take a lot of time and patience to train a dog. I don’t think you were unsuccessful becasue you didn’t make your dog smarter but you do need to engage with them and bond with them and that does take time. Dogs need human companionship and can become bored and unhappy if they don’t get it – just as we do.

      Enjoy your cats 🙂
      Ian

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