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Is Your Dog Dumber Because of You?

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June 18, 2010

Is Your Dog Dumber Because of You?

By David DiBenedetto

On Pritch’s crate there’s a sticker that reads “My Boykin Spaniel Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student.” I do think she’s too smart for her own good at times (in fact, she aced this dog IQ test), but some recent news in the Daily Mail suggests our domestication of dogs has turned them into pampered, slobbering galoots. Here’s a snippet of what the article had to say:


Researchers believe that years of domestication has led to dogs losing the problem solving skills they once had in the wild. Pet dogs failed basic intelligence tests that wolves and wild dogs pass with ease, according to the research. The findings suggest they are now so dependent on people they are simply stupid versions of their forefathers.

“Stupid versions of their forefathers” might be a little strong, but here’s how one test went down:

Researchers placed a bowl of food behind a fence. To get to the food the animals had to work their way along the fence away from the food to go through a swinging door and then double back on themselves.

All of the dingoes found the food reward in about 20 seconds, taking proper advantage of the doors.

Domesticated dogs, on the other hand, looked puzzled and confused. They pawed at the fence, dug at it, and even barked, out of frustration and to call for help.

In defense of domesticated dogs, the researchers did admit that man’s best friend had a few qualities that the wild gang did not, including performing well on social tasks such as communicating with humans and learning from humans via observation. Sounds like just the skills that allow us to train our dogs to be gun dogs.

Don’t know about you, but I’ll stick with my dog. The researchers can keep the dingoes.

Comments (11)

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from jeffclark533 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Same here. I'll stick with my pup. For a 10 week old he sure is smart. He's got a great pedigree and I get compliments all the time about how he's such a good looking black lab.

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from brimc83 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Pretty sure your Boykin isn't going to kill a kangaroo or eat your baby, either. Two more strikes against dingoes...

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from pinopolis wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

very good point, brimc83. and while my dog may not have all of the primitive instincts of a dingo, when is comes to socializing and hunting she's way smarter that I am.

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from jamesti wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i'll stick to my lab. i don't have much use for a killer.

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from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

my dog is way smarter.Once I figured out what he wanted me to do.And when I put it together he rewards me by placing a duck in my hand.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

John Anderson-- Well put. Very well put. -D

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Its a Co-dependency when you have a pet. They rely on you for things, and you rely on them for things.

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from shane wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Dogs becoming soft and stupid - sounds like a common symptom of being around humans ha ha. Wolves have proportionally much larger brains than domestic dogs, so this is no surprise to me.

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from countitandone wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Science, often times, misses the point that a game working dog is also a member of your family.

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from MLH wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Same with all intelligence tests - a group of individuals get together and definitively determine what defines smarts, or intelligence ... within their own limited and ofttimes arrogant perspectives and capacities.

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from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I've never seen what I thought was a smart dog that had a duffus for an owner..the more time you spend with them, and teach them things, the smarter they get.

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from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

my dog is way smarter.Once I figured out what he wanted me to do.And when I put it together he rewards me by placing a duck in my hand.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jeffclark533 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Same here. I'll stick with my pup. For a 10 week old he sure is smart. He's got a great pedigree and I get compliments all the time about how he's such a good looking black lab.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brimc83 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Pretty sure your Boykin isn't going to kill a kangaroo or eat your baby, either. Two more strikes against dingoes...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

very good point, brimc83. and while my dog may not have all of the primitive instincts of a dingo, when is comes to socializing and hunting she's way smarter that I am.

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from jamesti wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i'll stick to my lab. i don't have much use for a killer.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

John Anderson-- Well put. Very well put. -D

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Its a Co-dependency when you have a pet. They rely on you for things, and you rely on them for things.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Dogs becoming soft and stupid - sounds like a common symptom of being around humans ha ha. Wolves have proportionally much larger brains than domestic dogs, so this is no surprise to me.

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from countitandone wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Science, often times, misses the point that a game working dog is also a member of your family.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Same with all intelligence tests - a group of individuals get together and definitively determine what defines smarts, or intelligence ... within their own limited and ofttimes arrogant perspectives and capacities.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I've never seen what I thought was a smart dog that had a duffus for an owner..the more time you spend with them, and teach them things, the smarter they get.

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