Can dogs be dumb?

In short, while dogs can’t necessarily be considered “dumb” there are specific behaviors and traits that make certain dogs more responsive to commands and more aware of their surroundings than others. What you may think is “dumb” is actually just an under-stimulated, unfulfilled pup.

Even though we often awe at the skills of our canine friends, dogs are really just basic animals that rely on us for pretty much everything. In Gizmodo’s Dog Week, let’s examine all the things these good boys and girls fail at rather than blindly celebrating them.

I love dogs a lot, so it doesn’t make me happy to do this and show them for the stupid animals that they are. Anyone who has spent time around dogs is aware that they are capable of being brilliant one minute and completely stupid the next. Advertisement.

Of course, when I insult dogs’ intelligence, what I’m really doing is comparing their cognitive capacities to those of humans, which is obviously comparing apples to oranges. Instead of making this error, scientists typically compare domesticated dogs to animals that are similar to them, like wolves or dingoes. Stephen Lea, a psychology professor at the University of Exeter and an authority on dogs, explained to Gizmodo that if comparisons to humans must be made, researchers will stick to young children, who serve as a kind of yardstick for evaluating human development.

According to the “domestication hypothesis,” which Lea explained to Gizmodo, the process of domestication has significantly changed the intelligence of dogs. Scientists typically find it more beneficial to compare various dog breeds to wolves and other similar animals, such as working, companion, street, and shelter dogs.

In fact, there is a lot of variation among dogs because breed, socialization, life experiences, and other factors can have an impact on how they behave. However, dogs excel at being dogs, which includes activities like fetch, barking at neighbors, herding sheep, begging for food, and, most importantly, offering companionship. Even though we occasionally mistakenly attribute more intelligence to them than they deserve, there is literally no reason for them to be more intelligent than humans.

According to PhD candidate Zachary Silver from Yale University’s Comparative Cognitive Lab, “dogs are very good at what they’re bred to do—they’re excellent at those things, and in some cases even better than other species we think are intelligent, such as chimps and bonobos.” But as soon as we leave that area, we observe numerous cognitive flaws, such as a lack of adaptability and sophistication. ”Advertisement.

That brings us full circle to discussing the areas where canine intelligence is somewhat lacking. These shortcomings, if you will, are not something we require or expect from dogs, which is likely why they never developed in the first place or are being eliminated due to breeding.

Dogs seem to have trouble with self-awareness as one area. The ability to recognize one’s reflection in a mirror is a classic test of self-awareness shared by humans, great apes, and even dolphins. Dogs are terrible at this because they either ignore their reflection or believe it to be another dog.

Having said that, dogs aren’t visual beings, and this test is very visual. They actually smell the world more than anything else. In response to this, psychologist Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College ran an experiment where the smell of urine took the place of the mirror. The findings revealed that dogs responded more strongly to the scent of their own urine than that of other dogs, which Horowitz theorized to be a form of self-recognition. Not a hugely convincing result, but a result nonetheless.

Dog owners frequently communicate with their pets and even assert that their canine friends can understand them. Dogs can associate names with objects more frequently than other animals, according to psychology professor Daphna Buchsbaum of the University of Toronto, but they have trouble understanding complete sentences and grammar. ”Advertisement.

In fact, some dogs have impressive vocabularies, like Chaser, a border collie who can name 1,000 words. The canines struggle with grammar and the stringing together of several words. Yet, they often give us the impression of comprehension.

Angie Johnston, a psychologist at Boston College, said to Gizmodo, “Dogs are really sensitive to our communications and emotions, and sometimes they’re so good at reading what we want that it can really look like they’re understanding us, and it looks like they’re understanding the nuances of what we’re saying.”

Johnston cited the infamous case of Clever Hans, a horse that gave the impression of doing math by stamping its hoof but was actually very adept at interpreting audience social cues. Johnston advised people to “remember the idea of Clever Hans.” “We have to consider the possibility that dogs are reading us because they often make things up as they go along.” ”.

According to Silver, it’s crucial for dogs to comply with our commands, but “a representation of language is not necessarily important to them.” ”Advertisement.

It’s challenging to determine which traits in dogs came from wolves and which ones we introduced through selective breeding. Understanding human gestures, such as pointing or following an owner’s gaze into the distance, is one potent illustration of a skill acquired through the forces of artificial selection. Wolves and a lot of other supposedly intelligent animals, like chimpanzees, are unable to do this. It would seem that we have bred this characteristic into dogs.

However, as Silver noted, they lack human flexibility when it comes to interpreting more abstract visual cues. Dogs can be alerted to a hidden object, such as a treat hidden by an overturned cup, by finger pointing, according to research, but this is not the case when the target cup is shaken with a string. Silver claimed that 2-year-old human children understand the experiment’s concept and that dogs “are very bad at this version.” Even though the solution appears straightforward to us, dogs simply cannot make the necessary logical leap.

In what can only be described as the canine equivalent of learned helplessness, dogs are terrible at solving problems.

How frequently do you want your pet dog to figure out a problem on their own? asked Buchsbaum. Advertisement.

“Domestication has diminished some of their more untamed versions’ innate abilities.” The answer lies in examining the human aspect of their lives. How do you enter the building, get food, and pass the gate? Humans do it. She told Gizmodo, “In some ways, it’s the correct response, but in other ways, it’s the result of them not needing to understand those things.

There will always be exceptions to the rule because some dogs are naturally more capable than others due to their breed, their training, or other factors, but on the whole, dogs struggle when faced with challenges.

Dogs can get frustrated easily in some circumstances when they don’t have a human helper, especially when they are faced with a persistent issue. Lea brought up the well-known “detour” problem, in which a desire object that is readily apparent, like a treat, is obstructed by something else, like a glass door or a fence. Lea told Gizmodo that dogs are frequently perplexed by this issue and attempt to paw through the obstruction “when all they had to do was go around the edge of the barrier to gain easy access.” Dogs “tend to go for responses that are physically nearby without seeing the structure of the situation, causing them to make the wrong response,” and “tend to be captured by the proximal.” Dogs can be trained to avoid these mistakes, according to Lea, but it’s unclear if they can generalize outside of familiar contexts or understand the fundamental idea. Advertisement.

It’s important to note that complex problem solving isn’t limited to humans. The family of birds known as corvids, which includes crows, exhibits a remarkable capacity for problem-solving, planning ahead, and even the construction and use of tools. These characteristics emerged in birds due to evolutionary necessity, but not in dogs.

Lea finds it interesting that when it comes to initiating problem solving, shelter dogs perform better than pet dogs. As opposed to shelter dogs, which don’t look back at their owners, pet dogs “just look back at their owners,” the speaker said. Consequently, while some behaviors in dogs are learned, many cognitive limitations in dogs are inherited.

Dingos, a species that returned to the wild after a brief period of domestication, and dogs have a common ancestor, but dingos spend less time exploring their environment and looking for food than do dogs. But as Johnston noted, dogs are significantly less productive than dingoes when they are engaged in exploratory behavior. She noted that sometimes “dogs can be so social that it becomes a barrier to problem solving.”

Given the long history of cooperation between humans and dogs, it is presumed that the…

Johnston continued, “Dogs are also terrible at collaborating with one another.” In fact, according to research from 2017, when working on a challenging puzzle that could be solved with cooperation, one dog will attempt to solve the puzzle while the other dog will merely observe. They’re “not good at integrating their actions,” according to Johnston, which is interesting given how well they work with people. She claimed that it seems as though dogs “lost the ability to do stuff with each other,” but it’s possible that the animals are merely attempting to avoid conflict.

How Do You Test Your Dog’s Intelligence?

While there are many ways to determine your dog’s intelligence, there is one common test to determine whether your dog may struggle to complete some exercises.

If you’re looking for a reliable but easy “is my dog dumb quiz,” then it is best to use Dr. Stanley Coren’s IQ test.

There are several exercises here that shouldn’t be done all at once. Your dog might become confused because it won’t understand why you’re making it perform all these tasks. Your pet might become overstimulated, which might influence how they initially approach the test.

At the conclusion of each test, be sure to lavish your dog with affection and assurance.

Here are some things you can ask your dog to do. The objective is to assess your dog’s capacity for information retention, learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. At the conclusion, there is a scoring system that allows you to determine your dog’s IQ range.

Task #2

Place two to three cups upside down. The cups should be arranged in a row. Let your dog watch the preparations. Put one treat under one of the cups. Give your dog a brief period of distraction before letting him search for the hidden treat.

Goal: Determine how well your dog can learn and retain new information.

Getting the treat on the first try earns your dog three points. Your dog receives two points if it succeeds on the second try and one point if it checks two incorrect cups before finding the correct one.

No Negative Reinforcement of Undesirable Behavior

Taking something away to increase or maintain the frequency of a behavior is known as negative reinforcement. Using an electric training collar to teach your dog a command is an illustration of this. The only time the shock is turned off if you are teaching your dog to “Sit” is when she sits. Such a training approach is not only harmful and cruel, but it might not even be the most efficient.

Use positive reinforcement with a lot of patience as opposed to negative reinforcement. These two components are more reliable and present our dogs with fewer dangers.

Can dogs be dumb?


Why is my dog kinda dumb?

Your dog may be acting stupid because you haven’t trained it enough or you’ve trained it incorrectly. And if that’s the case, you can’t expect your dog to learn tricks if you haven’t even provided basic training.

How can you tell if a dog is not intelligent?

Smart dogs are innately great problem solvers, Cabral says. Get your dog a food puzzle (a toy that must be manipulated in a specific way to access a treat) to assess her problem-solving skills. Cabral asserts that if she can figure it out on her own, she is intelligent.

Can dogs be mute?

Dogs being born mute is extremely rare, according to veterinarian Chen Chia-chun. He believes that Pipi lost her vocal cords during a recent non-scarring surgical procedure. When a dog’s vocal cords were removed in the past, the animal’s throat was left with a mark, the doctor explained.

Which dog has the least IQ?

5 Least Intelligent Dog Breeds
  • Chihuahua. (photo credit: Leanne Graham, Animal Photography/ …
  • Pug. The Pug is a cute little dog bred to be a devoted companion. It is typically friendly, sweet, and humorous.
  • Weimaraner. …
  • Irish Setter. …
  • Basset Hound.