All dogs are clever. They have many ways of getting what they want think how difficult it is to resist a soulful look when a dog is trying to get you to share your meal.
A dog’s capacity to communicate in terms that humans can understand is one of the reasons for the long-held association between humans and dogs. The look on their face when they deliver a ball to your feet is easily construed to me “time for fetch”?
These examples highlight a dogs’ ability to learn and use complex behavior to their advantage.
Dogs process information differently from humans, but are capable of understanding body language and posture.
They are able to see better in low light, and their eyes respond differently to colors. Their ears are able to rotate to quickly and accurately locate sounds and the source. And their famous sense of smell is a well-known fact.
Differences with other types of mental functioning also exist. Cause and effect relationships do not have the same meaning to a dog as they do to a human.
Humans are able to understand classical conditioning – associating a stimulus with a response – much more easily. Unlike dogs, we are easily able to change an undesired response to a car accident or a trip to the doctor.
Dogs have even more trouble with operant conditioning – grasping naturally related cause and effect relationships normally carried out by positive and negative reinforcement.
When exiting via the back door with my Golden Retrievers, it means we’re going to play fetch. Yet when I let them out the side door, I leave them by themselves but they still head for the back door expecting me to follow and play.
My dogs have learned a wide selection of behaviors through training with specific tones, words and unique hand gestures which go with every command. Sit, stay, down, come, roll-over and fetch and release are all commands that they comprehend and perform when directed.
Despite their ability to learn commands, telling them not to eat something on the ground which has previously caused them an upset stomach is a waste of time. They’ll continue to repeat the behavior as they’re unable to understand the effect when the cause is at an earlier time.
Your loyal friend, no matter what the breed, is able to be trained to do a remarkable amount of things, though you need to be aware of their limitations.
Dogs can be taught amazing some amazing feats. One dog well known on the show circuit has been trained to perform a dance routine lasting several minutes. Search-and-rescue dogs are able to pull children from rivers and skiers from avalanches. Service dogs are capable of opening doors and pulling wheelchairs as well as fetching a container full of water without spilling any.
While they may be trained to imitate humans, you need to remember that they don’t think as we do. It doesn’t matter how often you tell them, they will continue to eat things that they shouldn’t.