24th July 2006, 10:48 AM
Happy play mates it seems. I love cockers also... but my heart belongs to three cavs
24th July 2006, 01:29 PM
They look so sweet together. They really need playmates don't they>
Julie and the girls
24th July 2006, 02:08 PM
Very cute! I've got a lot of links on the challenges of dealing with two puppies at the same time (this can present some special challenges) in the Library section, that might be of some interest!
I'd be a bit concerned at using an anti bark collar on a young puppy though? Have you talked to some trainers about this? Puppies often bark and yip and this subsides as they get a bit older and such collars are also really intended for the adult dog. It is generally more effective to try and teach a bark command, then a no-bark command as you don;t really want to use device collars the whole dog's life. The citronella collars can also be very uncomfortable for dogs -- it remains a punishment based system that won't offer any positive behaviour model for the dog (so therefore, very easy for the dog to return to the behaviour unless it spends its life getting repeat 'punishment' of the spray).
Regarding dog intelligence by breed, it is an interesting topic -- there is this fairly controversial book that pop psychologists and TV shows love, which you can read more about here (breed ratings are included on this site):
I've always thought such hierarchies are very questionable as they do not take into consideration that dogs can be motivated to do well in different ways as well as subconsciously (and the man who wrote it bases his 'evidence' on the very old wolf pack studies and alpha dominence theories that have scientifically been discredited as a basis for understanding either wolves or dogs -- it was very flawed research though it sadly continues to influence training methods and people's notions about dominance and submission in dogs). I cannot really see how his method could possibly offer a level ground on which to base scores and I know it has been dismissed by many dog behaviouralists (this man is a human psychologist).
Additionally and more relevant, I think, is that breeds are all highly specialised and bred -- in some cases for centuries and even, millenia -- to do certain things. Say a border collie vs a cavalier -- lots of people consider border collies the smartest dogs, but they are specifically bred to be extremely responsive and trainable -- which doesn't reflect intelligence per se, but how it suits humans to have certain personality traits expressed genetically. Cavaliers were trained to be close companions and lap warmers (literally) and probably also to do some hunting activity -- and you don;t want a dog that is disposed to herd, look constantly for commands, or is trying to figure things out, you generally want a dog content to be calm and companionable while also outgoing. Or take another breed I know well, the Pyrenees. They too work livestock but are alone with herds on mountains for days on end, often without human caretakers there. You need independence, smart thinking on the spot, aloofness, ability to focus on the task at hand but not to be looking for tasks. And the ability to NOT need human guidance. The last thing you want is a dog with a 'smart' border collie personality.
Is one smarter than the other? How do you measure 'smart' in such cases? All you can measure is the ability to do certain types of tasks appropriate the the breed's genetic personality.
Interestingly in my agility class, the single best dog in the class has been jaspar, who has learned much faster (the first to have mastered each piece of equipment) and responds faster and more fearlessly than any of the several border collies also in the class. So a lot is also individual personality of the dog, who has trained the dog, and how commands or cues were delivered to the dog and by whom. I'd think all these things would have a huge impact on how a dog of any breed gets scored for any intelligence survery.
I've seen some rankings as well based on what trainers say about the trainability level but this kind of ranking still has the problem of basing intelligence only on a response to commands -- which for a lot of dogs is not an intent of the breed. But it may well be relevant for someone considering what breed to get!
In memory: Lucy
24th July 2006, 05:56 PM
I have read quite a bit of stuff from the Library section, and found it very useful indeed.
Your pointers re. bark collar are interesting. I have, as you know, two puppies, only one of whom over-did the barking thing. I'm all for freedom of doggy-speech, but this barking was excessive, over-the-top, anti-social and a nuisance to the neighbours in the housing estate where I live. If I wanted a barker, I'd have got me a terrier! Cavaliers, I thought, were soft, docile, affectionate, unaggressive. This, however, was aggressive behaviour! Difficult for people to sleep in the area when it was going on. I ignored it for the first month, rewarding her with attention when she wasn't being demanding, and ignoring her when she was being strident and unreasonable; then, when that wasn't working, felt that a quicker solution to the problem was in order. A case of Shock and Awe, so to speak. Spoke to the Vet and two trainers about it, and they had no objection. She has quietened down no end now, and is has a much softer personality now. A proper Cavalier in personality. Soft, affectionate, and doesn't manifest aggressive behaviour any more. Have no regrets. Not yet anyhow. But will bear your thoughts on the matter in mind as she gets older. You may well be right, and I may yet live to regret it! I might start trying to teach the bark command, then a no-bark command. But first things first: for the moment, I'm trying to get them to do their business on command. They are still liable to drop their pants and soil the kitchen floor.
The reason why I think my Cavalier is more intelligent than my Cocker is because 1) she is a better sniffer/hunter and retriever; 2) she figures certain things out quicker than the Cocker; for example, she quickly grasped how to go up the wheelchair ramp that accesses Silver Strand in Galway (one follows the zig-zag path upwards/downwards), whereas the Cocker did not (she thinks that it should be possible to go upwards or downwards in a vertical fashion).
I think, frankly, that there are variations of intelligence within each breed.
My mother thinks the Cocker is Special Needs.
24th July 2006, 08:23 PM
intelligence is an interesting subject to me, human, dog, horse, whatever. Good points Karlin. I see this with humans all the time, i work with lots of kids and many of them are tested for intelligence (among other things) and it's interesting the way some kids who i consider quite bright and deft in their use of language in particular, score low and very low on those intelligence tests. It seems to be a cultural bias--the language skills some of these kids have are nonstandard vocabularies and even logics. And then, in addition to variations in cultural intelligence, and inability to compare apples and oranges across cultures (though culture free tests exist but are they really valid?) there are different kinds of intelligence in another sense, which often comes to my mind in thinking about dogs. There is cognitive intelligence, there's mathmatical intelligence, there's verbal intelligence, there's social intelligence, and there's what i would call emotional intelligence, which probably would come under social intelligence.
Like humans, dogs certainly vary in their degree of social intelligence. There is learned social intelligence and there is innate social intelligence. Some individuals are limited innately as to how socially adept they can become, regardless of how much trainiing they receive.
When i walk Zack on the retractable leash, i sometimes think about my previous dog, Frank, a mixture of various breeds with a fairly unique look, and how she never needed a leash in order to be safe when walking around, and i thought about how some dogs don't notice cars, or don't regard them as dangerous, but some, Frank for example, did understand a car to be dangerous, perhaps like a predator, something to stay away from, to give a wide birth to, just as humans know enough to do that after a certain age.
I was thinking about Zack and how he has come along in learning how to walk together with me, in the beginning, if he wasn't on a leash, he would run away and never come back, he had no concept of getting lost or of any danger. Or, of us being companions. Now, he walks along wiht me, either going far ahead (the extension of the leash, 26 feet) or lagging behind, but he has learned to come with me and to be aware of where i am, and to habitually accept coming with me and choosing to come with me, this wasn't there before. And for the most part, i could probably take the leash off and he would stick with me. But i have no doubt that if he saw a cat or a bird, he would take off and he would not have any sense of whether a car was coming, or if he did know it was coming, i am pretty sure he wouldn't try to avoid it, he wouldn't understand the danger of it. And he would generally give it little or no thought because he would be focused on that which he wanted to chase. So i can never let him off the leash in the city, even though we walk very late at night and only see maybe a couple of slow moving cars. I can never chance it because i understand Zack's thinking or lack of, about cars.
And iwas thinking about how Zack has a kind of intelligence, bred in i suppose,to focus intensely on things he feels he must chase. With Zack, when we play fetch at the dog park, i will often deliberately throw the ball into the bushes because i know he'll find it. He's so focused, he won't give up, even if other dogs are playing, he will ignore that, he is determined to find the ball. It's the same thing at home, in my living room, when we play fetch. The ball may go one direction and bounce and end up on the other side of the room, obscured, and he will start off looking in the original direction, but by process of elimination, he'll go through the whole living room until he finds the ball. I am really impressed by this. sometimes i think he'll never find it because of where it ended up, and i'll go on doing something else and forget about fetch, and a few minutes later, he'll come up to me with the ball in his mouth.
Frank loved to chase cats too, but unlike Zack, Frank took in the big picture. To Frank, there was more going on than just the cat. She remained aware of where i was, she was aware of where cars were, she was a big picture dog. Because she appears to have herding dog in her genes, i see this as a kind of intelligence needed by herding dogs, as opposed to hunting dogs like Zack. Herding dogs need to take in the big picture, and whatever they are focused on , they have to be aware of olther aspects of the environment at the same time, they are multitaskers. Zack is more of a hunter, with powerful hunting intelligence. He is able to focus so strongly on his 'prey,' that he can find things that other dogs might give up on or lose track of. Because of this focus, he is not safe around cars and traffic, while Frank was safe on busy streets, it was just part of her natural intelligence, she was never trained to be that way.
But Zack, unlike Frank, can sit and watch a TV show and "understand" it in a way, the symbolism on the two dimensional screen is meaningful to him, he can project the object in his mind that the information on the screen suggests. I think that is a kind of social intelligence, or maybe it's an ability to abstract, which will vary from one dog to another. It doesn't seem to be a breed dependent thing though.
As a human, i generally think of intelligence as related to language skills.
So when i see any dog who responds with understanding to human words and nonverbal gestures, i find myself saying "What a smart dog."
24th July 2006, 08:52 PM
ROTF-- This reminds me of someone adopted a dog from a pound about a year ago-- they were told the dog was highly trained-- They tried sit, stay, lay etc... NOTHING--- my daughter (who works at our vet clinic and has a minor in spanish)walks up and she speaks spanish -- BAM-- the dog was very smart and highly trained -- but only understood spanish. I don't know if they kept the dog or not. Sandy