Learning Through Training
Countless studies have been conducted to understand the thinking process of dogs. Tests show that dogs show very high intelligence when learning. And this goes way beyond just dog training! Any owner who wants to invest some time can have one very smart Beagle.
In a recent study, dogs were put in front of computers with touch screens. The dogs were then given a treat each time a photograph of a dog appeared on the screen. Now the test began: Randomly, the dogs would be shown 2 photos, one of a dog and the other of a natural landscape. The dogs, using their paws, kept choosing to touch the photos of dogs.
To take this even further, the dogs were then shown a landscape and also a landscape with a dog in it. The dogs were able to understand the photos and chose the ones with the dogs.
Tests such as this prove that dogs are highly capable of learning and that with simple dog training of positive reinforcement (giving treats), a dog can quickly learn to show advanced intelligence.
Learning by Imitation
Studies show that when 1 dog takes action in an intelligent way, other dogs will follow, only if it makes sense to do so. For example, a Beagle usually uses its nose to investigate things. A test dog was trained to open a food dispenser with his paw and not his nose.
Other dogs watched and began to do the same thing.. they went against instinct and used their paws also. Why? It is believed because they assumed that the test dog must have had a very good reason to use his paw.
The amazing part of this dog study was that when the test dog had a toy ball in his mouth, the other dogs went back to using their noses. What does this mean? The dogs were able to use rational thinking. They used thought process to believe that since the ball was in the dog’s mouth, this was what was causing him to use his paw instead of his nose. The dogs then decided that since they did not have a ball, they should use their noses and not copy the test dog.
Dogs only copy other dogs when it logically makes sense to them.