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Intelligence Training

Beagle Intelligence Training  

Beagle dog intelligence
Buddy, 8 and 1/2 year old rescue dog
Owners: Tom and Paula Blanchard
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.
How Many Words Can a Beagle Understand?

The old idea that dogs and humans cannot communicate is fading away. Studies show that dogs can learn hundreds of words. In a recent test, a Beagle learned the names of more than 200 dog toys. A typical Beagle should be able to learn at least 100 words, if not more. That equals a very smart Beagle.

Dogs also show that they can understand a new word even if they have not be taught that word yet! How? In studies, when a dog was trained to understand the names of toys, a new toy was placed down. When given the command to fetch a toy with a name that the dog never heard before…that dog retrieved the new toy. This proves that the dog was smart enough to actually understand that a new word must apply to the new toy! What does this prove? Dogs do not simply blindly follow commands; their minds use logic and reasoning!

Tip: It has been proved time and time again that dogs understand human emotions and expressions. Your Beagle knows when you are smiling and he knows when you are sad. In regards to understanding and comprehending human emotions, dogs are more intelligent than any other animal in the world.
Does a Trained Beagle = a Smart Beagle?

Most people would agree that a dog who learns to perform tricks and follow complicated commands show extreme intelligence. However, studies have shown that dogs who resist training may not do so because of a lack of intelligence. The dog has be proven to be smart enough to choose whether or not he wishes to learn a certain trick!

Testing your Beagle

You now be wondering if some of your Beagle’s behavior is because your dog is using their own logic and reasoning to decide things such as ignoring commands to learn tricks. Knowing that a dog can understand hundreds of words, perhaps you are wondering if your dog understands parts of conversations that you are having…and all along you though your Beagle was just resting on the floor, lost in their own world!  

There is a way to test to see how smart your Beagle is. While testing at home cannot compare to clinical dog testing, there are certainly some tests that have been created to rank general intelligence in dogs. 
Beagle sniffing
You may test your Beagle to see how he or she compares with other dogs who have been studied for intelligence.

1. Towel Trap. Throw a bath towel over your Beagle’s head. The average dog will be able to get out from under the towel in 15 seconds. How fast was your Beagle?

2. Magic Trick. With your Beagle watching, put 3 paper cups upside down on a level floor, such as your kitchen floor. The cups should be about 2 foot steps away from each other. Again, with your Beagle watching you, place a dog treat inside one of the cups. Now, bring your Beagle into anther room and then return to the kitchen. Encourage him to get the treat. Did your Beagle run straight to the correct cup? If so, your Beagle ranks high on this intelligence test.

3. Opposite Thinking. This test can be done if you have an outside, fenced in yard with a gate. Bring your Beagle outside. Allow your Beagle to see you throw a yummy treat over the fence. Can your Beagle figure out to exit the gate to run around to the other side of the fence to retrieve the treat? If so, your Beagle is using logic.

4. Familiar Yet Unfamiliar. Does your Beagle have a favorite chair he sits in? Or a dog bed that he lays on while you watch TV? If so, you can do this test. With your Beagle out of the room, rearrange the furniture. Once done, have your dog come into the room. If your Beagle finds their favorite spot in less than 1 minute, they are smarter in this aspect than an average dog.

5. Paws VS Nose. With your Beagle watching, place a dog treat in an area that only your Beagle’s paw will fit and not their nose and/or head. Can your Beagle use his or her paw to get the treat? They score high. Done in under a minute by using only a paw is a very high score!
A Final Thought: 

Just like humans, dogs will be smarter in some ways than others. Some humans are great with mathematical equations but get lost when traveling to the city. Others could navigate their way out of a mile long maze but can’t remember algebra! Dogs are the same. The above tests are for general purposes only. If your Beagle can’t’ find their way out of the towel or doesn't’ understand the concept of the gate in the fence… This only means that they use their intelligence in other ways. Maybe your Beagle looks forward to listening and understanding your “private” phone conversations! Only your Beagle will ever know!
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