Study reveals gifted dogs’ ability to learn new words like 3-year-old

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A team of ethologists subjected dogs considered to be gifted to word identification exercises. They discovered that these canines had a rapid learning capacity comparable to that of a 2 or 3 year old child.

Claudia Fugazza , Attila Andics , Lilla Magyari , Shany Dror , Andras Zempléni and Adam Miklosi are the authors of an experiment aimed at testing the abilities of so-called gifted dogs , particularly in learning words . Their findings were published on January 26 in the journal Scientific Reports .

This team of researchers at the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Lorànd University in Hungary is behind the The Family Dog project, launched in 1994 and dedicated to the study of behavioral and cognitive aspects of the dog / human relationship .

They wondered if, like very young children, smarter than average dogs could learn new words quickly.

To answer this question, they did make 2 tests at a Border Collie called Whiskey and a Yorkshire Terrier bitch by the name of Vicky Nina. 2 dogs belonging to the gifted, reports Science & Vie .

During the first year, the canines were in the presence of 7 items that they knew the name and 8 th which was unknown to them. Whiskey and Vicky Nina both managed to identify the new object by taking it in the mouth after being named it 4 times out loud. On the other hand, when the said object was presented to them with another , also unknown, they did not know how to designate it when it was mentioned.

This led the researchers to conclude that dogs do indeed have this particular ability of reasoning by exclusion , without however learning the name of the object.

The second exercise involved the Whiskey Masters and Vicky Nina . They were called to play with them using the unknown object and to name it 4 times , always intelligibly. 4 minutes later , the dogs were presented with another object they did not know and pronounced the name of the first. There, Whiskey and Vicky Nina performed flawlessly .

A learning speed similar to that of a child, but not in the long term

The 2 experiments were also carried out with 20 non-gifted dogs , and neither of them was able to point to the right object in either case.

Read also: A family in shock witnesses the return of their cat when they thought they had attended his funeral!

Thus, gifted dogs would be able to integrate the name of an object in a short time , after 4 repetitions in this case. A skill that Adam Miklosi compares to that acquired by a childaround the age of two or three ”. However, these dogs would only show it in the very short term ; beyond 10 minutes , they can no longer identify the new object. This is not the case with children. </p

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