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Intelligent pets

Intelligent pets

Understanding language and healing arthritis

A lot of pet owners by believe that their animals possess some kind of psychic ability. Actually, it’s quite natural to think that your pet is the most talented on the planet. However, the fact is that some breeds are just naturally a bit — or quite a lot — more gifted than their peers. No matter how hard you try with some breeds, they just won’t be able to perform certain tasks, experts say.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Back in 2009, researchers found that dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five and can perform simple mathematical calculations.

Using tests originally designed to demonstrate the development of language, pre-language and basic arithmetic in human children, the researchers were able to show that the average dog is far more intelligent than they are given credit for. They have also compiled a list of the most intelligent and least intelligent breeds using information from obedience classes. Border collies and retrievers were rated among the most intelligent while hounds and terriers were the least bright.

"The average dog is about as bright linguistically as a human two-year-old," said Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who has carried out the work.

Nearly half of pet owners involved in a research carried out by believe their animals possess some kind of psychic ability. Predicting or sensing life-threatening illnesses, detecting spooky situations and even intervening to stop accidents are among the 'supernatural' presences reported by 39% of the 2,000 dog and cat owners recently surveyed by Blue Cross, one of Britain's oldest animal welfare charities.

Three quarters of the people surveyed thought animals can sense or even detect illness before diagnosis, with examples ranging from strokes and seizures, to cancer and blood clots.

One owner said: “I have arthritis in my spine and once had a cat who knew when the pain was bad. He would sit on my back and knead the exact spot that hurt, then lie down on it. His purring and the warmth worked better than any expensive physio sessions I've had since.”

Another reported: “My pet began sitting on my stomach when I had a cancer there, and going through chemo would constantly sniff and lick my head and hands.”

Many owners, according to Blue Cross, also think their pet can predict when a member of the family is pregnant, on their way home or about to go out.

One even claimed their cat prevented a potentially fatal accident, saying: “I was just leaving to go to work when my cat started behaving really oddly - yowling and jumping up at me so I couldn't get out the door. I thought she might be feeling poorly so picked her up and took her into the front room - at which point a car lost control and ended up in my front garden.”

Border Collie

Besides being pets, dogs are involved in rescue and military operations. It’s not known when exactly the first dog took the battlefield alongside his human companions, but historians believe that millennia ago, the ancient Egyptians used canines to carry messages. The Corinthians surrounded their seashore citadel with guard dogs in 400 BC, and the Romans employed them to raise alarms for their garrisons. The feared invasion forces of Attila the Hun brought ferocious hounds with them to protect their camps during battle.

Professor Coren believes dogs are among the most intelligent animals and can rival apes and parrots for their ability to understand language. While most dogs understand simple commands such as sit, fetch and stay, a border collie tested by Professor Coren showed a knowledge of 200 spoken words. The collie was able to recognize the names of items it was asked to fetch and correctly retrieve them.

Professor Coren has also found that dogs can count using established tests developed for young children. When something unexpected happens with an object, children and dogs will stare at it for a longer period of time.

According to researchers, ten most intelligent breeds are: Border Collie; Poodle; German Shepherd; Golden Retriever; Doberman Pinscher; Shetland Sheepdog; Labrador Retriever; Papillon; Rottweiler; Australian Cattle Dog.

Lusine Mkrtumova / PanARMENIAN.Net
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