ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to know if you have a smart dog

Updated on July 1, 2013

I am always amazed at what dogs can teach us. Recently I saw a YouTube video of a New Zealand rescue group who were teaching dogs to drive a car to illustrate just how smart dogs are. Driving a car is a great (very large) broad example of how you can teach your dog anything and delivered in a way that would wow a general audience. But in my experience dogs demonstrate everyday how smart they really are. You just have to know what to look for.

You don't have to look far on the internet to find great examples of some clever dogs. Dogs that can identify items that they have never seen before, dogs that (appear) to do maths, dogs who know hundreds of commands... it goes on and on.

New Zealand dogs learn to drive

How it all began...

When I first started teaching one of my dogs, Bailey the Border Collie, two of the many tricks I taught was, Jump Up (Command was "Up") and Go Back (Command was "Back"). I taught these at completely different times during his puppyhood. Jump Up was at about 6 months (to help curb his excessive jumping on people), and Go Back at around 1 year old. Jump Up was supposed to be Stand Up initially, but when I started teaching Stand Up he took the command as to meaning Jump so I stuck with it and eventually changed the command to Jump. (For him to stand up now we use the command "Balance" as Stand Up and Jump turned out to be the same thing).

Bailey could do Jump on command at any time, he could do it with just a voice command (Up) or with hand signals (Outstretched upward facing palm). But when I started teaching Go Back I learned that he was able to join to commands together and deduce a new result!

Early on in the training of Go Back I had forgotten which verbal cue I was using "Was it Back, Go Back or Back Up?" I couldn't remember. So I tried them each. Back, well that worked fine, he walked back. Go Back, again worked fine. But then I tried Back Up, the command I had never used before, he did nothing (initially) just looked at me with his look of "I know you want me to do something, I just haven't figured it out yet". So I waited 2 or 3 seconds, repeated the command, to see what his response would be. And he responded with...

A BACKWARDS BUNNY HOP!

That, I had never taught him. And yet Back plus Up would obviously equal a backwards jump. I was floored at how he had only taken two to three seconds and deduced enough meaning to create a response he hadn't performed before. Stunned, I tried again "Back Up" and surely a very happy Bailey did another backwards bunny hop.

What did I do?

So after I picked myself up off the floor, I captured this behaviour and called it, you guessed it, "Backwards Bunny Hop". Now you can say Go Back, or Back for him to walk backwards, and "Backwards Bunny Hop" if you want to see him jump backwards. That was the first glimpses I had seen from Bailey showing that he was a highly cognitive dog. And I was so damn proud!

Has your dog ever demonstrated this behaviour?

Has your dog ever created a third behaviour from two known behaviours?

See results

I'm always amazed!

Dogs are far smarter than we know, and they don't always demonstrate their intelligence on their own. And it's in these glimpses that we learn more and more about what they are capable of achieving, and in that regard I am very fortunate to know a very smart dog.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)