Western Courier

Are dogs as smart as everyone thinks?

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

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A recent study from 2018 states that dogs really are not that smart compared to other animals.

Researchers looked at a dog’s sensory, physical, spatial and social cognition, as well as self-awareness. The findings were then compared to other animals from the categories of other carnivores, social hunters and domesticated animals. First off, no one asked for this study to be done. We were are with our lovable pets, and who they were. Second, the results did not say that dogs had low intelligence, just that they’re lower than other animals such as: wolves, cats, hyenas, chimps, dolphins and pigeons. While it’s true that dogs were originally bred for purposes such as hunting and other useful tasks, most dogs now don’t serve that purpose. Most people have dogs because they’re loving and friendly companions for ourselves and our families. While the dog may help out around the house from time to time ,that’s not the dog’s purpose. If that’s the case, we really don’t need our dogs to be Einstein. Dogs also serve for many people as a source of comfort. When was the last time you tried cuddling with a hyena, or a dolphin or even a pigeon? Let me know how that goes, I’m guessing not well.

Dogs are also intelligent in their own way. The study’s results showed that dogs are intelligent when it comes to social cognition. Most dogs are able to tell when there’s something wrong with another dog or their owners, and they’re also able to learn how to communicate effectively with humans. This is a sign of some intelligence even though it may not necessarily be practical from a survival standpoint. Dogs have learned to adapt to their surroundings which encourages more social interactions.

There are also other reasons besides intelligence that earned dogs the title of “man’s best friend.” As humans, we don’t pick our friends based purely on intelligence, so why would we pick our pets that way? When looking for friends, factors such as loyalty, ability to have fun with them and friendliness play a much heavier role than intelligence. As long as you can have fun with them and they won’t go behind your back what’s a few IQ points matter? Dogs are the same way. Dogs are incredibly loyal and will stand by their owner or their family all their life. They bring joy to any house and make its residents feel better and more comfortable. Many people consider their dog a part of the family. Would you judge a family member for not being as smart? Maybe, but you’re not supposed to.

A dog’s loyalty is what has attracted humans to have them as pets, not their intelligence. They serve their role as part of the family and do so with enthusiasm. So what if dogs aren’t as smart as other animals. Would you really want a hyena as a pet? I didn’t think so.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Are dogs as smart as everyone thinks?