We’re sometimes surprised by their responsiveness, but how do they do it?
According to Aristotle, human beings are rational animals. Could it be that this classical definition also applies to dogs? From a certain point of view, it can be said that they do have understanding, according to two experts interviewed by Tec Review.
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Fausto Reyes Delgado, medical director at UNAM-Banfield veterinary hospital in Mexico City, says that dogs have three types of intelligence.
First of all, dogs have instinctive intelligence, which is innate, i.e. they’re born with it and can perfect it with training. It’s the basis for activities such as guarding, fetching, hunting, and herding.
Secondly, they have adaptive intelligence, which allows dogs to solve practical problems such as finding somewhere to shelter from the rain.
Finally, they have working or obedience intelligence, which is related to adaptive intelligence, because dogs learn for themselves, but with help from humans.
“It has been shown that some dogs can recognize up to 1,000 words, with which they can perform certain activities. Primates such as chimpanzees or gorillas can recognize approximately 500 and dolphins, animals associated with high intelligence, can only recognize 40. This makes a big distinction between species. However, human beings are more intelligent,” says Reyes Delgado.
This point of view is shared by Iker Asteinza, the director at Animal Home, an animal hospital located in Mexico’s capital city.
He says that even dogs can make decisions when faced with life’s dilemmas.
“That’s why there are videos of dogs waiting for the green light to cross the road, because they learn, after several repetitions, from watching people cross when the light turns green,” he says.
According to Asteinza, that intelligence also enables dogs to survive in the wild amid predators and work as a team. That’s how they know when one is weaker than another, and then they try to protect the smallest dogs in the pack.
“I’m convinced that dogs think,” says the Animal Home director, who also recognizes that canine thinking is inferior to human thinking in certain aspects.