How Dogs Learn

Dogs are humans’ best invention. Think about that for a second. Humans have bred temperament, physical characteristics, and companionship for thousands of years but we take for granted how truly intelligent these creatures are.

Dogs and how they learn is a well documented field. Through these studies, scientists are able to determine that dogs’ mental capacities are similar of 2-3 year old toddlers. Do we have a few Einsteins in there, yes. I few, not-so-much, yes. I’ve a few of those too. For example, Chaser, “The World’s Smartest Dog” can identify 1,022 toys by name and retrieve them by name and by category. Chaser learned through “inferential reasoning by exclusion”. She learned very similar to how children learn. It’s astounding to see their ability to learn and understand the world around them by gathering information from people, dogs, and world around them.

This article discusses how puppies learn from those around them. In this article, it states, “…puppies gather information from observing other dogs that they know and trust, and use the emotional responses that they see to determine the safety of objects in their environment.” I recommend socializing your puppy with a well-socialized, confident adult dog. Check with your veterinarian before setting up supervised play dates but the adult dog can be a “role-model” dog. The dog can help teach the puppy about new things and allow them explore with more confidence. This also applies to undersocialized dogs.

In regards to humans, the article later states, “It was quite clear that the puppies were trying to pick up the emotional reaction of the person in order to learn how to respond to the strange thing in the room.” If an adult dog is unavailable, puppy socialization is still just as important. You can use your body language, actions, and tone of voice to encourage interactions with new things in a positive manner. Remember, everything you do “feeds down the leash.”

Need help on where to start or how to set your puppy up for success? Call, text, or message today!

How Puppies Learn

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