Monday, May 17, 2010

Sydnee, the Dog, Can Count to 10

When I saw the Discovery Channel documentary last year about dog intelligence in which experts said dogs can be taught to count up to five (or it may have been on Animal Planet), I said to my adult children that they had failed our very bright mutt Bolt by not teaching him to count. My son said, "Mom, when you can tell me why a dog needs to count, I'll train him."

Yes, my dog is smart. I have to spell certain words in front of him, such as "dog," so he doesn't know I'm talking about him or something that concerns him.

Now, here is Sydnee the dog who can count to 10. His owner trains him with raisins as food treats, but before you start to scream that raisins are bad for dogs because they can cause kidney failure, at least watch the video.



Don't pshaw this story. The lady is not indulging a fantasy. Last year the report came out that dogs are about as smart as a human two-year-old, and Border Collies are the smartest.
TORONTO – Although you wouldn't want one to balance your checkbook, dogs can count.

They can also understand more than 150 words and intentionally deceive other dogs and people to get treats, according to psychologist and leading canine researcher Stanley Coren, PhD, of the University of British Columbia. He spoke Saturday on the topic "How Dogs Think" at the American Psychological Association's 117th Annual Convention.

Coren, author of more than a half-dozen popular books on dogs and dog behavior, has reviewed numerous studies to conclude that dogs have the ability to solve complex problems and are more like humans and other higher primates than previously thought.

... Dogs can also count up to four or five, said Coren. And they have a basic understanding of arithmetic and will notice errors in simple computations, such as 1+1=1 or 1+1=3. (Read)
As it says in the excerpt below, Sydnee is an Australian Shepherd. That breed is frequently confused with Border Collies, but could it be that Sydnee's even smarter than your average Border Collie?
She may be the next Hollywood star in the making, but this crafty K9 is more than just a pretty face. Meet Sydnee the dog that knows how to count, without having to use her paws.

"She likes to have her treats, her itty bitty treats in the afternoon, and I thought I'll see if she can count them," says Sydnee's owner Maxine Davis.

Davis got the Australian Sheppard when she was 10 months old from a soldier that was on his way to Iraq.

Still a pup at the time, Sydnee learned the normal dog tricks,

Six years later Sydnee barks to a different beat.

"I thought that dog, she's just adding 1 finger, she's counting, and she's counting," says Davis.

Encouraging the dog with food Maxine started with one and went up to six.

When they got there Sydnee kept going. (KCOY)
Related to this post, Time's "Inside the Canine Mind."

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