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Dog Intelligence

August 17, 2009

Dogs have similar cognitive abilities to two-year-old children.


Your childlike dog. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Many people treat their dogs like furry little people. But according to neuropsychologist Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, to really understand our canine companions, we need to be aware of their developmental level. He and his colleagues assessed the intellectual development of dogs with measures normally used for children. The average dog showed similar development to a human 2-year-old.

STANLEY COREN (University of Brisitsh Columbia):
So, if your 2. 2 1/2-year-old child would not understand what you’re saying or the implications of his behavior, then your dog is not going to understand. Lassie is sweet and bright and beautiful, but Lassie really does not have a sense of right and wrong.

But, like 2-year-olds, dogs do know about 165 words and gestures, model their behavior off that of others and have a sophisticated sense of play. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.