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My Dog IS Smarter Than Your Honor Roll Student

A dog's mind is a terrible thing to waste.
By Julia Lane, August 2009, Updated June 2021

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit. But a new study has shown that the "average dog can count, reason and recognize words and gestures on par with a human two-year-old." I think the increasing popularity of dog sports and interactive games, such as the Tug-A-Jug and Nina Ottosson's puzzles demonstrate that we're doing a better job of exercising our dogs' minds as well as their bodies.

 

Back in the day, dogs were bred for a certain job and that kept them physically and mentally fit. Now most family pets live a life of luxury - eating the best food, sleeping on the softest bed - but don't use their brains after completing Obedience 101. I keep my dogs mentally active by participating in dog sports and teaching them tricks using the clicker. If you want some ideas, check out these great trick-training videos of Rounder the rescue Rhodesian Ridgeback. 

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Julia Lane owns Spot On K9 Sports, a training facility in the Chicago area, and offers online dog-sport coaching. She is the author of several travel books, and her byline has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers and elsewhere.