Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Dog owners: you will not like the content of this article. You will be disappointed to learn that your pet is not the most intelligent. Gifted dogs are in a category of their own, so a citizen science project wants to highlight their power.

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<p class=Miso, a border collie from Toronto, participated in the Genius Dog Challenge.

  • Danny Lemieux (View profile)Danny Lemieux

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

A dog capable of memorizing the name of 100, 200, even 300 toys, it is as rare as it is impressive. Claudia Fugazza, animal behavior specialist, knows something about this. She studies learned dogs.

In 2020, this ethologist launched the Genius Dog Challenge, a campaign on social networks. The goal? Recruit intelligent, very intelligent dogs.

However, the canine harvest turns out to be rather difficult. We tested hundreds of dogs before being able to identify the first six rare gems.

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Claudia Fugazza is a researcher at the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

To date, 41 dogs have demonstrated their superpower. The animals come from all over the world. Among them, Miso, a border collie from Toronto, Canada. A star that you can follow on Instagram (New window).

The first time I met Miso on the Zoom platform, I x27;admit that I was surprised, astonished to see how quickly he could learn.

A quote from Claudia Fugazza, researcher at the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University

Her research is carried out from her laboratory in Budapest , in Hungary. Obviously, the ethologist cannot travel around the world to evaluate the abilities of gifted dogs.

Everything is done remotely, on the web, through a platform. This is a participatory science project.

The conclusion of his work was recently the subject of an article in the journal Nature (New window). Serious.

Gifted dog! Awesome! Extremely rare! What must he do to deserve such superlatives? Claudia Fugazza explains: Dogs can learn hundreds of names of objects. And they learn them very quickly.

Here, we are not talking about orders linked to expected behavior, such as the foot command!, but the ability to memorize the names of toys.

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The dogs must go and retrieve the toy requested by the researcher from a series of objects.

One of the things that surprised the ethologist was that most owners had no intention of teaching them the names of the toys. Learning happened naturally, without training or training.

And that's not all. These dogs memorize the name of a new object after hearing it just four times. Enough to surprise Dr. Claudia Fugazza.

They can learn up to 12 names per week. And if we stop talking about the new toy and don't repeat its name, two months later, gifted dogs remember it, she says.

During her experiments, Claudia Fugazza ensures that no clue can allow the dogs to deduce the toy to be retrieved.

We separate the dog from its owner, she explains. The toy to collect is in another room. When the name of the toy is said, the gifted dog goes to the room where there are several toys. The dog only relies on the word heard. He retrieves the correct toy and brings it back to the researcher.

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Specialist Claudia Fugazza can follow the dogs' quest using a camera system connected to her computer.

More than half of the 41 dogs selected are border collies, like Miso, the Toronto dog. Dr. Fugazza says that despite their reputation as an intelligent breed, many border collies have failed tests.

The ability to learn the names of toys does not appear to be specific to any particular breed. Moreover, in the group, two dogs are mongrel, mixed dogs.

A quote from Dr. Claudia Fugazza, researcher

Why this talent? Where does it come from? Is there a genetic explanation? These are the questions that the researcher plans to answer in the coming years.

Besides, she is always looking for exceptional dogs. If you think yours stands out, take the test (New window). Do we ever know!

For fun, Dr. Fugazza put her dog Velvet through the name tests. A resounding failure for his Czechoslovakian wolfdog! A failure which, despite everything, in no way diminishes the love she has for her animal. She has other qualities. She knows how to steal food. For that, she's great!

The report by journalist Danny Lemieux and director Christine Campestre is broadcast on the show Découverte Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ICI Radio-Canada Télé.

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