Why Are Dogs Dumb

Although we frequently find ourselves in awe of our canine friends’ prowess, the truth is that dogs are basically helpless animals that rely on us for almost everything. So let’s examine all the things these lovely boys and girls are bad at during Gizmodo’s Dog Week rather than blindly praising them.

I truly love dogs a lot, thus I don’t find it enjoyable to do this in order to show how stupid dogs really are. Anyone who has spent time around dogs is aware that they are capable of being brilliant one minute and absolutely stupid the next.

In fact, there is a lot of variance among dogs because their behavior can be affected by factors including breed, socialization, life events, and more. However, it’s also crucial to note that dogs excel at being dogs, which includes activities like fetch, barking at neighbors, herding sheep, begging for food, and, most significantly, offering companionship. Even if we may unintentionally overestimate their intelligence, there is practically no reason for them to be more intelligent than us.

We’re back to discussing the areas where doggy intellect is rather deficient. Unsurprisingly, we don’t require or expect dogs to have these flaws, so to speak, which is probably why they never arose in the first place or are being eliminated via breeding.

That Doggie in the Mirror

Dogs seem to have trouble with self-awareness, for example. The ability to recognize one’s reflection in a mirror is a classic test of self-awareness and is shared by humans, big apes, and even dolphins. The worst are dogs, who either don’t notice their reflection or believe it’s another dog.

Having said that, dogs are not visual beings, and this test is quite visual. The world is actually what they smell the most. In response to this, psychologist Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College ran an experiment in which the scent of urine took the place of the mirror. The findings revealed that dogs responded more strongly to their own urine’s aroma than to that of other dogs, which Horowitz regarded as a type of self-recognition. Although not particularly compelling, a result was nonetheless obtained.

Language Fakers

Dogs can have impressive vocabulary, as evidenced by Chaser, a border collie that can name 1,000 words. The canines have trouble with syntax and piecing together many words. However, they frequently give us the idea that they understand.

Johnston cited the infamous Clever Hansa horse as an example, which appeared to do math by pounding its foot but was actually quite adept at interpreting audience social cues. People should “Johnston advised keeping in mind Clever Hans. “We must consider the possibility that dogs are reading us; they often fake it until they make it.

According to Silver, it’s crucial for dogs to comply with our instructions “Although a representation of language may not be crucial to them.

It’s challenging to distinguish between attributes that dogs have acquired from us and wolf-like traits that they have maintained. Understanding human motions, such as pointing or following an owner’s gaze into the distance, is one striking illustration of a skill learned through the forces of artificial selection. Wolves and many other apparently intelligent animals, like chimpanzees, are incapable of doing this. This characteristic seems to be something we bred into dogs.

However, as Silver noted, they are less adaptable than humans in interpreting increasingly ambiguous visual cues. According to research, dogs can be alerted to a hidden object, such as a treat concealed by an upturned cup, by the experimenter shaking the target cup with a string. Dogs “According to Silver, 2-year-old human children understand the concept in this particular iteration of the experiment but are quite lousy at it. Even though the solution seems obvious to us, dogs just cannot make the mental leap.

Problematic Problem Solvers

In what can only be defined as the canine form of learned helplessness, dogs are terrible at solving problems.

How frequently do you want your pet dog to figure out a problem on their own? said Buchsbaum.

Naturally, there will be exceptions to the rule because some dogs are more capable than others due to their breed, training, or other circumstances, but on the whole, dogs have a hard time dealing with difficulties.

It’s significant to note that complicated problem-solving abilities are not exclusive to humans. The family of birds known as corvids, which includes crows, exhibit an amazing capacity for problem-solving, complicated situation navigation, foresight, and even the construction and use of tools. Birds developed these qualities out of need during evolution, whereas canines did not.

Lea found it interesting that when it comes to initiating issue resolution, shelter dogs perform better than pet dogs. In contrast to shelter dogs, which don’t anticipate human assistance, pet dogs “simply look back at their owners,” the author claimed. Consequently, while some actions in dogs are learnt, many cognitive limits in dogs are innate.

Dingos, a species that went through a brief period of domestication before returning to the wild, spend less time than dogs doing environmental exploration, such as looking for food. But as Johnston noted, during their exploring period, dogs are significantly less productive than dingos. She claimed that sometimes a dog’s excessive social behavior prevents them from addressing problems.

What makes dogs appear so stupid?

Do your dog’s easy commands like “Sit” and “Roll Over” come naturally to him at home, but when you want to show him off a little, he becomes completely unresponsive?

Dogs occasionally display a lack of intelligence, but it does not indicate that they are inherently stupid. They might not obey orders for a variety of reasons. Unexpectedly, you might be a part of what is causing this behavior.

Lack of Socialization

If your dog wasn’t socialized with other dogs as a puppy, it would continue to act awkwardly as an adult. Your dog wouldn’t know how to act appropriately among people and other animals. Additionally, if you rarely take your dog out for walks or playing as an adult dog and if it is frequently left alone, you can anticipate that your pet will be socially awkward.

Your dog may appear to be being stupid to you because of this awkward social behavior.

Lack of Training or Trained Incorrectly

It’s possible that your dog is acting stupid because you haven’t trained it properly yet. And if that’s the case, you can’t expect your dog to learn tricks if you haven’t even provided basic training.

It’s also possible that you gave the training, but the approach you took was flawed. The most effective training technique is positive reinforcement, which involves rewarding your dog when it performs an action correctly or when you notice an attempt on their part to behave properly.

Additionally, you must make sure that the training is constant. Just because your dog has successfully performed a trick or obeyed a command once does not indicate that you are finished. You must repeatedly practice the lessons in various settings and under various conditions.

Over Excitement

Additionally, your dog may be overexcited as a result of stress or just because they are content. When your dog is stressed out, you must be able to closely monitor its behavior. Drooling, tail-wagging, panting, and whining are some symptoms to watch for.

Needs more Exercise

Your dog may find it difficult to concentrate on you and the tasks you are asking of it if it spends much of its time lying around. Your dog will likely be energetic because that is how it manages and expels any surplus energy it may have.

Canines lack intelligence?

Dog owners frequently praise the intellect of their canine companions, and for good reason—dogs are actually quite intelligent. Man’s best friend is capable of comprehending up to 250 words, deciphering emotions, and even performing cunning maneuvers in order to obtain a snack. However, when British researchers compared canine cognition to that of other species, they discovered that while canines are intelligent, they are not particularly so.

As Laura M. Holson of the New York Times recounts, University of Exeter psychologist Stephen Lea was motivated to take a more critical look at dogs’ cognitive capacities while serving as the editor of the journal Animal Cognition. Lea reports to Holson that while he received a lot of papers attempting to prove how intelligent dogs are, there was comparatively little interest in exploring the minds of other animals, such as cats, horses, and pigs, who are also known to be quite intelligent.

Thus, Lea and Britta Osthaus, a specialist in animal cognition at Canterbury Christ Church University, examined more than 300 papers on the intelligence of dogs and a variety of other animals for a new study that was published in Learning & Behavior. A particular focus was placed on dogs, cats, hyenas, chimps, horses, dolphins, and pigeons. More broadly speaking, the animals they looked at fit into at least one of three traits that also apply to dogs: they are sociable hunters, they are members of the order Carnivora (which contains placental mammals that consume meat), and they are domesticated.

The study evaluated the animals’ self-awareness, sensory cognition, physical cognition, spatial cognition, and social cognition.”

In every single instance, we discovered alternative reliable comparator species that perform at least as well as dogs do in those tasks, according to Lea in a release from the University of Exeter.

Many of the animals also appeared to be doing better. Chimpanzees and dolphins, for example “display more obvious signs of motor mimicry than pups, claim the study’s authors. On problems involving string pulling, raccoons perform better. Compared to dogs, chimpanzees are more prone to exhibit dishonesty or empathy, and they are also capable of using tools. Dogs may not have as much of a pattern recognition ability as pigeons, but they do have greater navigational abilities.

Dogs, however, excel in a variety of categories, which is what makes them unique. And considering the history of dogs, that makes sense.” [T] Lea tells Popular Science’s Kat Eschner that heir intelligence is in line with that of a creature that is “recently evolved from social hunters… that are carnivores and that have [also] been tamed.” “No other animal meets all three of those requirements.

But how did dogs come by their reputation as brainiacs if they aren’t much smarter than a variety of other comparable animals? Dogs are particularly simple subjects to examine because they are so eager to please. The scientific literature may also suffer from confirmation bias, thus we need our canine friends “Osthaus says to Time’s Jamie Ducharme, “We prefer them to be highly bright, and we like them to be respected.”

However, knowing how dog intellect compares to other animals’ intelligence might help us have more reasonable expectations for our canine partners. “According to Osthaus in the University of Exeter statement, dogs are dogs and we need to assess how we treat them in light of their needs and actual capabilities.

The new research implies there is also cause to take a closer look at the intelligence of numerous creatures that are less common in our daily lives. They might be more intelligent than we believe.

Do people make dogs smarter?



Dogs can count, even though you wouldn’t want one to balance your checkbook.

According to psychologist and top canine researcher Stanley Coren, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, these animals are also capable of comprehending more than 150 phrases and deceiving both humans and other dogs on purpose in order to obtain treats. On Saturday, he discussed about “How Dogs Think at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Coren, the author of more than a dozen widely read books on dogs and canine behavior, has analyzed a number of research and come to the conclusion that dogs are more intelligent than previously believed and are more closely related to humans and other higher primates than previously believed.

“According to Coren, in an interview, “we all want insight into how our furry friends think, and we want to comprehend the goofy, quirky, and sometimes nonsensical actions [that] Lassie or Rover display.” ” They may not be Einsteins, but their astounding bursts of creativity and intelligence serve as a constant reminder that they are more like us than we realized.

According to various behavioral tests, Coren claims that a human toddler between the ages of 2 and 2.5 and a canine have similar mental capacities.

According to Coren, there are variances in the intellect of different breeds of dogs, some of which are influenced by the breed. “Dog intelligence can be categorized into three categories: working and obedience (the canine version of “school learning”), adaptable (how well the dog learns from its surroundings to solve issues), and instinctive (what the dog is bred to accomplish).

According to Coren, data from 208 dog obedience judges from the United States and Canada revealed the variations in the working and obedience intelligence of canine breeds. “The top three dogs are border collies, poodles, and German shepherds. Golden retrievers are fourth on the list, followed by dobermans in fifth, Shetland sheepdogs in sixth, and Labrador retrievers in seventh, according to Coren.

The typical dog can acquire 165 words, including signs, in terms of language “According to Coren, super dogs (those in the top 20 percent of dog intelligence) are capable of learning 250 words. “The research of a border collie named Rico, who demonstrated ‘fast-track learning’ and knew 200 spoken phrases, helped determine the upper limit of dogs’ ability to learn language, according to Coren. Until then, scientists had thought that only humans and language-learning apes possessed this ability.

According to Coren, dogs can count up to four or five. Additionally, they have a fundamental comprehension of mathematics and can spot mistakes in straightforward calculations like 1+1=1 or 1+1=3.

He looked at four research that used a barrier-type challenge to simulate human or other dog behavior to evaluate how dogs handle spatial problems. According to Coren, dogs can learn through observation where to find valuable objects (treats), the quickest way to a favorite chair, how to use latches and other rudimentary devices, and the meaning of words and symbolic concepts (sometimes by simply listening to people speak and watching their actions).

Dogs are capable of purposefully attempting to fool humans and other dogs during play in order to obtain rewards, according to Coren. “And they are almost as successful at tricking people as people are at tricking dogs.

Afghan Hound

According to The Intelligence of Dogs, the Afghan Hound is the dumbest dog breed, but Afghan enthusiasts undoubtedly disagree. Afghans were developed to hunt utilizing their exceptional speed and vision since they are sighthounds. Afghans, like many sighthounds, can be aloof, even a touch reserved and standoffish, especially around strangers. They may also be independent and stubborn. Afghans are difficult to train because of these characteristics, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid. Simply said, they favor independent thought and doing things their way. When training an Afghan, you might need to get a little more creative, but they make for unique companions thanks to their elegance, regal demeanor, and dedication to their owners.


Due to their independence and aloofness, sighthounds like the Basenji are among the stupidest canine breeds. This breed has been compared to cats, and many Basenjis will groom themselves in the manner of cats. Despite the fact that ease of training is not usually a reliable predictor of intelligence, the breed has developed a reputation for being “untrainable.” Contrarily, Basenjis are witty, inquisitive, and lively. They are intelligent enough to cause trouble if you don’t watch them attentively, just like curious babies. A Basenji’s upbringing might occasionally resemble taming a wild animal. They are cautious and watchful, and while they bond with their owners in most cases, they might or might not like your companions. Conclusion: Basenjis can be trained, but they are headstrong and not always obedient. Positive approaches work best.


The Bulldog is another type on the list of stupidest dog breeds that is renowned for its stubbornness. The phrase “bullheaded” perfectly describes the Bulldog. Because of this, bulldogs can be challenging to teach, but dumb? It only takes one of the well-known Bulldogs who excels at skateboarding or surfing to understand that they can learn. Bulldogs are sometimes associated with laziness, however some of them like more active pursuits than simply lounging around.

Chow Chow

Although they may have a cute teddy bear appearance, chow chows are not typically the most cuddly of dogs. Chows are somber, independent, and distant because they were originally intended to be guard dogs. They are among the stupidest dog breeds because they are strong-willed and headstrong, making them more challenging to train. Chows are bright; they merely have independent brains. Chows may challenge their humans for authority if they are improperly trained, which can be problematic. Because of these factors, Chows need intensive socializing beginning at a young age as well as tough but fair training. Chows are noble, obedient, and faithful friends when reared properly.


The Borzoi is an independent freethinker and another sighthound. Since this breed can also be stubborn, it makes the list of the dumbest dog breeds. Training a Borzoi requires patience. Instead of classes lasting an hour, frequent, brief training sessions tend to work best for borzois. They are typically quite well-behaved, serene, clean, and affectionate inside the home, especially with their special people.


You may be able to comprehend how a scenthound like the Bloodhound “sees the world with his sensitive nose” if you have ever seen the aurora borealis, the vibrant northern lights display that turns the night sky into a breathtaking sight to see. Because they are so distracted by the many wonderful scents that are just waiting to be discovered, bloodhounds rank among the dumbest canine breeds and are challenging to train. Additionally, they are extremely energetic, independent, and stubborn, and they pursue scent trails with unrelenting tenacity. When combined, the Bloodhound’s distinctive abilities can make these dogs difficult to live with, but put a Bloodhound in a tracking competition and see his unique qualities show.


Because they resemble sloths in several ways, Pekingese may be perceived as being fairly slow by some people. They like to lounge around the house and look over their territory. This may be a result of their physical makeup or be at least in part a legacy of their past as revered Tang Dynasty pets in eighth-century China. Because members of the Imperial household carried their beloved pets around snuggly curled in their voluminous sleeves, Pekingese were indeed known as “sleeve dogs.” Can you really blame the Peke for taking it easy? Additionally, Pekingese are resistant and challenging to housebreak. They are not stupid because of this, but it does present some training issues. Begin your workouts early and consistently.


Beagles enjoy following their noses, much like Bloodhounds, which can occasionally put them in trouble and place them on the list of dumbest dog breeds. The Beagle may give the impression that he is unintelligent due to his lovely, friendly attitude and upbeat perspective, yet this breed is everything but. Beagles should ideally be led at all times. They are driven by an insatiable want to discover, smell, and hunt for little animals.


The big, mellow Mastiff is a very relaxed dog. He’s actually so laid-back that you could think he’s a little dim. Additionally, they might be a little headstrong and harder to teach than some breeds. Once more, level of activity and ease of training are not always reliable measures of intellect. Mastiffs are intelligent animals. In order for Mastiffs to grow up to be well-behaved and discerning companions, owners must begin training and socializing early in the puppy stage due to their size and innate wariness of strangers.

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds, like Pekingese, can be a little lethargic. They may have long, low bodies or laid-back personalities, which contribute to this. Like their scenthound cousins the Bloodhounds and the Beagles, Bassets can be a little stubborn and may find it difficult to focus on learning for lengthy periods of time if there are great odors all around them. Bassets do, however, react well to training since they have a strong desire to please their owners and are highly motivated by food. However, don’t mistake the Basset’s laid-back demeanor for a lack of intelligence. They are intelligent and devoted dogs.