Intelligence (human) and intelligence (animal)

A very small but interesting piece of research was done about Beagles preferring to solve puzzles to get rewards, rather than getting free treats. Interesting… but I will get on to that a little later (see below). In the meantime, I came across this scurrilous piece of US right wing political propaganda, taking the opportunity to malign “leftists”. Dogs are apparently “superior than” them. Very true – dogs at least do not say “superior than”.

Dogs Are Superior Than Your Typical Leftist Human

Leftists, you know who they are. Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, Obamaphiles, the professional protesters, the #Occupy crowd and the professional welfare recipients to name a few. Dogs, as in canines, are far superior to them.

Now, how can I possibly claim an animal is superior to a leftist human, you ask?

Well, I believe the screenshot below sums it up pretty well. Don’t you?

 This is the screenshot referred to.
This is interesting. However, it does not support what the blogger claims. There are many issues here. What are dogs motivated by? Food rewards, certainly, but also a variety of rewarding activities and interactions. There may be several reasons why the Beagles preferred to “earn” their rewards.
One, they had been trained to use the equipment. This means that they had been reinforced for doing so, therefore it would have become a high value activity for them.
Two, the activity may have been intrinsically rewarding, given the characteristics that Beagles are bred to have – finding things by scent is what they are motivated to do.
Three, they preferred to “work” for their rewards – but as opposed to what? Doing some other high value activity, or doing nothing? Doing nothing can be stressful and aversive, as we know from a vast body of knowledge about environmental deprivation versus stimulation and enrichment. The best form of environmental enrichment is to give and animal activities which resemble what they would have been doing in the wild, or what they have been bred to do.

About transformational1

I have many interests and I have had a varied career. I am a semi-retired professional dog trainer, specialising in the use of positive reinforcement. I do some consultations, I run instructor workshops and I am setting up a Dogs and Psychotherapy Research Project. I have a law degree from Melbourne University (but have never practiced) and I am passionate about Human Rights. My first degree was in Sociology. I worked as a social researcher on issues such as low income housing, women's refuges and women in the workforce. I live in an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, and I have a German Shepherd called Chance.
This entry was posted in Animal intelligence, Dog breeds, Dog training, Dogs, research about dogs, Understanding your dog. Bookmark the permalink.

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