6 ways to make your dog smarter
Just like humans, a dog’s intelligence can be increased through education and training. Well-trained dogs are smarter, better behaved and more fun. In reality, seeming ‘smart’ often simply reflects ‘training’ so you’ll need to invest time in training and communicating with your dog. Veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren shares her expert tips to help make your dog a clever canine.
1 Early training
The earlier you start training your puppy, the more likely you are to achieve results. A little bit of training, several times a day, will make a big difference. Don’t forget to keep it informal and fun. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks, so if you have an older dog it’s still worth investing the time.
2 Associate words with rewards
It’s possible for dogs to understand a range of vocabulary similar to that of a two-year-old child. You can teach your dog to associate words with behaviours, activities and items by using positive reinforcement and rewards. It’s not surprising that most dogs clearly understand words like ‘treat’, ‘toy’ and ‘walk’, because whenever they hear those words they are rewarded with food, a game or an outing. Your dog will constantly pick up on words and signals, so use this to your advantage and increase the effect with suitable rewards.