Good Dog, Smart Dog
By SARAH KERSHAW
Published: October 31, 2009
Life as a Labradoodle may sound free and easy, but if you’re Jet, who lives in New Jersey, there is a lot of work to be done.
He is both a seizure alert dog and a psychiatric service dog whose owner has epilepsy, severe anxiety, depression, various phobias and hypoglycemia. Jet has been trained to anticipate seizures, panic attacks and plunging blood sugar and will alert his owner to these things by staring intently at her until she does something about the problem. He will drop a toy in her lap to snap her out of a dissociative state. If she has a seizure, he will position himself so that his body is under her head to cushion a fall.
Jet seems like a genius, but is he really so smart? In fact, is any of it in his brain, or is it mostly in his sniff?
The matter of what exactly goes on in the mind of a dog is a tricky one, and until recently much of the research on canine intelligence has been met with large doses of skepticism. But over the last several years a growing body of evidence, culled from small scientific studies of dogs’ abilities to do things like detect cancer or seizures, solve complex problems (complex for a dog, anyway), and learn language suggests that they may know more than we thought they did.
(For rest of the article, see the link below. My only objection to it are references to Stanley Coren's statements. SC is a Canadian psychologist whose training was not in anything to do with dogs or animal behavior yet he "trades on" his being a psychologist in the articles and books he publishes. He knows almost nothing about the scientific work done on the behavior of dogs and other animals, the history of that work and its present direction. The main area of his dog experience is in showing dogs (JRTs?) and in being a judge at shows. Sadly, I've bought and read a couple of his books which brought this realization to me.)
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 11-02-2009 at 02:10 PM. Reason: addition of more information
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
All I can say is wow.
Thank you for posting this, Bob.
Daisy, Hayshaker She's Utterly Unforgettable, CGC
Lola, our mellow yellow gal. Gotcha on 1-7-07
I have a friend that has an adorable little choc dachshund that has never been trained but alerts her of both high and low blood sugar each in a different way. She started to do it as a pup out of the blue.