How to Improve A Dog’s Intelligence and Behavior? We will try to help you with that. Dogs are one of the smartest animals on earth. They can learn cute and entertaining tricks and do amazing and complicated commands. Not only that; they can also learn how to do important tasks for people.

It’s now common to see dogs as part of the workforce, as police dogs, farm dogs, service dogs, and even as therapy dogs for the sick and the elderly. But even if your dog isn’t any of that, your dog is definitely smart! You just have to boost your pooch’s innate intelligence and behavior.

Is Dog Intelligence the Same as Dog Obedience?

Yes and no. Your dog’s willingness and readiness to obeys your commands is not the entirety of dog intelligence. But obedience is a part of it, of course.

Dog intelligence includes many processes. It includes learning new skills, remembering them, and comparing and combining them with the contextual clues given by the situation.

For example, you’re teaching your dog how to come to you on command. Your dog learning the command is dog intelligence. Your dog coming to you when you give the command two weeks later is also dog intelligence. Your dog obeying when another family member or friend gives the command is also dog intelligence.

But what about disobedience? Suppose that another family member or a friend asked your dog to come, and your dog ignore them. You might think that this disobedience means that your dog is stupid – most people think so. But that’s not always the case! Your dog might be thinking, “Well, this person is not my Master! Why should I go to them?”

With that reason, your dog assessed the situation, compared the context, and acted with what it thought was best. Surely, your dog’s disobedience is a sign of intelligence, too!

Are There Dumb Dogs?

According to Prof. Stanley Coren, who is learned in canine psychology, there are “dumb” dogs – although, of course, he doesn’t phrase it that way. Prof. Coren published a list of dog breeds grouped by their levels of intelligence, from the “Brightest Dogs” to the “Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence” dogs.

Most of the breeds in the “brightest” dogs are the ones you’ll see most often in the workforce: Golden and Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, Border Collies. At the lower end of the spectrum, however, are your common family pets or lap dogs: Shih Tzus, Beagles, Bulldogs, Pekingese dogs.

You have to note that Prof. Coren’s criteria for rating leans heavily on a dog’s trainability, and isn’t a definite proof for dog intelligence.

How Can You Improve Your Dog’s Intelligence?

Bright or dumb breed aside, all dogs can be trained with enough time, patience, and consistency. But these next tips can improve your dog’s obedience, behavior, and overall intelligence:

Daily Training

Of course, this holds true to any animal, even humans! Athletes train and practice daily to become better. Skilled professionals like artists and musicians train hours every day, too. Learned professionals like doctors and lawyers constantly read to enhance and update their knowledge.
The same goes for dogs. Daily practice of learned commands and the introduction of new ones will enhance your pooch’s intelligence.

Expose Your Dog to Human Touch as Early as Possible

This is great if you’re thinking of getting a puppy. The earlier you expose your pup to physical manipulation, the better. This will make the puppy used to human touch. When it grows up, it will be more willing to learn commands and accept changes.

Take Your Dog on Walks and Let it Socialize

Because your dog can’t talk, it uses its other senses to see and feel its surroundings. Taking your dog out on walks and letting it discover more of the outside world will expand its intelligence and understanding.
Socializing does the same thing, but on a more canine level. Socializing will let your dog learn skills from other dogs. It’ll also introduce him to different interpersonal situations.

Give Your Pooch a Bit of a Challenge

Try to add a bit of difficulty with your pooch’s play or mealtimes. For example, you can try a game of treasure hunt. Take a few pieces of kibble or dog treats and hide them around the house. Look for places that aren’t out in the open and will cause your pooch to be creative – try hiding them on higher level shelves, behind a stack of books, under a plastic cup. Set a timer and let your pooch loose!
You can also buy toys and food bowls that need a bit of brain power, too. There are chew toys that you can stuff with treats, or food bowls with lids that open when your pooch touches the right button.

Give Lots of Praise and Encouragement When Your Dog Does a Good Job

Appreciation and encouragement are great motivators, so remember to be lavish when praising your dog. You can use verbal praises, belly rubs, and treats when your dog executes a command correctly or displays good behavior.
This is known as positive reinforcement. It’s a favorite training technique used by dog handlers because it’s a healthy, humane, and gentle approach to teaching – and it works!

Don’t get frustrated or angry when your pooch is being stubborn with you! Dogs have different levels of intelligence, but that doesn’t mean you need to just accept the fact that your dog is stupid. With your loving, constant guidance and support, your dog can be the smart, good boy you’ve always dreamed him to be!

We hope you enjoyed our How to Improve A Dogs Intelligence and Behavior article. We also hope that you learned a bit more and we would appreciate if you would share this article with other dog owners. Also read our article 10 good gift ideas for a dog

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If you want to learn more about Dog Intelligence, have a look at the Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds – Most Intelligent Dog Rankings.

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Want to learn more about the Shih Tzu? Read our Shih Tzu articles:

What you should know about the dog breed Shih Tzu

What are Shih Tzus Bred for?

Do Shih Tzus Get Along With Cats?

How to Improve A Dogs Intelligence and Behavior