Pulling out those ABC flashcards to give your tot a head start on early reading? You might want to include the family dog in on the lesson. According to a recent study, your dog just might be as smart as your toddler.
Okay, so no one is suggesting that dogs can learn to read. But they can “count” to five and recognize up to 250 words, including signs and gestures. That, leading dog researcher Stanley Coren tells CNN, puts them on level with your average human 2-year-old.
Coren says some breeds are smarter than others — chows and bulldogs, not so sharp. Border collies and retrievers, on the other hand, can sometimes even rival a child of two-and-a-half. “They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought,” Coren tells CNN.
Don’t count those human tots out just yet though. A different study discovered that human babies as young as six months can understand the meaning behind a dog’s bark. And in the long run, that ability to understand complex behavior might ultimately be what separates man and beast.
It is a good reminder, though, that four-legged family members deserve love and respect, even after two-legged children displace them. Time to go hug my dog … and see if she really can count to five.
Photo: MeaganJean, Flickr