They are intelligent, affectionate, loyal … the dog is man’s best friend. Some learn names quickly. Some Hungarian scientists have investigated this. Dogs that quickly learn the names of objects. You only have to listen to them four times.
You are a researcher at the Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest. Well, you have been implementing the Family Dogs project in the ethology department for two years. The aim is to demonstrate the ability of certain dogs to remember new names of objects. The results of the experiment will be published in the journal Scientific Reports.
To do this, they search the world for talented dogs. They should be able to remember item names simply by playing with their owners or in normal life just like children do. Most dogs learn the names of objects after extensive training. But there are others who show extraordinary skills.
It is true that without practice, you will quickly forget these words. Two of the gifted dogs in the experiment were a Border collie, called Norway Whiskey and a Yorkshire Terrier, called Vicki Nina from Brazil. The researchers tested their ability to learn a new word by hearing it just four times. They assessed whether they could relate it to a specific object.
“We wanted to know the conditions under which gifted dogs can learn new words. To test this, we introduced new words to Whiskey and Vicki Nina in two different situations, ”said Claudia Fugazza. She is the lead author of the study.
The first situation tried to learn the new words while playing with their owners. You said the name of the toy four times. In the second situation, the so-called exclusion method was more complex. Seven toys with names already known to the dog were included in the assignment. It was also introduced as a new one. The purpose here was to test the dog’s ability to select a new object when it hears a new name.
In both cases, the two dogs demonstrated that they could choose the new toy by hearing its owner pronounce a new name. This confirms that, like children, dogs can choose through exclusion.
“This rapid learning is similar to the way children acquire vocabulary by the age of two or three.” Another author of the article, Adam Miklosi, head of the ethology department, points out.
However, an hour later, they did not recognize the words. In another test with twenty common dogs, they could not learn the names of the new objects. Dogs that learn the names of objects are particularly gifted. Researchers recently started another project called the Genius Dog Challenge. The challenge is figuring out how many new words gifted dogs can learn in a short amount of time.