How Smart is My Dog? The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds.

Recently, the New York Times reported that a psychology professor named Stanley Coren has discovered some fascinating things about dogs and intelligence.

Coren polled over 200 professional dog obedience judges, asking them to rank 110 dog breeds according to their intelligence. In general, he says, poodles, retrievers, Labradors and shepherds are the most intelligent dogs, able to learn as many as 250 words, signs and signals.

The smartest dogs, he says, will understand a new command in five repetitions or less, and will immediately obey commands 95% of the time. Here’s his list of the smartest dog breeds:

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

Before you rush out to buy one of these smart dogs, though, you should know that there are pros and cons to living with an intelligent canine. As Coren points out, sometimes these dogs are so smart that they learn to manipulate their owners and their environment to get whatever they want.

Millan: Pet care demands a ‘pack leader’

Millan: Pet care demands a 'pack leader'As many pet owners know, not every dog will fetch the morning newspaper or assume the responsibility of maintaining the household while its owner is at work. Common misbehaviors by dogs, though irritating, can often be curbed with small steps to ensure that pet care is meeting the canine’s standards.

According to Cesar Millan, host of the hit National Geographic Channel show Dog Whisperer, a dog’s bad behavior can sometimes be traced back to tense or negative attitudes expressed by its owner, or small lapses in care.

Because most canines instinctually learn their behavior from a pack leader, Millan warns dog-lovers, "If you are tense, frustrated or angry, your dog will mirror that energy right back at you, so it’s especially important to remain calm when dealing with an aggressive dog."

The dog whisperer further recommends that a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day not only ensures quality pet health, but may reduce hyperactivity in excitable or edgy dogs.

The expert furthermore claims that separation anxiety, manifested by persistent barking while the owner is away, can be curbed by practicing "no touch, no talk, and no eye contact" for at least five minutes while entering or leaving the home.

According to the U.S. Humane Society, there are approximately 88.3 million owned cats and 74.8 million owned dogs in the country.

Pastor turns God’s house into doghouse

Besided the church mouse, dogs and cats are now being welcomed to massOne Los Angeles pastor is using his religious conviction to validate the beginning of pet services at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, in efforts to add vitality to the spiritual community.

Reverend Tom Eggebeen, who has been a pastor in a Los Angeles at the church for three years, began noticing that church attendance and enthusiasm had begun to wane, the Associated Press reports.

As a remedy, the reverend began offering 30-minute services with doggie beds, canine-specific prayers and an offering of dog treats. He hopes that these measures will provide solace to elderly parishioners and attract new worshippers who wish to make prayer a part of elemental pet care.

"The Bible says that God is love, and wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion," Eggebeen explained to the news source. He added, "When we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor it."

Though traditional Christians believe only humans have redeemable souls, a survey by Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University, revealed that more than 500 blessings for animals have been undertaken in churches across the country.

Dogs may help kids learn to read

Dogs may help kids learn to readMedical studies have linked pet care to better exercise habits, lower blood pressure and improved psychological health in humans. Even simply petting a dog can provide the soothing conditions to lower heart rates and reduce stress. Now, pet experts are saying that having a dog in the house may help small children learn how to read.

Kathy Klotz, director of Intermountain Therapy Animals – a nonprofit organization that specializes in animal-assisted physical, occupational and speech therapy – has begun a new nationwide program called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ).

The organizer based her program on the belief that children who are new readers may feel judged or intimidated by human listeners, and can benefit from a supportive, passive friend, CNN reports.

"One factor that turned out to be really important, is that the child feels like they’re letting the dog understand the story," Klotz told the news source. "They get to be the teacher, the storyteller, the one who knows more than the dog for a change."

While humans continue to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.

Wildlife conservation group sponsors exotic animal adoption

Wildlife conservation group sponsors exotic animal adoptionGazing into a pet shop window, a passerby might think that owning a boa constrictor or baby iguana seems like a fantastic, albeit impulsive, idea. However, these pets grow and their custodians struggle to provide adequate pet care, the pet owners may seek a way out of their ownership responsibilities.

This weekend, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) will hold an amnesty event, allowing the owners of nonnative pets to hand over their animals – no questions asked.

The event, which the FFWCC sponsors several times a year, has been held in response to owners releasing their exotic animals into the wild, where some species can infringe on the habitats of native animals, the Tampa Tribune reports.

As an alternative, biologists at the wildlife commission will attempt to find adoptive owners for the animals who are qualified and able to care for them.

"We expect to get quite a few nonnative animals that day so we need to make sure we have safe homes for them," commission spokeswoman Jenny Tinnell said in a news release made public last month. "Often, pet owners don’t understand the difference between native and nonnative species or they don’t realize the possible effects releasing a nonnative fish or animal can have."

It is a violation of Florida law to release exotic animals into the wild.

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