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Border Collies can ‘effortlessly’ learn the name of their toys, after a new study found one smart pup was able to identify an impressive 37 toys.
According to researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, the ability to learn toy names in dogs is incredibly rare, with just a few number of ‘gifted’ pups being able to do so. While the Border Collie wowed researchers, the team found that both puppies and mature dogs also had the skill to learn toy names.
How did the study work?
As part of their ‘Family Dog Project’, researchers ran a three-month training programme with the aim to teach 40 dogs the name of at least two toys. Some of the training protocol included weekly sessions with a dog trainer, as well as playful interactions where the dog’s owner would repeat the name of the toy several times.
During the testing period, owners sat in one room whilst the toys were placed in another. When owners asked their dog for a toy, the dog then left the room to select a toy from the other room.
Some of the breeds involved in the study include the Border Terrier, King Poodle, Australian Shepherd and Schnauzers, but it was the Border Collie pup who was able to learn the most.
“Many studies before us have proven that dogs can learn words that refer to actions, such as sit, down, come,” Shany Dror, study author, told MailOnline. “But we noticed that very few studies reported on the ability of dogs to learn toy names; therefore we were interested in specifically testing this area.
“All the seven dogs that showed this exceptional talent are Border Collies — a breed meant to cooperate with humans for herding purposes.”
Dog experts widely agree that the Border Collie is an intelligent breed, with the American Kennel Club adding: “They are capable of learning a remarkable number of words and commands, and they are happiest when they are put to work every day.”
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