A new study proves that some of the talented canines can learn new words after listening to them only four times. The initial evidence proved that most of the canines do not learn new words or names of the objects unless they are trained extensively.
A team of researchers from the Ethology Department of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary found out that some of the pets have “exceptional abilities”. The researchers studied and observed two talented canines, a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina, and a Border collie named Whiskey.
While speaking to CNN, the first author for this study and a researcher at the department, Claudia Fugazza stated that they wanted to learn if there are certain conditions for talented canines to learn new words. To conduct this study, the canines Vicky Nina and Whiskey were exposed to new words but in two different conditions.
The first scenario was an exclusion-based task and another scenario was within a playful-social environment with their owners. In both conditions, the canines heard the name of a new toy and only four times. The canines were then presented with seven known toys along with one new toy, both the canines were able to select the new toy when it was presented to them with its name.
However, when the researchers exposed the canines to two newly named toys and were asked to retrieve one of them, they failed. During the test, the researchers found that 20 other canines that participated could not learn the new toy’s name. The study concluded that no other canine can learn new words without having formal training.
The capability of learning new words rapidly is very rare and is seen in talented canines like Whisky and Vicky Nina. This study was published in the journal ‘Scientific Report’ this week. The co-author of this study and the head of the Ethology department, Adam Miklósi stated that such rapid-learning programs are similar to the way human kids learn their vocabulary.
Canines are renowned for their auditory capability and also for their ability to hear words and sounds. However, they are not able to differentiate between speech and sounds. According to experts, canines do not pay attention to all the sounds and speeches in the surrounding.