Clever pets – ABC radio interview

Karen

Jordan Dog Training was recently interviewed on ABC 612 Brisbane, talking about clever pets.

To listen to the interview, just click the play button below…

Video Transcript. 

Chris: “I was reading during the week of a pig that has joined a puppy training class, and by all accounts, I am told pigs are very smart. In fact, maybe they could be smarter than dogs? I’d love to know. If you’ve got a smart pig as a pet, call and tell me your story. Now Karen Harvey is from Jordan Dog Training and is one of the dog trainers working with pigs and she joins us today. G’day Karen. ”

Karen: “Oh hello Chris, how are you?”

Chris: “Good. Before we talk about smart pets, just tell me a bit about training a pig. How smart are pigs as pets?”

Karen: “Oh pigs are very smart, but of course they are all individuals, just like all dogs are, um but yeah, very easy to train, they’re generally very food motivated, um so they’re very intelligent.”

Chris: “So when you’re talking about training you’re talking about behaving themselves, you’re not talking about doing tricks, backflips and drumming through hoops and that type of thing?”

Karen: “Ah well backflips might be a bit of a stretch for pigs to do naturally.”

Chris: “Haha. Well, you could hope, you could hope.”

Karen: “But um, you could definitely train them to jump through hoops, um retrieve things, um more or less anything you can train a dog to do you can train a pig to do.”

Chris: “So are they as smart as dogs? I mean some dogs appear to be smarter, I mean certain breeds of dogs I should say, appear to be smarter than other breeds. Is it the same with pigs?”

Karen: “Ah yes, and you gotta remember that it’s the individual animals as well. But yes, pigs are very intelligent animals, I mean most pig farmers always try to tell you how intelligent their pigs are. I had a pet pig and she was very easy to train, a little pig that came to puppy school. So we quickly learned come and sit and very easily toilet trained as they are very clean animals.”

Chris: “Ok, so what have you seen a pig able to do in terms of tricks?”

Karen: “Um, well actually I know of another dog trainer who trained a pig to do the first level of obedience competition. So the pig would walk on a loose lead on the heel position, every time the owner would stop the pig would sit, it would drop on command, it would jump a jump through and retrieve a dumbell, um.”

Chris: “Do they answer to name?”

Karen: “yes ”

Chris: “If you also called out, the pig would come?”

Karen: “Yes, yes.”

Chris: “Okay, that’s lovely. Okay, so tell us about dogs then. Which is the smartest breed of dog to train? What’s the easiest one to train?”

Karen: “Okay, there is a lot of contention in the dog world about this. Um, I guess the easiest dogs to train would be dogs that are working dog breeds, so we would be thinking of German Shepards, Border Collies, Kelpies, Cattle Dogs, so that sort of a dog, but that doesn’t necessarily say that that’s the most intelligent breed. Um, I am very keen on the Standard Poodles, and Poodles, in general, are very intelligent, and in my opinion probably just as good as, if not more intelligent than a Border Collie, but because they are not a working dog breed they tend to not be so compliant in I just want to do what you want me to do without question. So a very intelligent dog might say, yes you have a good idea, but I think mine is better. ”

Chris: “Haha alright. We are talking about smart dogs and pets. Karen Harvey has joined us from Jordan Dog Training. If you got a smart pet in your household and does amazing things, call me and tell me about it. So, do dogs, are they able to do tricks untrained in a sense that they have some natural ability to, you know, for instance, sheepdogs they round people up or children, I’ve heard of that happening. A Border Collie will just keep an eye on kids that might be playing in a backyard. ”

Karen: “Absolutely yes. And dogs are now used in many facets in our lives. They are used to help diagnose cancers that modern medical scientists find difficult to detect.”

Chris: “How does it do that?”

Karen: “It’s through their sense of smell, so say for instance recently they’ve started using dogs to diagnose ovarian cancer which is very difficult to diagnose in women. So they, with the dogs, and it doesn’t have to be with any particular breed, they are often rescues from the pound. They offer the dogs the urine sample and train the dog to show a signal to the handler when they smell/ recognise whatever is in the urine that means they have ovarian cancer. ”

Chris: “How extraordinary”

Karen: “Dogs do that with training, but they also, a lot of dogs will also do it without training.  There have been lots of documented cases where a person with skin cancer, a dog will suddenly start to worry about a spot on their leg, their arm, which they’ve never paid attention to and they pester  the owner with it and the owner eventually gets so cheesed off with it that they go to the doctor and say look there’s a spot on my leg here, my dog keeps pestering it and 9 times out of 10 they probably have a melanoma or some sort of  cancer there.”

Chris: “And any dog can do that?”

Karen: “Any Dog.”

Chris: “Okay, that’s quite clever.”