Instinct and intelligence in dogs

Instinct and intelligence in dogs

The concept of instinct has greatly evolved. Behavioral development requires a complex interaction of genetic predisposition and experience. To say that an animal behaves instinctively may be erroneous because this implies that behavior was not influenced by experience.
It is difficult to conclude that a form of behavior was mainly determined by genetics and that it cannot be shaped by experience. Once the principle has been established that animals can be guided by something other than instinct, the next step is to say that they are intelligent. Are they indeed truly intelligent? Is the dog who opens the door by pushing on the latch intelligent, or the dog who looks for his leash when he wants to go out, or the dog who brings his ball in order to play? There is no question that dogs do amazing things, but all these successful tricks are learned behaviors. Compare two puppies raised differently, for example. One has a mother who took care of him and was exposed to a lot of sensory stimuli and the other was raised without a mother or with a bad mother and without sensory stimuli. The first dog will be more “intelligent” than the second. In fact, the first dog will be better able to adapt to new situations because the development of his interneurons was more highly stimulated during the critical period, which in dogs, is between three and sixteen weeks. The dog who brings his ball over to play or his leash to go out, is a dog who considers himself to be dominant within the human-dog pack. He initiates contact, games, etc. This is not intelligence, but hierarchy.
Pheromones are chemical substances secreted by an individual to the exterior of the body, which can be detected through smell by another individual and which trigger a behavioral or physiological response in that individual. These pheromones are produced in various organs: the anal sac glands, the circumanal glands, interdigitate glands and glands in the back and tail. When a dog meets another dog, he sniffs the zones of the body with the highest concentration glands.