LANCASHIRE, U.K. — A smart Shih Tzu is being hailed a doggy genius this week after successfully learning how to count, sort colors and, most importantly, stick his tongue out on command.
Owner Kirsty Forrester first noticed that her adorable pooch Cooper was smarter than most when, at just three months old, she taught him to stick his tongue out. Since then, the pup has gone from strength to strength, thanks to his owner’s mental exercises.
“He loves being challenged, so as well as physical exercise I give him mental exercise. People call him a genius… He can do challenges aimed at a two-year-old. He’s very intelligent.”
Cooper continues to wow fans with videos uploaded by his besotted owner, which include the crafy canine sorting colors and shapes with his mouth.
Forrester and her partner began teaching Cooper with a toddler’s toy designed to put pieces of plastic through similarly shaped holes and by giving him a treat every time he did so correctly. He cracked it in a matter of days and has had a 100% success rate.
Astounded, Forrester then progressed Cooper’s learning to counting and he can now accurately sit on the correct number (between one and three) which is drawn on the floor, when verbally instructed to do so by his owner.
Forrester is thrilled that Cooper’s learning agility contradicts findings by scientists who have previously claimed that Shih Tzus are not an intelligent dog. One psycho-neurological researcher even reported them as the 70th most intelligent breed out of the 80 tested in the laboratory. Forrester continues the fight against the stereotype of people assuming Shih Tzu’s are simply ‘handbag dogs.’
1. Daily Mail