Is a Scottish Terrier a smart dog?

Did you know that a Scottish Terrier called Fibber McGee once protected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from a suspected attack? Fibber suspected danger and wouldn’t stop barking, eventually causing the secret service to respond. They found a ladder by a window of the president’s home that shouldn’t have been there. That’s true smarts, isn’t it?

As you probably guessed, we’re about to embark on an informative adventure discovering the intelligence of the charismatic and iconic Scottish Terrier. This small, compact and strong terrier breed hails from Scotland, thus the name. Their distinctive appearance with bushy eyebrows, a beard, and a mustache in addition to their keen and quick-moving character have made them a favorite in many homes and hearts worldwide.

But how smart are these dogs, really?

The perception of dog intelligence tends to vary greatly among people due to the different ways people weigh intelligence. Some suggest that learning and problem-solving capability is a measure of intellect, while others weigh more on obedience and working ability. According to renowned canine researcher and psychology professor Stanley Coren, breeds rank differently based on the two intelligence types.

Here’s the twist: Scottish terriers fall into an interesting category. They show considerable strength in specific areas of intelligence yet are not ‘top-of-the-class’ in traditional obedience training. Broadly, they exhibit high adaptive intelligence levels but can be quite independent in training or submission, therefore being termed as ‘medium smart’ in working and obedience intelligence.

Adaptive intelligence stands for a dog’s capability to solve problems, understand social scenarios, and learn from past experiences. This is where Scottish Terriers are standouts. They are excellent in problem-solving and can learn to navigate their home environments or even handle tricky treat-filled toys swiftly.

Keep in mind; they were initially bred as working dogs, specifically for hunting and killing vermin. They needed to make quick decisions and figure out how best to deal with pests making a home in difficult to reach places. That’s where this problem-solving prowess comes from.

So you may wonder, why aren’t Scottish Terriers as obedient as one might expect for such a smart breed? Their working origins help to explain this, too.

The ancestral Scottish terriers had to work independently, often away from their human counterparts. They had to rely on their judgment to make decisions, which means they’ve evolved to be quite independent. They might not always see the need to follow your commands, especially if their instincts tell them otherwise.

Does that mean training a Scottish Terrier is a nightmare? Definitely, not!

While your Scottie may show a degree of stubbornness, with a proper approach, they can be trained effectively. Patience will be your ally here. Also, keep in mind that Scottish Terriers respond well to positive reinforcement. Heap praises and treats on them when they get a trick or obey a command, and you’re likely to see much better results. Utilize their adaptive intelligence in the training sessions.

The key is to establish yourself as a reliable leader which they can respect. Be consistent with your commands, timely with your rewards, and always use a gentle, positive tone. Keep training sessions short but regular to maintain their interest.

Another avenue to channel Scottish Terriers’ intelligence is through engaging their instincts. These dogs still have a strong prey drive and love to chase and hunt. Provide plenty of opportunities to do this in a controlled environment, with toys or during playtime, and your Scottie will be a happy, well-adjusted pet.

It’s also important to mentally challenge these dogs. Interactive toys, puzzles and new tricks will keep their sharp minds stimulated. Remember, a bored dog is often a destructive dog.

To sum up, sizing up a Scottish Terrier’s intelligence isn’t only about how good they are at fetching a ball or how quickly they understand sit or stay. While these are essential elements, equally important is their ability to problem-solve, adapt to environments, and understand social scenarios.

While Scottish Terriers may have an independent streak when it comes to training, their loyal and affectionate nature combined with their distinctive character makes them remarkable pets. Plus, who can resist that bushy beard and sharp-witted glance?

In conclusion, the next time someone asks you if a Scottish Terrier is smart, you know your answer. They are not only smart in their unique way but also packed with qualities that many would argue are even more important than intelligence – affection, loyalty, and a distinctive charm that is undeniably captivating. Just ask President Roosevelt!