July 27, 2021
Is Your Dog A Genius? | CBS’ Martha Teichner | Dog Edition #28

Think your dog is an Einstein? Think again. Research has found that super intelligent pups are rare, but now there is a Genius Dog Challenge to test their smarts.

Many dog owners like to think their dog is smart, but a new study has wrapped some fascinating data around just how intelligent some dogs really are – or are not! Also, how saying yes after a chance encounter started a love story CBS Reporter Martha Teichner could never have imagined.

Einstein dogs not that common

It may shock some dog owners to know that their pooch is not as smart as they think. A new study of gifted and talented dogs has revealed that canine Mozart’s or Einstein’s are likely rare. Now the next big question for scientists, to track the genetics and history of breeds to find what makes the smartest creatures.

Some dogs are geniuses – just like humans

Take the Genuis Dog Challenge here

Martha Teichner – When Harry Met Minnie

The Union Square Greenmarket is the beating heart of the romance of New York City. A chance encounter there led to Martha Teichner meeting Harry the Bull Terrier. He turned out to be a love match for her Bullie, Minnie ... and his mother, Carol Fertig, dying from liver cancer, turned out to be a remarkable friend for Martha. Their story is a bracing, modern fairy tale about how saying yes to life is revitalizing, even in death. 

Dog Lovers Live – Billie Groom

Dog Lovers Live, a discovery of dog loving podcasters and YouTubers. Billie Groom wears many hats. She is an author, podcaster, cognitive behavioral therapist and creator of the UPWARD Dogology formula, an approach she uses to change the lives of dogs and their owners

Dog Training DisrUPted – UPWARD Dogology Podcast

About Martha Teichner

Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since December 1993, where she’s equally adept at covering major breaking national and international news stories as she is handling in-depth cultural and arts topics. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including twelve Emmy Awards and five James Beard Foundation Awards. Teichner was also part of team coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which earned CBS News a 2014 duPont-Columbia Award. Teichner was born in Traverse City, Michigan. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She attended the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business Administration. Teichner resides in New York City.




About Billie Groom

Billie Groom is an award-winning author, podcaster, cognitive behavioral therapist and creator of the UPWARD Dogology formula from working with thousands of dogs over 3 decades. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, Animal Behavior Society and the Comparative Cognition Society. Billie works with veterinarians, psychologists, animal experts, canine professionals, rescuers, fosters, adopters and first time dog owners.






>> James Jacobson: [00:00:00] Hello, I'm James Jacobson. I'm in Maui, Hawaii. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:00:10] And I'm Caroline Winter in Adelaide, Australia. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:12] And I'm Pamela Lorence in San Francisco, California. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:15] Welcome to Dog Edition. The first show designed for you to listen to while you walk your dogs. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:22] Coming up, our Dog Days of Summer season continues with the latest town headlines, and when Harry met Minnie: what happens when you say yes, after a chance encounter. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:00:33] Also the power of Upward Dogology. Stick around to find out just what that is and how it's helping dogs in need and the people who are devoted to them. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:42] So if you love dogs, as much as we do, pause what you're doing, leash up your pup and let's take a walk. We've got a lot to talk about on today's episode of Dog Edition.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:57] Hey Pepper, want to go for a walk. [00:01:00] Hey team. I, I have some regretful news to share with you. So let's head on over to the hydrant so I can let you know that, um, just because you name your dog, Einstein does not actually guarantee that he or she will be a genius. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:01:19] Shock-horror. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:22] But seriously, sometimes when I'm out and about, and I see a dog, I will look at that dog and I'll say, oh my gosh, that dog is so cute. Right. And other times I'll say, wow, that dog looks really, really smart because there's just something, something going on in the eyes that makes me think that. And for some reason it's usually a Border Collie. Do you guys know what I mean?

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:42] I don't have border collies, but I definitely see that in my Malteses eyes, but I think there are different types of intelligence, um, manipulative and cagey and calculating, or just sweet and also manipulative. So, I think you can see that in the eyes. [00:02:00] Caro, what about you and your dog, Harvey? 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:02:02] Well, Harvey's a genius. I think we all know that. Yeah, exactly. Well, I used to have a border col that's right. That's right. You don't don't want to put too much pressure on, on the pup. We had a border Collie crossed with a Kelpie, the working dog, um, when I was a kid growing up and a beautiful dog, Casey was, was gorgeous. Don't know that he was the sharpest tool in the shed, but, but he was only half Border Collie. So maybe, maybe that was why. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:02:31] Oh, there you go. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:02:31] Um, but look, isn't it typical for all of us dog, parents, dog lovers, to think that we have a genius on four leg? 

>> James Jacobson: [00:02:37] Absolutely. I've met a few parents who feel the same way with two legged children.

>> Caroline Winter: [00:02:42] Yes. Come on. All children are geniuses as well. Aren't they? 

>> James Jacobson: [00:02:45] As Garrison Keillor would say, all the people are above average. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:02:50] I like that. And look, sure, dogs seem to read our facial expressions or understand some words we say to them like treats and walkies [00:03:00] but does that make them geniuses or does it just make them good communicators?

>> James Jacobson: [00:03:04] Well they have to be good communicators of course, because you know, dogs depend on us for all of their needs. They're not going off to the grocery store and they're not hunting their food down. And they're certainly not going to the store to buy dog beds. But you actually bring up an interesting. The fact that, you know, some dogs that we call gifted are exceptional, aren't they in that? Or do they have pretty much all the same level of intelligence and we're ascribing things to them that are not real. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:03:31] Okay. Well, I remember a Border Collie named chaser who was dubbed the smartest dog in the world. Chaser. See, she could recognize and actually more importantly, remember over 1000 nouns, one for each of her toys which seems like an awful lot of toys for any dog. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:03:51] Let alone being able to name them. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:03:53] Right. Spoiled. But, um, so, but I'd say that that is pretty exceptional. And maybe why I associate border [00:04:00] collies with intelligence in dogs. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:04:01] I remember Chaser, but one dog doesn't really make for a great sample size. And that is why a scientist by the name of Claudia Fugazza, who is an ethologist, who is someone who studies animal behavior in nature, as opposed to like in a laboratory, an ethologist  studies dog cognition at a university in Budapest. And I'm going to try to pronounce this is Eotovos Laurand University. For all of you listening in Budapest, please correct me. Uh, she and her colleagues have asked the owners of 34 pet dogs, various breeds not just border collies to teach their canines the name of two separate tools. Just two. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:04:48] Two, two, just two. See that, to me seems a little bit easy. I think so easy that even my Pepper do that. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:04:56] Well, don't be so sure Pam, because it turns out that of those [00:05:00] 34 animals only one passed the test and it was a border Collie named Oliva. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:05:08] What? Only one dog passed the test of learning two toys? That just doesn't seem like a stretch at all, two toys. Sure. Although, now I think about it and I look at lovingly at Harvey, there are a few variables that you need to consider. Like how long did the dogs have to learn the name of the two toys? Did they stop there or did the researchers see how many toys the dogs could learn? If as Pam said, Chaser learned over a thousand, I'm guessing this experiment probably took a bit of time. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:05:40] A lot of questions there, news hound. Well, the first stage of the experiment took three months. So it took three months for them to do it. And here's how the experiment worked. Owners were instructed to play fetch with their dog while repeating the name of the toy. And then once a month with a scientist an ethologist, observing [00:06:00] the owners, tested the progress by asking the dog to retrieve one or two of the toys by name. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:06:07] Hmm, where these, uh, were these puppies or adult dogs? What are we talking about here? 

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:12] There was a range of ages. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:06:14] And only, sorry I've got to go back to this, and only one dog was able to match a single word to a toy. Okay. That's amazing. I really would have expected it to be much higher. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:23] Only one dog, Oliva, could pass the first stage and Oliva was pretty special because she went on to identify 21 toys by name. However, sadly Oliva died before she could be tested further.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:06:38] That is sad but I'm going to point out that Oliva was a Border Collie. See, I told you they're the smartest dogs.

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:48] I know border Collie, border Collie, not so fast because 18 of the 33 dogs that failed were also border collies. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:06:59] Huh? [00:07:00] Aha. So like people, dogs have a range of intelligence and some can even be considered genius, like my groodle. Right. I'm going to test Harvey Harvey.

>> James Jacobson: [00:07:11] You can test Harvey and you at home can test your own dog because you can take the project's Genius Dog Challenge. It's online. We'll link to it in today's show notes. Find out and let us know how your dog scores. We'll be right back. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:07:27] You're listening to Dog Edition.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:07:34] Welcome back to Dog Edition. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:07:36] Once upon a time or more precisely July 23rd, 2016 at about 8: 30 in the morning, a chance encounter at the Union Square Farmer's Market in New York, began what can only be described as a fairy tale, but one with a complicated happily ever after. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:07:58] And I looked over and I [00:08:00] saw somebody I hadn't seen in a year or two. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:08:04] That's Martha Teichner,  long time CBS news correspondent, and award-winning journalist. She was at the farmer's market that day with her bull terrier. Minnie. They were both mourning the death of Goose Martha's other bull terrier and Minnie's close companion for many years. That's when she bumped into Steven Miller Segal. They were acquainted as many New Yorkers are from walking their dogs around the neighborhood.

>> Martha Teichner: [00:08:32] Well, there he was at the farmer's market. I hadn't seen him in a year or two. I had never seen him at the farmer's market. Uh, he came over and said, well, where's Goose. And I told him that goose had died and that I had been searching for an older bull terrier, male to, um, be a companion to Minnie. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:08:51] Call that meeting a coincidence or maybe fate or the guiding hand of the universe. Call it what do you like. [00:09:00] What happened next feels like one of those only in New York experiences.

>> Martha Teichner: [00:09:06] And he pulled out his phone and he showed me a picture that he had taken, um, when we were walking along the river uh, a couple of years before, and he said, remember, um, I took this picture of Minnie and Goose, um, to send to my friend Carol, who had a bull terrier. And, and I said, no. And he said, well, um, it's my friend Carol Fertig. And she's dying of liver cancer. And her dog, Harry is 11 and a half. And, um, nobody wants him and she's desperate to find a home for him because she's been warned that she will probably have to have him put down, um, because he will be difficult to re home. And, um, he said, would you take him?

>> James Jacobson: [00:09:58] It was a deceptively simple [00:10:00] question. Could this be the answer to Martha's wish for a companion for Minnie? 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:10:05] I heard this sound bubbling about me saying, well, yes, if they get along.

>> James Jacobson: [00:10:11] That condition, if they get along was an out, if Martha wanted to take it. But after learning a little bit about Carol Ferdig, 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:10:19] Carol was arresting and larger than life and well-read, she was smart. She was incredibly funny. She had a rapier like sense of humor, which stayed with her til the very, very, very end of her life.

>> James Jacobson: [00:10:35] It seemed like a foregone conclusion. Martha would take Harry when the time came. A first date was arranged for the dogs. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:10:49] We sat out on the stoop for a couple of hours and, um, the dogs ignored each other completely and Minnie kind of flounced herself around and showed [00:11:00] Harry her behind. And then Harry completely ignored her and went digging in my pocket for treats. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:11:06] But the humans on that stoop had a lovely time. It was the beginning of a close and wonderful friendship, but sadly one that would come with an ending. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:11:19] You know, you worry about what it's going to be like meeting and getting to know and conversing with someone who's dying. You worry that it's going to be horrible, but it wasn't. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:11:36] Carol's terminal liver cancer was the result of practically living next door to ground zero in the aftermath of nine 11. The two women had work to do. They had limited time to get Harry and many to fall in love. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:11:55] Carol and I were like silly, um, mothers matchmaking. [00:12:00] I would say that by the third time Harry came over, it was pretty clear they would get along. They started to play with each other and rough house and do all the moves and Minnie diving under tables. And Harry tried to go after her and Minnie on the couch, running back and forth, teasing him while he did, tried to figure out what was going on and, and Harry, with his, the bowl, uh, the metal bowl filled with tennis balls that he always carried around with him, jiggling it in his teeth and making noise with it and throwing with tennis balls and Minnie tearing after. I mean, that kind of thing made it pretty clear that they liked each other.

>> James Jacobson: [00:12:39] It was puppy love after all or maybe more senior love, but Carol, wasn't ready to turn Harry over to Martha just yet. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:12:48] Yeah. I had expected her to say, okay, here's Harry, two three meetings, but it didn't work that way at all. And it, I came to realize very quickly that Harry [00:13:00] symbolized life as she knew it, that she had to keep him as long as possible, because even if I said yes, um, having Harry till she couldn't take care of him anymore was how Carol clung to life. And, um, and anyway, I was fine with that because I really got to like, the get togethers. Um, they were ostensibly to socialize the dogs, but pretty soon they were gatherings of friends.

>> James Jacobson: [00:13:28] This unexpected friendship could have been predestined. Fate had intervened years earlier in the 1990s.

>> Martha Teichner: [00:13:36] I was walking up 10th avenue, not too far from my house. And there was an, a restaurant with outdoor tables and there she was sitting with her first bull terrier, a white one named Violet. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:13:49] Martha stopped to introduce herself as a fellow dog lover or bull terriers. It was an encounter that she never forgot.

>> Martha Teichner: [00:13:56] It was the singular looking person with the big hat and [00:14:00] the big dark glasses. And, a dog named violet. You don't ever forget a bull terrier named Violet. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:14:08] Fate stepped in once again when Carol took Harry to the vet. Martha's bull terriers happened to be there that very same bet at the very same time. And although Martha wasn't there with them, Carol learned who they belong to. Martha recounts what Carol later said about that day. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:14:25] Ah, Martha Teichner has bull terriers and she knew who I was because she watched Sunday Morning, every Sunday. She said to me, you might not believe this, but because I knew about your dogs, she said, one of the very first things I thought after I was diagnosed was wouldn't it be great if Martha Teichner took Harry? Well, of course she didn't even have any connection with me at that point.

>> James Jacobson: [00:14:54] It wasn't until Martha bumped into Steven that fateful morning at the farmer's market, that morning when [00:15:00] the simple question would you take him was asked. That is when all these little coincidences began to form the connections that led to this beautiful, but complicated fairy tale.

>> Martha Teichner: [00:15:12] I said yes. And, uh, it, it was really, really, really profoundly meaningful to me, um, because it led me to a set of experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. And yes, there were sad moments. And there were, you know, ultimately I knew how the story would end both for Carol and for Harry. Uh, but on the road to that, there was just so much richness and so much pleasure and so much fun even. And I came away completely, um, revitalized in a way, because I was able to, [00:16:00] um, break out and say yes.

>> James Jacobson: [00:16:06] And like all fairytales, this one came to an end. After Carol passed away, Harry lived with Martha for 16 months before he died. Shortly thereafter. Minnie also crossed the rainbow bridge. With Carol's blessing. Martha wrote their story. It's called when Harry met Minnie. The book is in stores now and also available as an audio book read in Martha's iconic voice. It's the legacy they all deserve. And one that came from simply saying yes. And now a new story has begun for Martha Teichner. She adopted Girly recently, another bull terrier. 

>> Martha Teichner: [00:16:50] Girly, what? My dog wants to go out and I go let her out. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:17:04] We'll be back after this. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:06] Welcome back to Dog Edition. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:17:09] Now we've got a new mission here at Dog Edition, and that's defined some of the most interesting and entertaining podcasts and YouTube channels and share them with other dog lovers. I know word of mouth is how I try new shows and usually it's shows that I haven't heard about before.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:26] Right? So in the spirit of sharing, we're including a snippet of our new summer show, Dog Lovers Live, here on Dog Edition. It's where Jim speaks to a dog loving podcaster or YouTuber each week to learn about what they do and what makes them tick. You can watch the whole show, but here's a taster of Jim's latest guest, Billie Groom. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:17:48] On the latest Dog Lovers Live, I sat down with a woman who wears a lot of hats. Billie Groom is an author and a podcaster and a cognitive behavioral therapist. And she's [00:18:00] also the creator of something that she calls Upward Dogology. Here's some of our conversation where we find out how Billie is using that approach to change the lives of dogs and their owners. Billie thank you so much for being with us today. 

>> Billie Groom: [00:18:15] I'm really enjoying this. Thanks James. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:16] You and I have spoken in the past. And would you say that's fair that you are a different kind of dog trainer? 

>> Billie Groom: [00:18:24] Yes. I've been called industry disruptor. I've been called all sorts of things. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:28] In a nutshell, how do you describe your methodology? It's called Upward Dogology. 

>> Billie Groom: [00:18:33] It is an actual methodology. It's a formula. And it adheres to the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. So conventional techniques adhere to the principles of conditioning methodologies. So both are scientifically proven and both are part of mainstream psychology and child rearing. So my methodology, uh, just has a different approach. The [00:19:00] first step in learning cognitive behavioral therapy for dogs is to just change that mindset from the conditioning mentality, and understand the differences. One isn't better or worse than the other, but to understand the differences and then people can choose between the two methodologies conditioning, which is your conventional operant conditioning, counter conditioning, classical conditioning.

>> James Jacobson: [00:19:26] Okay. That's how it, most dog trainer, training is about. 

>> Billie Groom: [00:19:30] Right. And then you have cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a different approach. So to put it in a little bit of a nutshell, conditioning methodologies, it's not just even in dog training, but just in general, they use reinforcements to encourage wanted behavior and to discourage unwanted behavior. How the individual trainer or psychologist or parent does that is, is their own. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses skill sets [00:20:00] to change perception, to change behavior.

>> James Jacobson: [00:20:03] When you say skill sets. An example of a skill set is, define that. 

>> Billie Groom: [00:20:07] So skillsets are, as opposed to a reinforcement is a tangible, usually tangible. It could be a pat or a praise or a treat or a toy, and that's what's transferred as they go through. So they're using a reinforcement to encourage behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy develops platform skills. Which are different for every dog and every situation.

>> James Jacobson: [00:20:32] How did you come across it? How did you develop this CBT?

>> Billie Groom: [00:20:36] I actually didn't even grow up with dogs. I just started to take in dogs without even researching. And I just worked with them on my own and learned the way I worked with them. It was later that I discovered it was different. And what I really learned was that people struggled in that adolescent stage. I saw a problem and I wanted to find a solution. If your dog got into the garbage, [00:21:00] if your dog doesn't know it's wrong to get into the garbage. You know, you come home and he's just standing there happy as can be. He doesn't even know that he did anything. You would use a conditioning, you know, just regular conditioning methods would address that. If your dog knows it's wrong, he was doing it because you jipped him on his walk. he's using a lot of cognitive skills there. He knows right from wrong. He knows you don't want him to do that. He knows how to push the lever on the garbage pail. Cause he seen you do it with his foot. So he did it with his paw. He knows, he remembers that you put the chicken wings in the garbage and he knows it's going to piss you off. So those are a lot of cognitive skills going on. So when it, if the reason for getting into the garbage is more along those lines, you'd want to use cognitive behavioral therapy. So, what we would do is establish skills and establish abilities, change the dog's perception and allow you to be able to leave next time and know how to do that and change your schedule so that the dog [00:22:00] doesn't do the behavior. So they would start at the beginning of the program and work their way through. They would learn the skills and how to apply it. So then next time they come home and they have to jip the walk that dog doesn't get into the garbage. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:22:16] So that's, the dog has learned that, that doesn't get rewarded either way. It just needs to be. What about the behavior? 

>> Billie Groom: [00:22:26] It's the perception and that's the huge mindset change, right? So back to the beginning where conditioning methods focus on teaching right from wrong behavior, which is why they're so good with puppies. Whereas we change perception, provide options and allow the dog to choose to not do that behavior.

>> James Jacobson: [00:22:45] We're empowering them to make the right choices. 

>> Billie Groom: [00:22:47] And we're providing them with skills that allow them to do that. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:22:51] That was Billy groom who hosts the podcast Dog Training Disrupted, Upward Dogology. And you can watch Jim's whole chat with her and all our dog lovers [00:23:00] live chats over the summer, for our limited series, you can find it at dog lovers live.com. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:23:07] That's all for today's episode of Dog Edition. I want to thank you for bringing us along with you on your walk today. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:23:13] Dog Podcast Network has a sister show called the Long Leash. It's where you can hear Jim's extended conversations with some of our guests from this show.
>> James Jacobson: [00:23:22] This week I speak with NickPaumgardenn, who is a writer for The New Yorker. He talks in depth about his latest article, which got a lot of attention. It started out as a simple story on pandemic pets, but as you'll hear on the show, it turned into a darker exploration of the strangeness of humans beings and dogs. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:23:44] On the next episode of Dog Edition, I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ben and Jerry's Doggie Dessert Ice Cream. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:23:53] Yay. We taste it. During the summer why not listen to our back catalog of [00:24:00] shows@dogedition.com and let us know what you think. There's a little button on the bottom, right of every episode page, it looks like a microphone, so you can leave us a voicemail and share your stories and thoughts with us. Who knows we may work one of those into a future episode. 

>> Caroline Winter: [00:24:18] Follow Dog Edition in whatever podcast app you use to listen and leave us a review. It will help us bring you more great stories. I'm Caroline Winter, your resident news hound. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:24:27] And I Pamela Lorence, see you at the dog park. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:24:29] I'm James Jacobson. Again, thank you for listening today and hitting the play button. On behalf of all of us here at Dog Podcast Network we wish you and your dog, a very warm Aloha.