As you get a Shiba inu for sale and your puppy reaches seven weeks of age, his brain and response patterns are almost identical to an adult dog’s brain. This statistic is recorded using an electroencephalogram (EGG). Base on this reading, you might think that puppies or adolescent dogs would have the same ability to learn as adult dogs do. On the contrary, this is not the case regardless of what the brain wave patterns show.
The Way Puppies Learn
Although a puppy’s brain may be fully developed at a very young age, his ability to learn, and his coordination skills must be practiced repetitively over time, just like any motor skill. Take climbing stairs or any dog training tricks, for example, if you don’t expose your dog to continuous learning opportunities, those learned skills will soon be forgotten. Not totally forgotten I might add, it just needs a few more training to kick start.
I suppose this is similar to how people learn a new skill. As a matter of fact, humans and dogs are identical in many ways when it comes to how our intelligence develops over the years and throughout our life span.
The Way Dogs Develop Their Intelligence
In people, developing intelligence increases at a rapid pace between infancy and into the mid-adolescent years. This typically peaks when a person has reached his later teenage years. Brain measures have shown that there are very small changes the ability to gain more intelligence, if any, between the age of 16 and 27.
After these years there is a slow and gradual decline of fluid intelligence. This is what is called “crystallized intelligence” that is based on what a person actually learns, which does not reach its peak until he/she reaches around mid-40s. Some people actually maintain a slow increase in crystallized intelligence throughout their entire life.
Dogs are very much the same way. Their brains experience almost an identical pattern except for the fact that dogs’ lifespans are considerably shorter than ours.
The Way Dog’s Brain Mass Changes
When he reaches his senior years, there are very noticeable changes in their physiology. When a small dog reaches the age of six or seven (four or five in larger breeds) years old, the brain starts to lose weight at a larger rate of almost 5% for every year that goes by. For example, the brain of a healthy 14 years old Chihuahua may weigh about 25% less brain mass than it did when he was 7 years old.
Much of this decrease in brain mass is the result of brain cells that are shrinking and breaking down. And because neural connections become lost, information travels at a very slow pace within the dog’s nervous system. This invariably causes delayed reactions and slow response time to noises and commands. That’s why older dogs take a longer time to learn new skills, more so for those dogs whose daily life consists of eating, sleeping, and eliminating.
Can you imagine how boring your dog’s life must be if he walks the same route, eats the same food, sees the same neighborhood dogs, sniffs the same fire hydrant for 15 years?