Animal Intelligence: How Smart Is Your Pet?Feb 23, 2022
There is such a concept as pet smarts. Animal intelligence. What do phrases like these mean to you? How would you apply them to your pet? How would you compare your own intelligence to your pet's intelligence? Animal communicator Shannon Cutts discusses pet intelligence from the scientific versus intuitive perspective.
Today, there are two working models that attempt to define and quantify animal intelligence.
The first is what I call the science model. This one produces fascinating information about how dogs are as smart as two-year-old human children and crows are smarter than sparrows.
The science model, it probably won't surprise you to learn, is heavy into these types of ranked lists.
For example, there are lists of the smartest dog breeds, the smartest cat breeds, the smartest apes, the smartest bird species. And there are equivalency lists like the example above, equating the intelligence of certain animal species to the intelligence of humans at certain ages.
These lists can make for fun reading. But they will never be anything but flawed.
They are flawed because the definition of "intelligence" used to create them is filtered through our human concepts of what intelligence is, how it looks and acts and how we recognize it.
This brings me to the second model of animal intelligence. I call this the intuitive model.
The intuitive model of animal intelligence simply disregards the outer costume that surrounds the being wearing it. What do I mean by this? Let me tell you a story.
When I was in my late 20's, I spent several months living in central India.
I lived in a very remote village in rural Maharashtra. The whole village relied on a single deep well to get their water. Families lived in simple huts and made their living farming and tending livestock.
When I would walk from my accommodations into the tiny town center, at any given time I might find myself walking alongside other humans, cows, dogs, chickens, roosters, even monkeys.
After some time, we all started to blur together. And I stopped seeing humans, cows, dogs, chickens, roosters or monkeys. I just saw beings, all walking along the path together.
This is what I mean by "disregard the outer costume that surrounds the being wearing it." At some level, at some point, it no longer matters what names we use to describe one another. Sentience is sentience. Consciousness is consciousness. Intelligence is intelligence.
Now, my India adventure happened many years before I made the choice to become a professional animal communicator. But looking back now, I can see this was the beginning of my soul's awakening in this direction.
The intuitive model of animal intelligence suggests that we are more alike than different regardless of species. In fact, this model suggests we are so much alike that all concepts of hierarchy between us, all ideas of better than or smarter than or more important than or more useful than or more worth saving than must dissolve.
Inside, we are all equal.
Ultimately, our intelligence is equal, if different. Using the intuitive model of animal intelligence, this difference in manifestation evokes curiosity, wonder and a desire to learn from each other rather than an automatic inclination to rank, elevate some and subjugate others.
Here is an example.
Elephants can use spatial memory and scent to locate water....even when it is very (VERY) far away and even when it is impossible to see until they are nearly upon it.
I cannot find the local post office in the neighborhood where I have lived for several years now unless I switch on the GPS on my smart phone.
So I ask you - in this situation, which of us is more intelligent? Said another way, if you are thirsty and your choices for who will lead you to water are me or the elephant, who would you be more inclined to trust....and follow?
And does it even make sense to ask a question like this, when elephants literally cannot survive without their type of smarts and I live a life where such abilities are essentially unnecessary?
At this point in my animal communication adventure, I have had the privilege of studying with several of the finest animal communicators in the world today. I have found that each teacher uses a slightly different method of instruction to impart what are essentially the very same principles of animal communication.
And I have learned some incredibly valuable tools from each of my teachers and mentors. I wouldn't value one tool above another. Instead, I find that each has value for different uses and purposes. My own intuition tells me what tools to use when and with whom.
Each of my teachers is a master at what they do. Each has their own sphere of influence and established client base. Each has helped hundreds or perhaps thousands of people and pets to communicate more clearly and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives.
What I am getting at is this: all systems that rely on ranking or scoring unfairly and inaccurately chip away at the fullness of each individual, regardless of age, gender or species. Today, I believe we are living in an enlightened era where ranking is no longer relevant and is certainly not required!
We are living in a time when we actually have the opportunity to look beyond that outdated model to discover the unique intelligence within each being.
My cockatiel, Pearl, is extremely intelligent. So is my redfooted tortoise, Malti. So is our family's wire-haired dachshund, Flash Gordon. Yet how Pearl, Malti and Flash each use and express their intelligence can look quite different from moment to moment and day to day.
These differences do not diminish each being's intelligence one bit. Quite the opposite!
And with that, I will let you in on a well-kept secret in the animal communication field.
Animal communication has only one true prerequisite. Before we can talk to animals, we first must believe and experience with every fiber of our being that the other party to the conversation is our equal in every way - different, yes, but also equal. This is what clears away mental doubt and opens the channel for clear interspecies communication.
The intuitive model of animal intelligence also frees us, the humans, from the burden of believing ourselves to be the superior beings to all the other species we share this planet with.
When we are freed from that intensely limiting and restrictive (and frankly painful) belief, we get to play again. Why? Because we get our humility back. With our humility once again intact and functioning as it should, we are invited to re-enter the classroom of life with joy and a newfound sense of adventure and excitement for what might be possible. What wonders might we encounter today? What new friends might we make along thew ay?
We also get to ask for help again. We get to be imperfect and vulnerable again. We are no longer forced, obligated, to walk around with the weight of the running world and managing all the burdens of others piled up high on our shoulders. Rather, we recognize that each being around us has the same share of responsibility and self-efficacy to create a world where there is enough for all. Equality and opportunity - and most of all respect - for all of us and each of us.
Every conversation I facilitate between a pet and their person teaches me something new. Every animal I communicate with has something to share that humbles and energizes me. No longer am I restricted to finding friends within my own species. Some of my wisest teachers and mentors are birds, tortoises, cats, dogs, horses, sheep, snails, ladybugs.
Would you like to hear what your smart pet wants you to know about their intelligence and their experience of life? I can help!
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