Puppy patience pays off -- study

Forty-one Border Collie dogs participated in the study (iStock)
Forty-one Border Collie dogs participated in the study (iStock)

Who's a good dog? It turns out if you don't mind waiting for the answer, you'll be an even better dog than you were before.

A study published this week in journal PLOS ONE tracked 41 Border Collie dogs over 18 months.

It tested them by allowing the pups to play with particular toys and then giving them problem-solving activities which built on what they had learned from their earlier toys.

The authors found in the problem-solving exercises, the dogs approached each new test as an entirely new task and didn't use any of the knowledge they had developed beforehand.

However, there was a correlation between the pups which had proven themselves to be better at self-control and how successful they were at certain problem-solving tasks.

A pooch's level of self-control was assessed before the problem-solving tasks began, determined by how well they achieved tasks such as waiting for a treat.

The authors suggest further study of the link between self-control and problem-solving performance could help us understand how different individuals deal with physical problem-solving, and the differences between the skills across different species.

The study was restricted to one breed, that of the Border Collie, in order to eliminate any breed differences which could influence the results.