WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) — Dogs can do some amazing things, but are they even smarter than we give them credit for being?

Take Elvis, a Welsh Corgi. His owner — a math professor at Winona State University — says Elvis can solve calculus problems.

A standard calculus problem is to find the quickest path from a point on shore to a point in the lake.

Dr. Timothy Pennings says Elvis does exactly that when playing fetch.

“When I did all the math calculations to figure out exactly where should he jump into the water in order to get there in the shortest time, it turns out he jumps into the water within about a foot of the optimal point each time,” he said.

Pennings isn’t the only one who believes this theory. Several other scientists have written about this phenomenon.

Comments (29)
  1. sue says:

    So the dog just looks for the shortest point and jumps in? You don’t need calculus to figure how to swim the shortest distance to get a stick. Or maybe i’m missing something??

    1. the old nurse says:

      You are, Welsh Corgis are smart dogs

  2. David J. Conklin says:

    My lady friend had a little dog, part Chihuahua, part Daschund. who’s brain was the size of two walnuts. The little stinker had to be in front of us on our walk. And then when she’s seen something that is bigger than her, or more of them, she’d stand stock till, look back to see how far away we were and how fast we were moving and use that info to figure out when to bark and turn and run back towards us!

  3. Carol says:

    Corgis ROCK! I’ve had two of them, they also invent their own games.

  4. Joyati Debnath says:

    To David J Conkin: Did you do some math calculation and find out what the dog is doing?
    To Sue: The dog is not looking for a shortest point, it’s motivation is to get to the ball as fast as it can using the least amount of energy. All living creature do this instinctively but only math people can take a notice of that and here Dr. Pennings made all the calculations to see if the dog is doing what mathematics says to do for optimal use of energy. Yes, it doesn’t have to be calculus because you do not need to take derivative to find the optimal point but you definitely need precalculus and a graphing calculator to find the minimum value of the energy function.

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      Eric, Nope. I’m not a math professor.

      Your remarks to Sue were right on the money!

  5. Joyati Debnath says:

    Also, Dr. Peninings was visiting Winona State University. He is a friend of mine from Iowa State University graduate school. He is currently a professor of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

  6. Einer says:

    Dr. Timothy Pennings is an idiot.

    The dog is not doing calculus.

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      You are the idiot. Dr. Pennings did the calculus and found that “he jumps into the water within about a foot of the optimal point each time.”

      Do learn to read before critiquing.

      1. Einer says:

        I did read it. Here is a excerpt from the title:

        “Dog Uses Calculus”

        What does that imply? To me it implies you don’t like stupid people being called stupid. That’s too bad.

        PS: Take a remedial reading course. It will dramatically improve your life.

        1. David J. Conklin says:

          Try getting past the headline and read the actual body of text.

          Been to grad school, published author in a scholarly, refereed journal (Plagiary, 2008). The editor said the reviewers like the “high quality and cogent tone.”

  7. Richard Cheese says:

    I’d be willing to bet one of these math professors are getting a bunch of government money to do a study on this. What a joke….

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      Yet another intellectual Luddite.

  8. GrandmaJ says:

    Gee, My 11 yr old German Shorthair must be a wizard in general then. But she can only understand counting 1to 5 or 5 to 1–English or Korean. She opens house doors, shuts, them opens the oven and all the drawers in the house-snooping. Cupboard doors have child latches. Opens zipper on my gym bag and purse and empties. Jumps rope with the kids. Plays basketball and gets shot up near the basket (of course not IN!) Catches a football when tossed it. Grabs the grandchild around the waist and sets them down when told STOP THE BABY. No matter the age, you point and she grabs the kid. Neighbor kid was runnnig for the street and she grabbed her before getting to the curb.
    I just thought this was a dog being a GOOD FAMILY PET. Her conversation has words which we have learned through her life–often my husband says WHAT DID SHE SAY?? (I can understand toddler talk as well). She loves the chair by the TV, or wants to be on your lap (HA 65 lbs) at the computer.
    You tell her it is time for her shower, she gives you the growl but heads to the shower, hard to get her out when pulsating water is on—
    You ask her where such and such is–she took–and she brings it to you. Takes the bread out of the drawer and lifts the cushion on the couch, tucks it in, and partially lowers the cushion to “HIDE” it. Yet she digs no holes in the yard or buries things outside. Loves to be in the middle of Barbie dolls or trucks or a game of tickle. The more the kids laugh the more she armpits them. OH, and she would figure out the shallowest route to get the toy as well–or bark to tell you to get it for her. She barks for your attention, takes you to the kitchen sink when she wants a drink. Not her empty bowl, but the sink. Like the kids. And stops at the door to wipe her feet when coming in.

    Started as a family pet at 6 weeks, now she is one of the kids.

  9. Niie says:

    What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you are now not uatcally a lot more smartly-favored than you might be right now. You are very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably when it comes to this matter, made me for my part consider it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t interested unless it is something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times take care of it up!

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