Dave the Math Dog Goes Back to School

The talented Golden Retriever can add, subtract, divide, and motivate students.

Posted: September 11, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Dave the Math Dog, the Golden Retriever who can add, subtract, divide, and even solve basic square roots, visited a Terre Haute, Ind., middle school this week to get students excited about math.

“We just like to keep [students] motivated in math, because math is a very important subject,” said Dave’s owner Frank Ferris, in an interview with WYHI-TV. “If you miscalculate in math, you either don’t have something straight or you’re in the wrong place,” Ferris joked.

Dave the Math Dog, who turns 10 years old in March, has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and also understands sign language.

“I thought he was really smart,” said Chauncey Rose Middle School sixth-grader Hailey Reynolds. “I could never do anything that complex.”

Dave the Math Dog will appear next at a school in Tuscola, Ill. To learn more about Dave, visit his website.


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Sean   Simi Valley, CA

7/1/2009 12:52:26 PM

Here's how you test
it:
1) Write a number (like 2) onto a small white-board out of sight of the owner/handler and put it
face-down.
2) The number writer must leave the area so as not to cue the
dog.
3) Have the owner/handler show the number to Dave without looking at
it.
4) See if Dave can count to that number and
stop.

One guess as to what will happen.

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Herb   Hyde Park, NY

1/31/2009 8:51:49 AM

We need to stop and take a deep breath, folks. Dogs just aren’t that smart. Mr. Ferris has, from what I’ve seen on the net, behaved well by not exploiting the dog for commercial gain. But think it over – it is a dog, not a math
student!

I’ve found nothing on the web specifically to dispute the behavior of the genius dog but here are some
thoughts.

The dog has demonstrated his ability to tell time without a clock. This indicates that the dog is not acting on visual clues. Dogs’ poor vision would confirm that the dog is not acting to subtle visual clues and certainly not to written
instructions!

It is also known that dogs respond to human emotions and, considering the long period of time that the two species have been together, this is quite
understandable.

And now we have dogs that can detect when its owner is about to have a seizure. These dogs are smelling something that occurs just before the
event.

All this leads me to the hypothesis that Dave the Math Dog, and some other dogs as well, may be responding to some combination of human scent and human emotion. When Mr. Ferris becomes aware that the dog is about to have touched his hand the correct number of times could it be that he produces some scent that our super sniffing canine friends can detect? If so, isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that is what triggers the dog to stop paw touching than the conclusion that the dog has done the math?

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Celena   Dallas, NC

9/12/2008 10:11:32 AM

Wow. That is amazing.

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Katie   Suwanee, GA

9/11/2008 4:23:07 PM

Wow, who'd a thunk it?

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