Labrador Retrievers are known for their hunting
skills and friendly dispositions, but Beau, a black Lab who lives in Montana, is winningacclaim
for his math abilities.
Owner David Madsen says if he tells Beau there are six dogs at the park and three dogs leave, and then asks him how many are left, the dog replies: "Woof, woof, woof."
"He counts, he adds and subtracts, he can do some division and has memorized square roots," Madsen said.
Beau has achieved a degree of celebrity
for his counting skills, becoming a star on visits to shops, restaurants and cabins in the Flathead Lake resort
in Montana where the Madsen family spends summers.
Madsen, a retiree of AT&T, adopted the puppy a dozen years ago and began teaching him math basics when he showed signs of being intelligent.
He taught Beau to count using dog biscuits, laying out a handful
and rewarding the dog when the number of his barks corresponded to the number of treats.
"He caught on that rewards were associated with the correct number of barks. I've had dogs all my life, but this dog is different. He's super smart, and the accuracy
rate is about 85 percent of the time," Madsen said.
As a puppy, Beau invented games and crafted intricate
strategies to avoid capture, he said.
Brandon Bretz, manager
of Bretz RV and Marine in Missoula, Montana, said he recently watched Beau in action.
"A group of us were standing
there and Dave asked Beau, 'how many girls are here?' There were two and Beau barked twice, next, Dave asked, 'how many boys?' Beau barked five times even though there were only four guys." Bretz said.
"Then it dawned on us. Beau is a boy, and he was counting himself. That dog is on the up and up," he said.
Bretz has booked Beau as guest speaker
for his company's annualcustomerappreciation