Montana dog becomes local celebrity for his math skills

Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:09pm EDT
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By Laura Zuckerman

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Labrador Retrievers are known for their hunting skills and friendly dispositions, but Beau, a black Lab who lives in Montana, is winning acclaim 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."

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.

"He counts, he adds and subtracts, he can do some division and has memorized square roots," Madsen said.

Although a dog with math skills better than plenty of humans seems incredible, the local fire chief says he vouches for the dog's talents.

"Dave will say, 'What's two and three?' Then the dog will go, 'Bark, bark ... bark, bark, bark,'" said Chris Ricciardi, chief of the Finley Point-Yellow Bay, Montana Fire Department.

He said the dog performs impromptu demonstrations at his family's restaurant, Ricciardi's, near Flathead Lake.

"This dog is amazing," the fire chief said.   Continued...