It’s so natural to use the word “smart” to describe dogs that almost everybody does it. However, assessments of intelligence are dependent on context or the task involved, and the term doesn’t always mean the same thing to everyone.

Trainers and behaviorists commonly use other words to describe dogs, terms that are far more useful in understanding them. Here are seven of the most common.

1. Biddable. A dog who is biddable is docile, agreeable and willing to do what you ask. A lot of people want biddable dogs, and are happy to have a dog who wants nothing more than to do what their humans have in mind. Biddable dogs are easy to live with. People without extensive dog-training skills are more likely to successfully train a biddable dog than other types of dogs.

2. Trainable. Dogs who are trainable are often highly engaged with people, curious, eager to try new behaviors and…

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