How smart is your dog? – Barkers & Mittens Pet Boutique


How smart is your dog?

How smart is your dog?

We know that every dog is super intelligent (just think of all the times they’ve managed to get hold of the treats, regardless of where you hid them), but just how clever is your pooch? Of course, you’ll still love your pup, even if they’re as daft as a box full of frogs, but giving them a quick IQ test can help you determine how trainable they are.

A few words of caution before we get started: just like in humans, there are multiple types of canine intelligence. This particular set of tests can give you a little insight into how well your dog handles reasoning and problem solving, but it doesn’t factor in anything else. It’s also worth remembering that obedience isn’t always a sign of intelligence and not listening isn’t always a symptom of a lack of understanding.

The two major types of intelligence in canines are referred to as “instinctive” and “adoptive”. Instinctive intelligence is a breed’s natural ability to perform certain tasks- a collie herding things, a terrier chasing small animals, a setter pointing etc. Adoptive intelligence is how well your dog can learn new tasks.

You know your dog better than anyone- if you think they’re a genius, they probably are.

This series of 6 tests has been designed to give you a way to work out roughly how clever your dog is in terms of problem solving and retaining information- it’s also quite fun!

There’s a scoring system at the end- simply add up your pooch’s score and let us know how they got on in the comments.

Task 1

This one is designed to test your dog’s problem solving skills.

Take a big towel and pop it over your dog’s head. There we go- a problem to solve! Just how do you manage to get an unexpected towel off your head?

Time them on how long it takes them to get out from underneath it. If it takes less than 15 seconds, award them 3 points, 15-30 seconds nets them a score of 2 and any longer gives them 1 point.

Task 2

Now let’s see how well your pup can retain information.

Take 3 buckets or cups and turn them upside down. Let your dog see you put a tasty treat under one of them and then distract them for a while- a quick game of tug of war or a belly rubbing session will do the trick. Now let them try and find the treat.

If he goes straight to the cup with the snack in it, that’s worth 3 points. If he checks one empty cup before he finds it that’s a score of 2 and if he checks both the empty ones first, he nets 1 point.

Task 3

This task is designed to give you a little insight into your dog’s ability to reason.

Send your dog out of their favourite room to chill out in for a short while and move the furniture around a bit then let him back in.

If he goes straight to his favourite lounging spot, he earns 3 points. If he has a little bit of a poke around before settling into his place, he gets 2. If he gives up and finds a new place, he gets 1.

Task 4

Time for a little bit more problem solving.

Find a bit of furniture that’s low enough to the ground that only your dog’s paw can fit under it and let him see you place a treat under it (but within reach).

He gets 3 points (and the treat!) if he manages to fish it out with his paws, 2 if he uses his snout and paws. If he gives up, he only gets one point. 

Task 5

Now we’ll test how well your dog makes and retains associations.

At a time of day that you’d never normally take them on a walk, let them see you pick up their lead.

If they immediately get excited about a surprise walk, they bag 3 points, if you need to head for the door before they get the hint they get 2 and if they still haven’t worked out that they’re getting an extra walk today, they get one point.

Task 6

This one is a bit more involved than the others, but it can help give a real insight into your dog’s ability to use reason to solve problems.

Get a big bit of cardboard- too big for your dog to see over if they jump up on their hind legs- and use it to build a barrier, held up by taping it to something your dog can walk around. Cut a thin window from almost the top to almost the bottom and let your dog see through the slit as you drop a treat behind the barrier.

If they take less than 30 seconds to work out that they’ll need to go around to get the yummies, they get 3 points. If it takes them a bit longer, they get 2. If they simply charge the window and try to break through, they get 1.

The Scores

Add up your dog’s total scores and let’s see how they did.

15+: Doggy genius

13-14: Sharp as a tack

9-13: Not bad at all

6-8: Not the brightest spark, but we love them anyway. You don’t need to be smart to give great hugs!

Of course, just like with people, you can help your dog do brain training exercises (which are a great way to tire them out too) and we’ll cover those in a future blog.

So, how did your furry friend score? Let us know in the comments.

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