A lot of good work has been done on the subject of canine intelligence. This is welcome news for consummate dog lovers, following decades of speculation that consistently placed Fido on the top of the heap. However, while testing has revealed the most (and least) intelligent breeds, environmental and social learning analytics are individually specific. If you’ve ever wondered what’s at the root of canine IQ and how to test your own pup’s intelligence, look no further!
The Intelligence of Dogs
Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs, suggests that canine IQ can be measured through:
- Instinctive intelligence – refers to a dog’s inherited abilities such as guarding, herding, or pointing
- Adaptive intelligence – hinges on a dog’s innate skill for solving problems
- Working or obedience intelligence – ability for a dog to learn from people
The “G” Factor
Other studies on canine IQ indicate a general level of intelligence in all dogs, otherwise known as canine “g” factor. Along with other species (such as mice and monkeys), dogs with a high IQ typically have a healthier, longer life.
This begs the question – is it better to own a smart dog? A high canine IQ can be beneficial to your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean good behavior is a given. Super smart pups can actually get bored, making enrichment, socialization, and exercise even more crucial.
A Few Standard Canine IQ Tests
Your dog won’t understand that you are testing them, but that doesn’t mean the experience should be anything less than fun. Reward and praise your dog for participating, and keep testing short and sweet. Always end on a positive note.
- Towel Test – If your dog escapes from a loosely draped towel over the head in less than 15 seconds, he or she should apply for dog Mensa.
- Find It – Place 3 buckets or large cups next to each other. Show your dog a treat and allow him or her to watch as you place a treat under one of the containers. Divert your pup’s attention, and see if he or she can remember where to find the treat.
- Gotcha! See if you can excite your dog by picking up the leash at an unexpected time. Immediate attention gets a high score on the canine IQ scale.
Determining canine IQ can be fun, but in the end, we don’t love dogs simply because they’re smart. We love them because they’re fun, devoted companions. At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we think that’s just brilliant!