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Pets 101

What’s Your Dog’s I.Q.?

May 15, 2012 by Laura Drucker in Behavior, Featured, Home with 1 Comment

We all like to think our puppy’s the smartest, but did you know that you can actually test your dog’s I.Q.?

Like any I.Q. test, the one for dogs is not entirely conclusive—some dogs excel in certain areas and stumble a bit in others. Nor does a high I.Q. mean your puppy is off to MENSA, or that you should feel any differently towards him if he tests low. I.Q. testing for dogs is simply one of many ways to learn more about your pup and his abilities.

The best time to test your dog’s I.Q. is around the 1-year-old mark. By this time, cognitive development should be complete. Remember that as far as analysis of the results goes, it’s more telling to compare within your dog’s own breed—different breeds have different strengths and weaknesses that should be accounted for.

Also keep in mind that factors other than intelligence—such as confidence, previous experience, stubbornness, and activity level—can play in to how your puppy does. Under-stimulated puppies will not perform as well.

So, ready to try it out?

In The Intelligence of Dogs, professor of psychology (albeit human) Stanley Coren lays out an multi-part test (the number in the parentheses is the amount of points awarded):

1. Problem Solving

Place a treat under an empty soup can.

Scoring:

(5) Dog gets treat in 0-5 seconds

(4) Dog gets treat in 6-15 seconds

(3) Dog gets treat in 16-30 seconds

(2) Dog gets treat in 31-60 seconds

(1) Dog tries to get treat and fails

(0) Dog shows no interest

 

2. Problem Solving

Quickly throw a large towel over your dog’s head and shoulders.

Scoring:

(5) Dog gets free in 0-15 seconds

(4) Dog gets free in 16-30 seconds

(3) Dog gets free in 31-60 seconds

(2) Dog gets free in 1-2 minutes

(1) Dog doesn’t get free within 2 minutes

 

3. Problem Solving

Place a treat under a small towel.

Scoring:

(5) Dog gets treat in 0-15 seconds

(4) Dog gets treat in 16-30 seconds

(3) Dog gets treat in 31-60 seconds

(2) Dog gets treat in 1-2 minutes

(1) Dog tries to get treat and fails

(0) Dog shows no interest

 

4. Short-Term Memory

Let your dog see you place a treat in the corner of the room, then turn him loose.

Scoring:

(5) Dog goes straight to the treat

(4) Dog searches systematically and finds the treat

(3) Dog searches randomly but finds treat in under 45 seconds

(2) Dog searches but fails to find treat

(1) Dog shows no interest

 

5. Long-Term Memory

Let your dog see you place a treat in the corner of the room (a different corner than the one you used in test 4), remove him from the room for 5 minutes, play with him, return, and then turn him loose.

Scoring:

(5) Dog goes straight to treat

(4) Dog goes to the corner from test 4, then the correct corner

(3) Dog searches systematically and finds treat

(2) Dog searches randomly but finds treat in under 45 seconds

(1) Dog searches but fails to find treat

(0) Dog shows no interest

 

6. Problem Solving and Manipulation

Place treat under a low platform, make sure your dog can still reach the treat with his mouth.

Scoring:

(5) Dog gets treat in under 1 minute

(4) Dog gets treat in 1-3 minutes

(3) Dog uses paws and muzzle but fails to get treat

(2) Dog uses muzzle only a few times and gives up

(1) Dog doesn’t try to get treat

 

7. Problem Solving

Show your dog a treat through a slit in a large cardboard barricade (he should not be able to get the treat through the slit). Encourage him to get the treat.

Scoring:

(5) Dog goes around barrier in 0-15 seconds

(4) Dog goes around barrier in 16-30 seconds

(3) Dog goes around barrier in 31-60 seconds

[Stop encouraging him after 1 minute]

(2) Dog goes around barrier in 1-2 minutes

(1) Dog tries to reach through slit and gives up

(0) Dog shows no interest

 

At the end, total how many points your dog got. Coren suggests interpreting the results as follows:

30-35: Genius

26-29: Highly Intelligent

22-25: Above Average Intelligence

16-21: Average Intelligence

12-15: Slightly Below Average Intelligence

8-11: Borderline

0-7: Deficient

No matter where your dog ends up scoring, don’t take the test too seriously! I.Q. tests—human or canine—are naturally flawed for their inability to encapsulate all the unique characteristics of the test-taker. If you decide to try it out, just have fun with it; I’m sure your dog will enjoy the extra treats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. kay nineFebruary 15, 2013 at 1:55 pmReply

    my dog read the article, circled the answers and tallied the numbers for the final score. my dog is very smart, yet the sum does not show this. this test may not be the proper IQ test for a dog to take.

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