Different breeds of dogs are known for specific qualities. For example, some dogs are known for their fierce loyalty and devotion, others are known for their playful natures, and many are known for their keen sense of intelligence. Of course, every dog is different, and if your dog’s breed isn't known for being intelligent, that doesn't mean your pup isn't a smarty pants. But how do you gauge how smart your dog is?
Humans measure their intelligence level with an IQ test, so it makes sense that dogs have a test that is just for them. There are several different things you can do with your pup to see how quick-witted your pooch is.
The Dog I.Q. Test
If you're curious to discover your dog's intelligence level, it's time to put him to the test. Try out these four quick assessments with your pup and see how he fares. Make a note of how well (and how quickly) your pup responds to each trial, and you will have a better idea of your pup’s mental prowess. You will need a towel, some treats, plastic cups, and a stopwatch or timer for some of these tests.
The Towel Test
For this test, all you need is a towel that will completely cover your pup. Let your dog smell the towel so he is used to it. Then, in one motion, toss the towel over your pooch.
Now, here’s where the test comes in -- you need to see how long it takes your pup to get from under the towel.
If your pup escapes within 30 seconds, award him 3 points. If it takes him between 31 seconds and 2 minutes, then he gets 2 points. Once 2 minutes have passed, if your pup has tried but can’t get from under the towel, take the towel off for him. He gets 1 point for effort.
What if your pup doesn’t try at all? Well, he gets 0 points, but he could also just be having a real lazy moment and not care. Luckily, there are other tests to try out before you make your final determination about your pup’s I.Q.
The Treat Test
Keep the towel for this next test and grab one of your dog’s favorite treats. Let your pup see the treat and place it under the towel as he watches you. Now, see how long it takes your pup to recover the treat.
If your dog snatches the treat easily within 30 seconds, he gets 3 points! If it takes him between 31 seconds and 1 minute, he gets 2 points. Once again, if he tries but fails, he gets 1 point for effort, and not trying at all lands him 0 points.
The Treat Test - Part Two
Now, you need to get three opaque cups and one treat. It’s best to use a treat that does not have a strong scent for this test. Let your pup watch you put a treat under one of the cups, then take your dog out of the room.
Wait for about 30 seconds and then return to the room with your pup and have him retrieve the treat. This is a memory test for your dog. You want to see if he remembers which cup you put the treat beneath, and then if he can get the treat quickly.
If your pup goes to the right cup immediately and gets the treat within 30 seconds, he gets 3 points. If he checks all the cups but gets the treat within one minute, give him 2 points. If he simply knocks all of the cups over and gets the treat, give him one point. If he can’t get the treat, he gets 0 points.
If your dog has a usual sleeping or resting spot, whether it’s his bed, a pillow, or a particular blanket, move it to another location while your pup is not looking. You can also do this with his food or water bowl.
Observe how long it takes your pup to find the new location. If he finds his relocated bed or bowl within one minute, give him three points. If he locates it within two minutes, award him with two points, and if he finds it between two and three minutes, he gets one point. If he gives up or just stays in the usual spot without looking for the moved items, he gets zero points.
How Smart Is Your Dog?
How did your pup do? Add up the points and see where your canine companion lands on the scale.
10-12 -- Your dog is the canine version of Einstein. In fact, sometimes you wonder if he’s the one that’s pulling the strings.
6-10 -- Your pup is one smart pooch. He might have his moments, but overall, he can figure things out for himself and get out of a jam when he needs to.
1-5 -- Well, your dog might not be breaking any records anytime soon in the intelligence department, but he sure is one cute pooch.
0 -- Hey, dog intelligence is way overrated, right? What matters is you love your pooch, and he loves you, and he has your back when you need him.
Tips for Testing Your Pup’s Intelligence
When a person takes a test, there are several factors that can throw off the results. For example, if someone is not feeling well, really tired, or feeling hungry, he probably won’t concentrate as well during test time. The same concept applies to dogs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start testing your pup’s smarts:
- Make sure to conduct the assessment after a walk or some other activity, so your pup is not overly active.
- Find a distraction-free place for the test.
- Ensure that your pup has had a potty break before starting the test.
- Keep the entire process upbeat and positive for both you and your pup.
- Use some of your pup’s favorite treats, so the motivation level is high.
What Are Some of the Smartest Dog Breeds?
Even though every dog is different, several breeds are known for their intelligence. If you own one of these breeds, the odds are very high that your pup will be one clever canine.
Here's a quick list of some of the smartest dog breeds around:
- German Shepherd
- Doberman Pinscher
- Golden Retriever
- Border Collie
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Australian Cattle Dog
Why Should You Test Your Pup’s I.Q.?
It’s a good idea to have a concept of your dog’s intelligence because it can give you insight into what you need to do to keep your dog adequately stimulated. For example, if your pup scores very high in the test, this can signal that he needs more opportunities to exercise his cognitive abilities. You can get him some problem-solving toys like treat puzzles and other interactive toys like the Rolly Cannoli to help hold his interest and keep him engaged.
Knowing your dog’s intelligence level can also give you a heads up on what to expect with training your pooch. This can help you devise the best way to approach your training sessions. If your pup is super smart, you can also research different types of doggy events in your area like agility training, tracking competitions, and other similar activities for your pup to really flex his mental muscles.
For more excellent resources and information about your faithful, furry friends, check out the rest of our blog! At Neater Pets, our goal is to give you access to great products and helpful tips that can give you the tools you need to be a wonderful pet parent!