How Smart is Your Dog? There’s a Test for That!

Novelist, poet, and sheep herder Donald McCaig once said, “Every human child must learn the universe fresh. Every stock dog pup carries the universe within him. Humans have externalized their wisdom-stored in museums, libraries, the expertise of the learned. Dog wisdom is inside the blood and bones.” This brings up the question of just how smart is your dog? Is there such a thing as canine IQ or intelligence quotient testing in our dogs?

Owners and advocates of their “special” breed of dog may claim that this breed or that breed is the smartest. Author, psychologist, and prize-winning trainer Stanley Coren has addressed these questions in his book, “The Intelligence of Dogs.”  His ideas may be controversial and many of you may agree or disagree on the rankings listed about breed IQs. Of course we all know exceptions to every common belief, intelligence or otherwise, and there is unquestionable truth in many of these exceptions.

While genetics and personality plays a role in your dog being a genius or maybe remedial, environment also contributes to your dog’s intelligence. Wouldn’t it be nice when purchasing that new puppy to be able to do some simple tests to see if this new furry friend will have the personality you are looking for?

Coren’s book offers several simple tests you can do before acquisition to help determine such personality traits as: social attraction and  dominance characteristics including restraint, forgiveness, and loss of control. There is a way to test that young puppy regarding willingness to work (retrieving). Other tests include reaction to touch and sound or novel stimuli, along with response to food as incentives. The tests are simple and may give you some insight as to the type of personality a puppy might have and if this will fit into what our desires for a dog would include. Wouldn’t this be a great tool, rather than just, “Aw, he is the cutest puppy I have ever seen (like any puppy is not cute)” to determine if you want to take this furry ball of energy home with you or not?

For those of you who want to prove your dog is a genius you can administer the CIQ (canine IQ) testing. These tests are simple and fun for both you and your dog. Dogs won’t even know they are taking a test so they will not feel the anxiety like we all have experienced on test day. They typically will think you are simply playing with them. Can your dog learn easily or how good are they at problem solving? How about long-term or short-term memory in your canine companion?

According to Coren’s book, some of the most intelligent breeds include: Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Shelties, and Labrador Retrievers. This list is not all inclusive and, in fact, his book lists 79 breeds and their rankings. I won’t disclose the breed listed last so no embarrassment to this hound dog.

If you have wondered just how smart my dog is, you may want to run some tests to prove he or she is the most intelligent canine on this planet and, can have bragging rights to say, “my dog is smarter than your dog!”

Regardless, dogs still are “man’s best friend,” smart or not so smart. American author and columnist Dave Barry once said, “You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, ‘My God, you’re right! I never would of thought of that.'”  So who is really smarter, your dog or you?

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