Thursday, October 12, 2006

How Smart Is Your Dog?

In Stanley Coren's "Intelligence of Dogs" he proposes a series of tests to measure your dog's intelligence. There are some folks out there that get a little steamed about the real-world applicability of these tests, but you have to suspect that their dogs didn't do so well. To me, it looks like they'd be fun for most dogs and owners.

This is a quick summary of the tests listed in the book:

  • Act like you are taking the dog for a walk (get the leash, keys, coat) without walking towards the door. Does the dog race to you or the door in clear anticipation of the walk?
  • Let the dog see you put a treat under an empty can. Does the dog knock over the can to get to the treat?
  • Rearrange five pieces of furniture in a room when the dog is out of the house. Does the dog notice the difference and start investigating?
  • Put a towel over the dog's head. Does the dog free himself within fifteen seconds?
  • Stare intently at your dog for a few seconds, then smile broadly. Does the dog come to you or start wagging his tail?
  • Let the dog see you put a hand towel over a treat. Does he retrieve the treat within fifteen seconds?
  • Let the dog see you put a treat in the corner of a room, then lead him out of the room for a couple of seconds. When you let him back in does he go straight to the treat?
  • The same as the previous test, only take the dog from the room for five minutes.
  • Set up or use a table too low for the dog to get his head under, and place a treat underneath. Can he figure out how to use his paws to get to the treat?
  • Call to the dog with a nonsense word twice, then call to him with his name. Does he wait until his name is called to come?

There are a couple of more tests that are hard to summarize in brief. The links here and here describe subsets of Coren's tests in more detail, including scoring.

In hopes of getting a leg up on the actual IQ tests, we tried an experiment with Pappy (I don't see anything wrong with getting a little advance practice, after all they have SAT prep classes). With him watching carefully, we dropped a small hand towel over a beloved tennis ball. He then started looking around everywhere in amazement as if he had witnessed an extraordinary disappearing act, completely oblivious to the big lump under the towel. I then recalled that, after a bath, he'll just stand there with the towel draped over his head and his tail wagging-- doesn't look like he'd do too well on that test either. I'm thinking he may not be one of the "high-flyers" on this doggy IQ test, but he's popular at the dog park and he sure is good looking.


    Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

    Hey Pappy,

    Welcome to - it's great to have you aboard and I am sure that you will make lots of friends here :-)


    Pappy's Fella said...

    Thanks Opy.

    Toby said...

    Hi Pappy!~

    Just wanted to say hi~ Oh, mommy thinks ur super cute!~


    Pappy's Fella said...

    Toby, my man!

    You never told me you were a superstar dog-of-the-week on Wikifido. Cool. And I love your rant on Dogster, though I don't have any experience with them. Couldn't leave you a comment on your site for some reason.


    Minou and Birdie's Mommy said...

    heh heh - we like the IQ test. Unfortunately we are too lazy to actually test Minou. Anything involving a treat she would pass with flying colors - apparently we never feed her.