We are spotlighting pet talents this month here on the blog, with all the pets so far looking very smart. So I thought it might be fun for a couple of weeks to give our dogs some abbreviated intelligence tests. Tests One and Two will be this week, Tests Three and Four will be next week, and Tests Five and Six will be the final week. I hope you and your dog have fun with this!
The first test is a measure of observational learning as it applies to an everyday association that the dog should have learned simply through living in its current home. This test provides an easy starting point for testing your dog’s adaptive intelligence.
Select a time of day when you do NOT typically walk your dog. Make sure your dog is awake and in the same general area that you are. When the dog looks at you, silently pick up your coat and keys and the dog’s leash (if you usually use one) and then stop where you are, without moving toward the door. If the dog runs to the door or comes directly to you indicating some excitement or interest, score 5; If not, move directly to the door and then stop. If the dog comes to you in anticipation of a walk or going out, score 4. If not, place your hand on the doorknob, and turn it back and forth to make a noise. If the dog comes to you, score 3. If the dog pays some attention during the preceding activities but does not come to you or the door, score 2. If the dog pays no attention, score 1.
This is a test of problem solving. You need an empty can (about the size of a typical condensed soup can), some desirable tidbit of food, and a stopwatch (or a watch with a second hand). First, show the dog the bit of food and let him sniff it. Next, with a great show, put the tidbit on the ground and invert the empty can over it. Then start the stopwatch and encourage the dog to get the bait. If the dog knocks the can out of the way and gets the tidbit in five seconds or less, score 5. If in five to fifteen seconds, score 4; in fifteen to thirty seconds, score 3; in thirty to sixty seconds, score 2. If the dog tries once or twice, sniffing around the can, but does not get the bait after a minute, score 1. If the dog makes no effort to obtain the bait, score 0.
So how well did your dog do?