Categories: Family - Reunions, Caring for Family, In-Laws...

How Smart Is Your Dog?

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but have you ever tested your dog to find out his or her IQ? Just because your dog knows how to sit, beg, or roll over doesn’t make your pooch the smartest pup on the block. Flipping treats off the nose is child’s play… just wait till you put your dog to the true test!

Dog intelligence can be broken down into problem-solving skills, learning, and thinking, as well as the ability and eagerness to learn and obey commands. Another way to determine a dog’s intelligence may involve teaching the pet a variety of spoken commands, such as sit, speak, beg, lie down, roll over, and shake.

“Studies have shown that some breeds tend to score better on dog IQ tests than others,” says Pooch IQ co-creator Stacy Stubblefield on the company Web site. “However, this may or may not be due to a higher overall intelligence for these breeds. In the past, each breed was bred to exhibit certain characteristics, such as hunting or herding abilities.

“Because of this, some breeds tend to be better at listening, paying attention, and learning new things. These breeds may score higher on an IQ test simply because they are more alert and attentive. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean they are more intelligent than other dogs. When we designed our IQ kit, we made every attempt to standardize the test so that all dog breeds start on a level playing field.”

Web sites and resources tend to agree on a list of dog breeds that really make the charts for intelligence. Border collies are often recognized as top dog for their supreme intelligence and their desire to have a job and please their owners. Other dogs rating in the top ten for smarts include poodles, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Doberman pinschers, Shetland sheepdogs, Labrador retrievers, Papillons, Rottweilers, and Australian cattle dogs.

Just because these breeds are recognized as the smartest 10 dog breeds in the world doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll always be on top of their game for the IQ test. Your dog may be a beagle or basset hound or another breed, and he or she may perform well despite not making the top ten list for intelligence.

Stubblefield adds that a pooch’s poor performance on the IQ test doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is lacking in smarts. She suggests that the dog may be having a rough day or may not be hungry enough to desire treats and snacks.

“No matter what, a low score on the IQ test isn’t an indicator of the quality of your dog. As long as you have a pooch that makes you happy, his/her intelligence shouldn’t really matter.”

The Pooch IQ kit is designed to challenge dogs and to test their attention and their thought processes. Some of the skills that the Pooch IQ test tracks are the dog’s abilities in problem-solving, recognizing similarities, learning from experience, short-term memory skills, persistence, and recognizing patterns.

Dogs get to play with toys and enjoy treats, which offers a helpful element of positive reinforcement to the test. According to many psychology based studies, positive reinforcement shows strong correlation to effective learning and development.

You can give your dog the Pooch IQ test or you can work with your dog on vocabulary and commands to enhance listening and understanding. In addition to your dog’s natural intelligence, you can work with him or her to improve various skills.

The Pooch IQ Kit retails for $49.99. The set includes toys, puzzles, props, and a book containing 15 fun exercises for dogs and their owners to determine the Pooch IQ Score. For more information, visit Pooch IQ on the Web at www.poochiq.com.

Kathryn D'Imperio: