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How Intelligent is Your Dog

It is entirely normal to look for signs of intelligence in your dog. Even puppies that are not especially smart nonetheless display flashes of brilliance in their behavior.

And it is also very normal to look for the same things in our pets that we look for in our children, like a keen mind, a sense of humor and loyalty. But the trait that we tend to brag about the most is actually our dog's intelligence.

There is not really a single type of canine intelligence. According to Stanley Coren, writer of 'The Intelligence of Dogs', there are several types of dog intelligence that can be measured by canine IQ tests...

The first one is named Adaptive Intelligence. This relates to learning and problem solving capability, the knowledge and skills a dog can acquire. It also pertains to how much time it takes for your dog to learn new a relationship.

As an example, if your dog recognizes people after just one or two visits, this indicates a good adaptive intelligence capability. You might also look at how well your dog comprehends the laws of cause and effect by observation.

The next type is Instinctive Intelligence, which simply deals with behaviors and skills programmed into the animal's genetic code. For example, Sheep dogs and Border Collies are superb herding dogs. This is an innate abilty that these breeds of dogs have and has little to do with training.

The third type is Working/Obedience Intelligence, which involves the ability of an animal to follow commands. This type of intelligence is primarily dependant on the actual breed of the dog. Two examples are the dogs used for guiding the blind and for K9 police work.

Another type is Adaptive Intelligence. At a time of the day that you do not usually walk your dog, pick up your keys and his leash when you know he's watching. If he starts wagging his tail and gets excited, 3 points. If you have to walk to the door before he knows what's going on, two points. If he sits there with a dumbfounded look, give him one point.

Now if your dog lets YOU know it is time to go to the bathroom by bringing you his own leash (without being trained to) or has mastered the toilet, your dog is truly a genius!

One way to test your dog's problem solving ability is to take a sizeable towel (or a blanket will do fine as well) and toss it over your dog's head. If he frees himself from the covering in less than fifteen seconds, give him three points. If it takes fifteen to thirty seconds, two points. If it takes him longer than thirty seconds, give him or her a single point.

To check your dog's memory, Place some sort of treat under one of three buckets that are lined up in a row. And be sure that your dog sees which bucket the treat is under. Turn the dog away for about ten seconds or so and then let him go. If he or she goes straight to the bucket with the treat under it, three points. If it takes two tries to find the treat, two points. If he/she checks the wrong two first before finding the right one, one point.

Now if your dog scores six points or more, you have a canine genious; four to five points is average; three points or less, well?who said that intelligence was a prerequisite for love?

For additional information on dog wellness visit Dog Food and other Resources and learn more.

Ryan Joseph is a writer/researcher in Pet and General health issues. For more detail visit

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