Dog TrainingDogs and Education

Simple Ways to Test Dog Intelligence

As well as being ‘man’s best friend’, dogs with excellent dog intelligence are capable of performing some pretty amazing feats. We’ve all heard stories about our canine companions alerting their masters to fires. Or, protecting their owner from an attacker or intruder. And then there are those who are visually impaired who rely on ‘seeing eye dogs’ in order to go about their daily lives. A dog’s intelligence is measured by its ability to think and problem solve.

dog intelligence
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Certain breeds such as Collies and Retrievers are naturally more adept at this. But, given the right training and encouragement, any dog with various levels of dog intelligence can be taught ‘new tricks’ and learn to improve their logic.

So, if you want to test whether your dog might be the Albert Einstein of the canine world or an average dog with average dog intelligence,  just follow our simple techniques below.

Hide and Seek

This is a nice simple one to start off with. You’ll need an empty food can, an assistant and one of your dog’s favorite treats. Start by getting your dog’s attention and making sure that their focus is on you. Allow them to sniff at the treat in your hand and then tell them to ‘sit’ while you hide the treat under the can a couple of meters away from where your dog is sat.

If your dog has trouble following the ‘sit’ command, this is where your assistant comes in. They can place one finger under their collar to keep them in place. When you’re ready, let the dog go and time how long it takes them to work out how to get the treat. The quicker the time, the more intelligent your pet is. This is a good training exercise in itself, because a well-trained dog leads to a happier, more secure and better-behaved pet.

Face Recognition

This is an interesting technique on one aspect of dog intelligence and is a great way of strengthening the bond between an owner and his dog. This is especially useful if your dog or dogs are new additions to the household and are still in the early learning phases.

Pick a time of day where your dog is relaxed, responsive and free from distractions. Sit face to face with your dog, about a meter or two apart. Make sure that your dog’s focus is entirely on you. Take a few deep breaths while staring straight into your dog’s eyes. After a few seconds smile broadly for a few moments. If your dog comes bounding towards you with their tail wagging, then this means they understand what your expression means and is responding to it.

Internal Clock

Although not strictly a test, there is another highly effective way of gauging dog intelligence. Every dog should have an ‘internal clock’ of sorts. The more intelligent the dog, the more accurate this ‘clock’ is.

Does your dog wait by the front door when it’s time for ‘walkies’? Do they sit at the window ready for when your partner gets back from work? If the answer is ‘yes’ this would suggest that they have a good understanding of time.


So, how does your dog score on dog intelligence? Are they a ‘Lassie’ or more of a ‘Scooby Doo’? We’d love to hear some of your stories!


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