PHOENIX — Have you ever looked at your furry friend and wondered how smart they were?
There may be a way to find out.
A researcher named Stanley Coren has developed a series of tests to make up a “Dog IQ test”. They’re simple, fun tests for your dog to see how they respond to different challenges and figure out how to solve them. We shortened the test slightly.
We asked dog trainer Carrie Seay to give the test to Toby, a 5-year-old Yorkie mix to see how “smart” he is.
You can give the test to your dog too. Here are the tests:
Towel Escape Test
The towel test shows how resourceful your dog is.
Take a towel and toss it over your dog’s head, then see how long it takes them to get out of it. The faster they escape, the “smarter” they are.
“Some dogs will just kind of freeze in that situation,” Seay said. “Other dogs will kind of flail around a little bit.”
Unwrapping a Treat
For this test, put one of your dog’s favorite treats or toys in a towel and loosely fold it over, so the treat is hidden. Then let your dog try and find it.
Again, the longer it takes for your dog to find the treat or toy, the less resourceful they are.
Three Card Treat Monty
Take three cups or buckets and place a treat under one of them. With your dog watching, mix the other two around, then line them all up. See how long it takes for your dog to find the cup with the treat.
Seay said it's also useful to see how your dog goes after the treat, whether they use their nose to knock over the cup or their paws. It can show what your dog is better at using.
Hidden Treat Test
Take a treat and put it under a piece of furniture that your dog can’t fit under, but can put their paws under. If your dog uses its paws, it’s a higher score than if it can’t figure it out and uses its nose.
Toby scored high on half the tests, but couldn’t figure out how to use his paws. He also took so long with the hidden treat test that we gave up timing, but he eventually found the treat.
“He did well, you know, especially for a dog that has never been introduced to brain games,” Seay said.
But Seay warned that you can’t really measure a dog’s IQ, only what they’re good at. Since dogs are bred to be good at specific things, it’s nearly impossible to compare different dogs.
In the end, Seay said it’s about finding out how your dog thinks and what they’re good at. You can keep playing the games with them to “boost” their abilities, but it’s more important for you to play with them.
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