Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dog IQ Tests

On Saturday I decided to spend the afternoon giving my dogs IQ tests, because that's my idea of a rocking Saturday night. Inspired by my favorite Hyperbole and a Half post, I googled "dog IQ test". This was the first result, and it appears to be the same test. There are eight problems for the dog to solve, and they can receive between 0 and 5 points based on their ability to solve each problem.

Before the test, I was pretty sure that Brisbane was a genius, Ru was somewhere below average, and Xena was...I'll just go ahead and say it, dumb as toast. She's a sweet puppy who is going to make a great family dog, but she also gets trapped in Brisbane's crate at least once a week. There is a blanket draped over it, and once she gets in there she can't figure out how to get out and will stay in there for hours until I rescue her. She also wins the prize for "Most Days Spent at Daycare Without Figuring Out How Gates Work". I'd blame it on her impaired vision, but my blind cocker spaniel was crazy good at solving problems.
Test 1: Place Treat Under Soup Can
Brisbane has several puzzle toys that involve picking up or knocking over cups, so he solved this one in two seconds flat. I used Bacon Hearts smeared with peanut butter for maximum value and smelliness, but neither Ru nor Xena could solve this puzzle. They each got one point for effort.

Test 2: Throw Blanket Over Dog
Brisbane contemplated his situation for ten seconds before tossing the blanket off. Five points for Briz.. Ru flipped it off just as fast as I could put it on him, which really shouldn't have been a surprise given that his natural habitat is "under blankets". Five points for Ru. Xena...well...Xena spent about a minute attempting to get free before resigning herself to her new life as a blanket-covered dog. One point for Xena.

Test 3: Place Treat Under Small Towel
Once again, Briz went immediately for the treat and got it in seconds. Five Points for Briz. Ru took a little bit longer but eventually figured it out after about 20 seconds. Four points for Ru. Xena...sniffed around enthusiastically but failed to discover where the treat had vanished to. One point for Xena.

Test 4: Let Dog See Treat Placed in Room, Then Release Dog
Brisbane is all about food, so he went charging back to that Bacon Heart the moment I let him go. Five points for Briz. Ru has to sniff it out, but headed for the correct area and found it right away. Four points for Ru. Xena...forgot the treat existed as soon as it was an arm's length away. I tried putting peanut butter on the cookie to make it more exciting and easier to smell out. I pointed helpfully. I cheered her on and told her to go find the cookie. Nothing. One point for Xena.

Test 5: Let Dog See Treat Placed in Room, Leave Room and Play for Five Minutes, Then Release Dog
This was the first test where Brisbane did not have a perfect score. When we went back into the kitchen, he first checked the place where the cookie had been in the previous test instead of going straight to the second cookie. Four points for Brisbane. Ru appeared to remember that there was something tasty on the floor, but basically had to work the entire room in order to find the cookie. Two points for Ru. Xena...the cookie no longer existed and she only located it when I sat there and tapped the floor repeatedly. One point for Xena.

Test 6: Place Treat Under Platform Too Low to Reach with Mouth
This is where Brisbane lost a couple of points. He usually expects me to solve his problems for him, so after a couple of cursory attempts at reaching the peanut butter-slathered Bacon Heart he just stood back and looked at me expectantly. Three points for Briz. Ru, on the other hand, is a expert at retrieving cookies from under the stove. Not only did he fish the treat out with his paw right away, he also fished out a lost piece of Life cereal. Five points for Ru. Xena made a couple of attempts to get the treat, earning her two points.

Test 7: Call Dog Using Words "Refrigerator" and "Movies", Then By Name
Way back when Brisbane and I did UKC obedience, we proofed our recall by shouting things other than "Brisbane, come!" to make sure he knew the actual word and not just the tone or cadence. Five points for Briz. Ru just comes to anything that sounds like I might be calling a dog, he is particularly fond of repeated syllables and will come to "yiyiyiyiyiyi" just as well as "RuRuRuRuRu". He also comes to "refrigerator" and "movies", in case you were wondering. Three points for Ru. Xena surprised me on this one, she was oblivious to the other words in the "I'm calling a dog" tone, but zipped right over as soon as she heard her name. Five points for Xena.

Test 8: Show Dog Treat Through Narrow Passage
This one required some actual setting up with a flattened cardboard box. It also required me to do Ru's test first, and then cut the hole bigger for the bigger dogs. I used a King Cake biscuit covered in peanut butter this time. I cut a tall and narrow slit in the box wall and stuck the treat through it while the dog watched. Brisbane and Ru both immediately ran around the box to get to the treat, without even trying to stick their heads through the hole. Five points each. Xena...tried to reach the cookie through the slot and then gave up and resigned herself to our new, smaller living room. One point for Xena.

Results: With 37 points, Brisbane is a genius. No surprise there. I was surprised that Ru scored above average with 29 point. I guess I hadn't considered his blanket-navigation and paw-fishing skills to count as intelligence. Xena...didn't actually score as mentally deficient! Owing entirely to her ability to discern her own name from random words, 13 points got her a score of borderline. That's just between mentally deficient and below average, in case you were wondering. She's a good puppy though, and she'll be a great dog for a family who just wants a regular dog and not a athlete, exterminator, bodyguard, or evil genius.

How smart is your dog?


  1. I am so going to try this for my Bruno!!! :D

    1. Let me know how he does! We certainly had a lot of fun with it.