Dog Intelligence Test: How Smart Is Your Dog?

Taking a dog intelligence test can help you determine how trainable your pet is. Of course these tests aren’t an exact science, and they don’t measure how loving your dog is, but they can give you a rough idea of how your dog might fair as a service animal or in an agility class. This particular  dog intelligence test evaluates your pup’s ability to think, solve problems, learn and retain information!

Exercise 1: Put a large blanket or towel over your pup’s head.

Scoring: Your dog gets 3 points for freeing themself in less than 15 seconds, 2 points if it takes 15-30 seconds and 1 point if takes more than 30 seconds.

Exercise 2: Put a treat within your dog’s reach underneath a piece of furniture. It should be low enough on the floor that only your dog’s little paw will be able to grab it.

Scoring: Your dog gets 3 points if they grab it under a minute using only their paw. If they try to get it using their head, or both their nose and paws, give them 2 points. Give them 1 point if they give up.

Exercise 3: Put three empty cups or buckets in a row upside down. Then place a treat under one of the buckets or cups while your dog is watching. Do something else with your dog for a few seconds to distract them and then let them look for the treat.

Scoring: Give your dog 3 points if they get the treat in one try. Your pup gets 2 points if it takes 2 tries and 1 point if it takes 3 tries.

Exercise 4: Get a piece of cardboard that is 5’ wide and taller than your dog when they are standing on their back legs. Build a barrier with this piece of cardboard and a cardboard box. Then cut a rectangle in the middle of the cardboard that is 3” wide and starts 4” from the top of the cardboard and ends 4” from the bottom. It should be wide enough that your dog can see through the rectangle, but can’t wiggle through the rectangle to the other side of the barrier. Toss a treat behind the barrier. Your dog should see where it falls through the window that you cut into the barrier.

Scoring: Your dog gets 3 points if they run around to the other side of the barrier to retrieve the treat in 30 seconds or less. Your dog gets 2 points if they try to climb through the window or knock down the barrier or if it takes them more than 30 seconds to go around to the other side of the barrier.

Exercise 5: Send your dog out of a room where your pooch has a favorite place to lounge. Then rearrange all the furniture and let your dog back into the room.

Scoring: Give your dog 3 points if they go straight to their usual favorite spot. They get 2 points if it takes them a short period of investigation. Give them 1 point if they give up and pick a new spot to lounge.

Exercise 6: Pick up your dog’s leash, while they’re watching you, at a time when you don’t normally take your pooch for a walk.

Scoring: Your dog gets 3 points if they immediately get excited about going on a walk. Give your dog 2 points if you have to walk to the door to give your dog the hint. Give your dog 1 point if your dog never catches on.

Final Tally:

  • More than 15 points: Your dog is extremely intelligent.
  • 13–15 points: Your dog is still quite intelligent and probably easy to train.
  • 9–12 points: Your dog probably still learns the basics with ease.
  • 5–8 points: Your dog might take a bit longer to learn basic commands.
  • 1–4 points: Your dog might struggle a lot during training sessions, but who cares? They probably still have a big heart!