How smart is your dog?

PHILADELPHIA - November 11, 2008 - It's called the "Pooch IQ test." It promises to, quote "help you determine whether your pup is a canine Einstein or a doggy dunce!"

Action News invited two-year-old Dorsey, a poodle and possibly american eskimo mix, four year old golden retriever Fin, and Missy, who is a 12 year old black lab to take the test.

All their owners believe their four legged friends are aces when it comes to doggie intellect.

"I think he's pretty smart. I think his excitement may get the best of him but he learned how to roll over in just about a day!" said Liz Encarnacion, Dorsey's owner.

And if age brings wisdom, then Missy should rank at genius status.

"I know she's a very bright girl. She has not been trained but she's potentially pretty bright," said Kate Perry, Missy's owner.

All three owners agreed to have us subject their pooches to the unscientific Pooch IQ test to help determine how brilliant they really are.

"I think his strong point is in his desire to please and to connect with people," said Fin's owner Debbie Johnson.

In a series of 15 different exercises, the test measures a dogs persistence, obedience and problem solving skills.

Although research suggests some specific breeds should rank higher on the IQ scale, each exercise gives each dog an opportunity to demonstrate his unique skills.

In test after test, each dog had to tackle finding hidden treats under cups, demonstrate a natural curiosity, attempt to identify his owner in a ski mask and show persistence while trying to get treats out of toys.

Doctor Illana Reisner is a veternary behaviorist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Hospital.

She says dog intelligence can be measured in many different ways, including its genetic behavior.

"Some dog breeds I can teach much more quickly than others but any dog breed is capable of learning if the reward is attractive enough," Dr. Reisner said.

Mary Remer has trained more than 20,000 dogs. She believes every dog is intelligent, it's just about master your own pooches skills.

"If you have the dog's head, the body will surely follow," Remer said.

Now back to the test, where we are tallying up the scores.

Dorsey's IQ is 115, meaning he's "pretty clever".

As for Fin he wanted a little bit higher 130 which is considered a smarty pants!

But, the test seemed to be a bit grueling for 12 year old Missy, who gave up just half way through.

Doctor Reisner says the smartest thing their owners can do is remember this:

"Really it's all about companionship and being a family member, and it's not about IQ."


CLICK HERE for the "Pooch IQ" website.

CLICK HERE for a list of dog breeds ranked by intelligence.

CLICK HERE for Dog Training with "What a Good Dog"

CLICK HERE for the website of "The Intelligence of Dogs" author Stanley Coren.

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