It would be fair to say that most dog owners know just how clever their canine companions can be especially when it suits them. Dogs seem to instinctively know how to please their owners and how to keep them entertained which is why they are such a pleasure to have around. With this said, there are certain ways of testing just how smart a dog is and it’s not only fun to do, but it's a great way of reinforcing a bond with a canine companion too.
There is a downside to living with a super-intelligent dog which is that they need to be kept busy both mentally and physically or they could turn into much harder characters to have around. But with this said, even people who lead quieter lives may find their canine companion is extra smart in certain ways that don’t necessarily involve them being overly demanding.
When the experts rate a dog's intelligence, they do so by calculating their cognitive abilities which are defined by the following:
- A dog's thinking capability
- Their understanding of things
- Their ability to learn new things
- Their ability to remember things
Most owners measure how smart their dogs are by seeing if they can do what is asked of them and not necessarily if they are clever enough to do something. Dog trainers often say that dogs can be smart in some ways whereas others are clever in others. Some dogs seem super clever in certain situations whereas another dog might not appear to be so smart. In short, it really does depend on the situation a dog is used to or finds themselves in as to how clever they might appear to be. With this said, studies have established that there are six things that extremely clever dogs can do which are as follows:
- They can figure and work things out extremely quickly which includes how to get into cupboards, open doors and even window latches having watched their owners do it. This means that a dog has connected to something they have seen or been shown and as such it's a good indication that they are ultra-smart characters. The amazing thing is that any breed of dog can be this clever with many cross breeds being high on the “smart” list
- They are more than capable of communicating with their owners which includes simple things like needing to go outside to do their business. With this said, owners might miss when their dog is trying to communicate with them because they misunderstand what's going on and what their pets are trying to tell them
- They get into trouble all the time which could include overturning the dustbin in the kitchen so they can get at what’s inside, chewing a cushion or chair leg which can prove pretty annoying. However, a dog might just be doing these things because they are not given enough to occupy their intelligent minds. The result is that boredom soon sets in and a clever dog will find ways to amuse themselves which is not always to an owner's liking. The solution to the problem is to invest in lots of good quality problem solving toys for a dog to play with so they leave the bin and chair legs alone
- They quickly know how to get into a toy that contains tasty treats. Toys that give out treats when a dog plays with them are brilliant at keeping our canine companions busy, but a smart dog would quickly figure out how to get to the treats with the downside being the toys will not keep them occupied for as long a time as you might have hoped. But this does not mean a dog that is not as quick to get at the treat is dumb, it could be they are intelligent in other ways
- They can find hidden treats in record time. A clever dog will use all their senses to find any treats that are hidden around a room, whether under a cup, a cushion or anywhere else an owner might have placed it. This type of interaction with a dog is great because even if they are not smart enough to find the treat straight away, you can be sure they enjoy all the searching
- They clock watch and know when it's time to be doing something which includes knowing when it is time to go for a walk which sees them bringing their leads to their owners to remind them what time it is. It also includes when it's dinner time and a dog drops an empty feed bowl at their owner’s feet
All dogs are clever in their own way, but some are ultra-smart with certain dog breeds, for example the Border Collie, being top of the list when it comes to intelligence. Smart dogs can be very demanding and need to be given a ton of exercise as well as lots of mental stimulation. However, there are some clever dogs that are not overly demanding and the good news is that any breed, any dog can show just how intelligent they are in certain situations because every dog is different with their own unique personalities.
For further reading on the itelligence of dogs and a list of the most intelligent dog breeds, view our article here.