By Sharon Gomes Thomas
I hear it all the time, people stopping me on the street, letting me know that I have a beautiful dog, followed by the inevitable: “Setters are dumb, aren’t they?” Actually, NO! Irish Setters, like most hunting and working dogs are very smart. How can a dog hunt or work if they’re not bright?
The Intelligence Quotient for dogs came about through many different sources, one of them being Dr Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence Of Dogs (www.stanleycoren.com). In his book over 200 professional dog obedience judges ranked 110 dog breeds on the basis of their intelligence. According to them, the top dogs in terms of intelligence are:
1. Border Collies
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Doberman Pincher
At the low end of the intelligence rankings are:
107. Chow Chow
108. Bull dog
110. Afghan Hound – The Afghan apparently is pretty, and kinda dumb.
Not content to accept this general rankings dog owner Stacy Stubblefield co-created the Pooch IQ Kit (www.PoochIQ.com) so that dog owners can test their dogs themselves. My dog and I had to try this test!
The nice thing about the kit is that it comes in a cute bag and uses objects that are dog toys. So the 15 exercises were like playtime for me and my dog. There were various tests to analyze my dog’s different reasoning skills. Some of the exercises were a little bizarre – I had to wear a ski mask that came with the kit, and also hide under a blanket. Also, plan on a chunk of time to run through the tests and you also have to enlist the help of a friend.
The accompanying booklet could have used some diagrams, since I had a little bit of trouble figuring out what I had to do – maybe it was me, not my dog that had to be smart! And you have to match your dog’s actions as closely as possible to a list of behavior choices. In one of the tests, my dog did something that wasn’t even remotely on the list!
Not surprisingly, my dog scored the top 1%, considered Absolute Genius. And I didn’t even have to cheat! She definitely manipulates me into doing what she wants. The Pooch IQ test is a definite must try.