Intelligence or cognition in dogs can be measured. The tests are easily available online, some better, some quite ridiculous. Stanley Coren’s or dognition ones are my personal preferred choice as they assess perception and cognition-memory, emotional intelligence, problem solving, following cues and so on. It’s fun to do and you get to know your dog better.

But: does it mean anything if your dog scores high or low? Does it mean a low-scoring dog is in some way worse than a high-scoring one?

my very clever girl

Well, not for me. I’ve had ‘superscorers’ and the not so high scoring ones. I have loved them all. Ardbeg scored high and he was not an easy dog to live with. He got bored easily and was up to all sorts of mischief all the time. He could open every container, every cupboard door, he could remember his way home from pretty much every place so he thought he could just go anywhere on his own. He was independent, strong-headed, obstinate and ultra high- energy. He could climb furniture and read my cues (not that he always wanted to). Teaching him was easy, but he was still hard work. Not a dog for someone who thinks one walk a day is enough for a dog.

My lowest scoring dog, Noel, was also perfect. She was sweet and loving, much more dependent on me and I loved it. She was non-judgmental and accepting. Funny and easy to live with. I’d never think she was in any way ‘worse’ than any dog I’ve had. Quite the opposite. She had the most influence on my life. She had made me whole and will always have a special place in my heart.

So, me and Lily amuse ourselves with all the tests. But we use them to get to know more about how Lily ‘works’, how she learns and what her strengths are. She’s perfect and no tests can prove otherwise.



9 thoughts on “Intelligence

  1. I enjoyed you observation.

    I could not help but think of you compared Wisdom (Old Testament) to Love (New Testament), with the motto of my blog.

    What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom.

    Both of your dogs helped you enjoy life.

    Regards and goodwill blogging. .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is, we like to label (people, animals). And I think there’s so much to each dog that simply testing intelligence (as we understand it) and saying the dog’s clever is not enough. But the tests themselves can be fun πŸ™‚ Especially the more complicated ones for finding patterns and solving problems. Fun, fun, fun πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually like testing my dogs, I think it makes it easier for me to work with them. I just don’t think one quality makes anyone (a dog or a person) better or worse. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to know if they have good short-term/long-term memory or can solve problems. I like the independent ones and the ones who rely on my cues. Both types find the solution, even if they use a different method πŸ™‚ It’s more mapping their personalities, but for some reason it classifies as cognition or intelligence (slightly misleading because of the association we have with the word itself)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. The thing is, I considered Noel’s emotional intelligence to be superior, even if she couldn’t solve problems (make inferences). She had failed most tests and I still though she was smart, it’s just that her intelligence was different. Most dogs adapt so well to our environment that it is in itself a sign of a genius…

      Liked by 1 person

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