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?
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.