I had always heard that a dog is happier when it knows what is expected of them, so soon after I adopted Pinky, I signed us up for an obedience 101 class. I thought it might help to make her transition from the rescue group to her new home a little easier. Treats in hand we headed down to our local pet store for our first day of school. Full of excitement, I thought about when my mom’s pug completed her class. She received a diploma and had her photo taken with a little graduation cap on. I couldn’t help but think how adorable Pinky was going to look on graduation day.
Well,…things didn’t go quite as planned. No matter what we did, Pinky just wouldn’t cooperate. She was distracted when she saw other dogs and really distracted when she saw a treat. She just couldn’t concentrate. We were both trying hard, but didn’t have much to show for it. To make a long story short, although we attended every class, she didn’t receive her graduation diploma or have her photo taken for the store’s wall of fame (They politely suggested we repeat the class). What did this mean? Was she being stubborn or did she not have the intellectual capability to do what was asked of her? Perhaps she was still adjusting to her new home and just had other things on her mind. That was three years ago and ever since, she has been considered (by people other than me) to be less than brilliant.
The Canine IQ
According to an article in Smithsonian magazine, “The canine IQ test results are in: even the average dog has the mental abilities of 2-year old child. The finding is based on a language development test, revealing average dogs can learn 165 words (similar to a 2-year old child), including signals and gestures, and dogs in the top 20% in intelligence can learn 250 words”. I am not sure how many words Pinky recognizes, but I know she is smarter than she is given credit for. With the help of Dognition, an assessment created by Dr. Brian Hare, the Director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, we have decided to prove it
The Dognition assessment is comprised of 20 games created by scientists, trainers, and behavioral specialists that can be played with your dog at home. According to their website, in the amount of time you would normally take your dog for a walk, you can gain a whole new understanding of your dog’s unique genius. Eureeka! Pinky is not a slow learner, she has unique genius! In the name of science, we are going to hand over our $19 and restore Pinky’s intellectual reputation.
After completing the assessment games, we will receive Pinky’s unique Profile Report describing the cognitive strategies she employs. Will Pinky triumph? Will a brilliant mind be uncovered? Stop by next week for Pinky and Her Brain Part II, where we discuss the exciting results!