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44–47 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

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How to Determine Your Puppy's I.Q.

If you've ever done a puppy aptitude test, you know a lot about your puppy's personality. But did you know you can also test your puppy's I.Q.?

Your puppy's cognitive development is coming to a close and it's a good time to see just how smart he is. Learning his I.Q. number certainly won't change your feelings towards him, but it might give you something to brag about at the dog park. It also can aid you in training, telling you what to focus on and what needs extra time.

Human intelligence is generally measured in seven categories - linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Even human tests are faulty and trying to test other species leaves even more room for error. It is best to test and compare within a species, such as dog to dog, as inter-species testing has too many variables. Testing for a dog's I.Q. is different from testing a human's but there are some ways to determine his smarts.

What's Involved in Testing Your Puppy's I.Q.

  • Factors - How well a puppy does on an I.Q. test depends on several factors including his experience, training, physical and emotional capabilities and on the test itself.

  • Age - It's better to test now at 47 weeks than earlier on, as nerve cells in pup's brains and visual centers are not fully developed before this.

  • Stimulation - Stimulation is imperative in a puppy's growth. Understimulated puppies will not perform as well on an I.Q. test.

How to Perform an I.Q. Test

  • Items Needed - Place a plain collar and a lead on your dog. Have treats and a small bowl.

  • Observation Learning - Start to perform a routine task such as walking to the door to go for a walk. Break the activity into five steps that your puppy should recognize and give him a point for each one that he does. For instance, does your pup respond when you take a step toward the door? Does he respond when you look at him and then to the door?

  • Problem Solving - Take the bowl, show your puppy a treat and then place it in the bowl. Score your puppy on a scale of five again with the highest score going for your puppy getting the food within 15 seconds, the lowest for your puppy ignoring it or giving up.

  • Short-Term Memory - Show your puppy a treat then hide it. Pick him up and walk him around the room, depositing him at least six feet from the hidden treat. If he immediately finds the treat, he gets a five. If he ignores it, he gets a zero.

There are many other tests you can find or make-up to get an idea of your pup's I.Q. Other areas of testing include Social Learning and Long Term Memory. Remember that with all the variables really every puppy is a winner no matter what his test score says. It is impossible to test for raw intelligence in dogs. There are always influencing factors.

That said, you can use your pup's score as a guideline and it may help you understand certain behavioral problems, such as trouble with house training, better. And, if the subject does come up at the dog park, you can always make sure you go last so that your puppy's score, perhaps buffered a bit, outdoes that snooty Afghan's.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

Puppies Eat Less When They are Teething

When my dog was teething his appetite decreased quite a bit. Our vet recommended adding water to his food to soften it up, which worked great. He did not recommend that we do that all the time because the hard food helps their dental hygiene. That worked for us! Ice cubes and toys in the freezer also helped (i.e. water down a rope toy and freeze).

~TALIE D., owner of Labrador Retriever

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