How Smart is Your Dog?

Luna, down. You’re so smart! A
lot of pet owners think their doggos are smart – very intelligent. MENSA ready. But how can we know for sure? At different points in history, dogs have
been the gatekeepers of the afterlife, fluffy hunting companions, security guards and even
family members. They respond to our body language, like gesturing
and pointing, they understand verbal commands and sometimes, they can be deceptive – having
a theory of mind (meaning they understand that our thoughts and feelings may be different
from theirs). But canine intelligence hasn’t been carefully
studied until recently. Perhaps because “intelligence” is so hard
to define. In dogs intelligence has been broken down
into three categories: Instinctive: how well your dog does what they
are bred to do, like herd sheep or retrieve things. Adaptive: This is how well your dog learns
from their environment in order to solve puzzles, like where you hide treats. And working and obedience: Or, how well your
pup does in obedience school and training. And much like people, dogs have a range of
intelligence. When they’ve been compared on working and
obedience, border collies, poodles, and german shepherds are the top three breeds. Way down at the bottom of the list were mastiffs
and basset hounds. They look kinda sad about it. So we know there are “smarter breeds”,
but researchers hadn’t tested intelligence within breeds until last year. British psychologists evaluated the adaptive
intelligence of border collies, using three pretty typical canine intelligence tests. And we’re going to do a dramatic reenactment. I just want Luna to be famous. First is the detour test. A simple course is set up that the dog must
follow to earn a treat. Once the dog is familiar with it, a “short
detour” is set up in its path and they are timed to determine how long it will take them
to figure out a new route to the treat. So, time your dog. In the study I mentioned before, The “smartest”
collie figured this test out in under 5 seconds and the one who scored the lowest took around
2 minutes. On average, the dogs took under 8 seconds
to complete the test. Next, the point-following test uses 2 inverted
cups. Using a treat that isn’t too smelly, show
your dog, then obstruct everything. Then, reveal the cups and point to the one
without the treat. If your dog followed your point without any
distractions, give them a pat on the back. Transition into a scratch. Good dog. Those border collies ranged from less than
a second to 43 seconds to arrive at the indicated cup, with an average time of less than 4.5
seconds. Finally, the quantity discrimination test. Fill two plates with different amounts of
wet food. Place these plates the same distance from
your dog. Let them go and time how long they take to
make a decision. Smarter pups will head for the bigger plate
and quickly. The border collie’s were pretty quick with
this one, arriving at the larger plate in under 3 seconds, on average. The border collie who made the fastest decision
did so in less than a second, and the slowest took just over 38 seconds. If your dog did well on the first test, you
should notice they’ll do well on the other two – this was found in the border collie
study and it suggests that dogs have a general intelligence factor – a general mental capacity
that can influence how well do on tests and in other activities. We’ve found that mice and chimpanzees have
a general intelligence factor, too. Testing other animals can help us develop
a complete theory of intelligence. In particular, there’s a link between intelligence
and health: higher intelligence leads to better health outcomes. And animals might be able to tell us if this
happens through genetics or through environmental factors. Animals are more of a control group than people
as their circumstances and environment remain pretty constant, as opposed to humans who
eat donuts when we’re stressed, smoke and drink, and binge watch Netflix instead of
getting 7-9 hours sleep. And Luna would never get less than 9 hours

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32 Responses

  1. Chordeiles Major says:

    well you have the same problem you have with all animals and even with humans… you can train for intelligence tests and as the researcher you will not know if one dog is simply more intelligent or has just had a lot of training in similar tasks

  2. Meg Alyssa says:

    Your dog looks so content on your lap. I love it.

  3. Gerardo Frias says:

    I don't even have a pet.

  4. Maddie Briggs says:

    Can you do a video on dogs and anxiety? And particularly on what that would tell us about anxiety.

  5. Goku Black says:

    I like her.

  6. bdbdbd says:

    My dog is autistic and meows and purrs all the time

  7. Virush says:

    What breed is that lovely doggo ?

  8. Gizmo Cat says:

    Almost all creatures are intelligent, but have a different way of doing things, interpretation of this is hard, and we often misinterpret this.

  9. Tom says:

    Your eyes match your dog's. 🙂

  10. baselinebaz says:

    seriously stunning

  11. Mellow Yellow says:

    Smarter dogs go for the bigger plate… and the smaller plate.

  12. Rusk Reeder says:

    A fine episode Vanessa. I'm sorry I haven't commented on your last few but I have been ill recently. Looks like your dog is fairly smart. There is an excellent documentary about dog on PBS Nova. Did you know that monkeys can't do the cup test? Also, when dogs look at you they will first look you in the center of the eyes then move to the right side of your eyes. It is believed they do this because the right side of our eyes convey emotion, and dog want to get a sense of our promotional states. Also, many evolutionary biologists believe that dogs helped establish civilization by moving us from hunter-gatherers to agrarian societies. And before you go "Sniff, sniff, you didn't remember my dog's name," did you say Luna?

  13. A.C. Jelly says:

    but do they know who the good boy is?

  14. Cameron Keller says:

    That is one cute dog….

  15. Adrian D says:

    Great video! I love how you cover so many subjects no other channel does, or barely touches on. Your dog is so cute, too 🙂

  16. PoseidonXIII says:

    I love how dogs willingly try to find the weirdest most uncomfortably positions to put themselves in. XD

  17. Superkoopatrooper says:

    I feel like judging an animals intelligence based on how well they listen to you is kind of flimsy. I mean, going by these rules, my cat is a genius. He tries to sneak out of the house whenever we go through the main door. He'll try hiding behind the couch or under the tv stand near the door in an attempt to break free and eat grass. I guess that's him trying to mislead and execute a plan. I've trained him via positive reinforcement so whenever I snap my fingers, he sits down. For some reason, if he's in front of me it won't work, he speed walks… but if he's following me, he'll sit down right away. He also doesn't react to mirrors which suggests he's at least somewhat self aware. My other cat, well, she's just a cat haha.

  18. Futuredudeman says:


  19. autistic tech girl 1990 says:

    Our family has always had dogs over the years. And they always seem to work out I am visually impaired, I don't know how but they do. A few years ago we had a border collie who we sadly had to have put down because she was 14 and her back legs kept going. I remember I went to the shop with my sister One day. I walked in front using my cane and she walked behind with Nelly on the lead. After we had gone to the shop, my sister said to fold my cane away and see if Nellie understood to walk slower with me and if she could understand how to help me. So I held Nellies lead and walked with her. She walked much slower with me, she walked me around obstacles like posts. She would sit at the curb so I knew when to cross over, and when a group of people were walking towards us she sat in front of me so that I didn't bump into them and waited until they had passed. I couldn't believe she knew how to help me, she was A pet dog and had never ever had any training like a guy dog

  20. Oma says:

    Vanessa, at the end of this video there is a gray hairy thing partially hidden underneath the pillow over your right shoulder. Is it your cat?

  21. chris soto says:

    My dog still has trouble with the mirror 😂

  22. Fion says:

    So what's your dog's IQ?

  23. Robert Berger says:

    when my dog was 1year old iI went into the forest and let him intangle by him self and let him untangle himself .
    That made him very smart and he maskes his own desision . The IQ tests is a child play for him it is hard for me to trick him

  24. Nashawn Livingston says:

    i have one question, why would obedience=intelligence? not related to this video just in general. great video though

  25. nyutrig says:

    It's "dog"

  26. KimTaehyung_OwO says:

    my dog is a mix bread Yorkie/Pomeranian…. he is STUPID. if you point at food he would still be confused.. if you hand a grape to him he will think it's a new toy

  27. Daryl Skinner says:

    Love your dog 🐕

  28. Pierre Gian Briones says:

    How you do the dog smart

  29. marcjtdc says:

    im naked

  30. Zone07 says:

    I would like to see the obstacle test with vacuum cleaners. Most dogs will fail.

  31. Lil' Dumb Cat -w- says:

    I did this with my own digital doggo and it didn't work well….

  32. Dwight Wiltz says:

    Not sure don't have one I've been speaking on command for three years

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