Is your dog a genius?

  • Dog owners are invited to test the intelligence of their pets with a series of “fun” games

    If you think you have a four-legged canine Einstein and want to prove it, a newof series of tests, “How Smart is Your Dog” may help.

    The 12 tests, devised by Canadian psychology professor, Dr Stanley Coren and equipped with a stopwatch, aim to assess a dog’s memory, ability to learn and solve problems.

    The tests range from timing how long it takes your dog to notice you’ve rearranged the furniture, to finding out if they respond to various words like “refrigerator” when said in the same way as you usually say “come”.

    The author says only a few dogs – around five per cent – will score top marks. Dogs at the bottom of the scale are not expected to understand more than basic commands.

    Sussex-based veterinary surgeon and pet behaviourist, Jon Bowen, said:

    “There’s no real harm in tests like these, provided they are not taken too seriously.

    ” Some of the tests, however, may indicate anxieties or failing health rather than be a measure of intelligence.

    “They could be useful to detect a difference in behaviour which may indicate senility or some other condition.

    “If your dog comes up with a high score and spends its time sitting by the fire all day, it could be an indication he may be bored and should be doing more – agility training, for example.

    ” I find it ironic that for years we have been selectively breeding high levels of intelligence out of dogs, so that they can be domesticated or used for special purposes, such as retrieving or rounding up and now we want to know how bright they are.”

    The cost of the pack is £7.99. For stockists( tel: 0207254 0100).

  • A device, developed by Japanese scientists, which is said to convert barks, growls and whines into human language, is expected to be available in Japan next February.

    The Bow-lingual consists of a unit attached to the dog’s collar, which aims to decode the animal’s sounds. The results are sent to a hand-held speaker in the form of phrases such as “I’m happy” or “I’m bored”.

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