Maria Yagoda
May 19, 2015 05:25 PM

Are you the kind of pet owner who thinks your dog would be smart enough to speak English if only you had the time and patience to teach him?

Thanks to a growing body of dog research, there are now ways to gauge your dog’s intelligence without using an MRA or your (very biased) imagination. Try this game from the Today show to test your dog’s overall intelligence and communication skills, and you’ll finally know for certain if your dog is as brilliant as you tell your friends on Facebook.

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The Game:

1. Have someone hold your pup six feet away from you.
2. Call your dog’s name, while showing that you have two treats in your hands.
3. Simultaneously place the two treats on the ground, one on each side of your body, at about arm’s length away.
4. Point to one of the treats.
4. Tell the person holding your dog to let go of him, making sure to remain standing still as your dog chooses the treat he wants.
5. Thank your dog for his gracious participation by letting him eat both treats – and don’t be afraid to throw in a “Good boy!”

What Does This Say About Your Dog?

If your dog chooses the treat you pointed to: Your dog possesses a large attention span and understands your cues, gestures and simple commands. He also has the ability to act collaboratively, which is a sign of advanced intelligence – he processed your information when you pointed to the treat, and then was able to make his own decision incorporating what he gathered from you.

If your dog did not choose the treat you pointed to: Your dog is fiercely independent and either not able or not willing (probably both) to involve you in his decision-making process, unless he needs your help. (Dogs can’t operate can openers, for example. That’s where you come in.)

Interested in more games? The Dognition Assessment lets you discover your dog’s personality profile. For $20, the test offers 20 games to play with your pup that will determine whether you have a genius (or lovable simpleton) on your hands.

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