The subject of puppy intelligence is a complicated one because the reality is that there is no exact science to determining canine intelligence (or even human intelligence for that matter). There is no magic IQ test that’s going to tell you how a puppy will learn, interact with other dogs, or solve problems. There is, however, much discussion as to the overall concept of puppy intelligence that is expanded upon each day.
Research shows that experts often disagree on the subject of canine intelligence ranking, but certain breeds have consistently earned a spot on the most intelligent puppy list. They include border collies, poodles, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Doberman pinschers, Shetland sheepdogs, Labrador retrievers, papillons, rottweilers and Australian cattle dogs.
Remember that smart does not always translate to a well-behaved puppy. Consider that raising a gifted child can often be more of a challenge than raising a child with average intelligence. They demand more attention and their minds are always active. The same can apply to puppies. They can use their intelligence in ways that may not endear themselves to you! Some are just too smart for their own good and they will be the dogs that tend to become rather mischievous, giving their owner a few gray hairs.
One conception of puppy intelligence is the quick mastery of commands and tricks and some experts think that dogs can show their intelligence by solving problems.
While all dogs have the ability to learn basic obedience, some learn more readily than others. The most important thing to realize is that the puppy owner has to have unlimited patience. If at first you don’t succeed with a training method, try another approach. The same method of training will not work for all dogs.
Inherited behavior is another factor that can have an effect on puppy intelligence. The herding breeds such as Australian cattle dogs and border collies have a natural tendency to learn herding skills quickly. A pit bull is not as apt to excel at herding skills, but that may not be because they are less intelligent. They simply have not inherited that particular skill.
Most agree that puppies that do learn their lessons quickly are intelligent. However, one should not assume that dogs that do not do well in training are stupid or less intelligent. It could be a matter of the puppy having the intelligence to think for him or herself and their way of thinking just might not coincide with yours. Remember, patience and positive reinforcement can bring them around to your way of thinking.
When considering a puppy’s intelligence, one must realize that dogs are pack animals. They understand social structure and are very capable of interacting with the other dogs in the pack. This will play a roll in how they learn. If you put a puppy in the house with an adult dog, many times the adult will help you with the training.
Because canines are den animals, they will generally learn behavior related to keeping themselves and their homes clean rather quickly. Puppies do not like to have their sleeping areas defiled by urine or feces.
Don’t let puppy intelligence play too big a role in choosing a dog breed. Choose your pet based on your situation. For example, don’t choose a herding dog if you live in a city apartment. Don’t expect a shi tzu to round up cattle if you are a rancher.
Simply train the puppy to do what you expect. The puppy kisses and adoration your dog gives you is worth more than all the intelligence in the world.