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Easy Step by Step Dog Training!


These articles collectively deal with many aspects regarding how to get good behaviour from your dog.

Included is the Leave Routine - one of my favourites - and a whole swag of information on Attention Seeking behaviours.  Here you will also find information about our Small Group Dog Training Classes.

There are some unique techniques here and all based on minimising punishment.

Have fun!

Dr Cam's Podcasts on

How to Get Good Behaviour from Pets

Cam and Dog

Introduction to How to Get Good Behaviour

Cam and DogSeven steps to get good behaviour

Cam and Dog Why is my current pet so different to my last one?

Cam and Dog The effects of nature and nurture

The Art of Dog Training!

pawprint  The First Critical Step -Assess Your Dog's Behaviour!!

pawprint  Good Behaviour Starts here

pawprint  Ten Steps to a Better behaved pet

pawprint  IQ Test Your Dog

pawprint  Changing Moods

pawprint  Bad Habits

pawprint  Back to School

pawprint  Enrol Your Dog in Dr Cam's Small Group Training Classes

pawprint  Some basic obedience commands

Additional Info from Dr Cam!

(membership required)

pawprint  Bridging

pawprint  Hide and Seek

pawprint  Loose Lead Walking

pawprint  Puppy Push Ups

pawprint  Shake Paw

pawprint  Stand

pawprint  Stay

pawprint  Targeting

pawprint  Come

pawprint  Getting Good Behaviour from dogs

pawprint  Talk like a dog

pawprint  The Bad Dog-Good Dog Routine

pawprint  Leave it alone pooch

pawprint  Attention seeking menu

pawprint  Energy To Burn

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Behaviour / Dog Behaviour Solutions / IQ Testing dogs

Clever Boy!

Which pets are the cleverest - dogs, cats, pigs or maybe cockroaches and how can you test your pet IQ?

Measuring 'cleverness', or more particularly, intelligence, is not easy because different things are important to different species.

Big Brains

Will the size of the brain help? Humans have the largest brains at a brain weight to body weight ratio of 2% but can you guess which animal comes next?  The cat!!  A cat's brain to body weight ratio is 1%, and next comes the pooch with an average of 0.5%. The rat is 0.3%, at the same level as a goat. The Horse's brain to bodyweight ratio is 0.1% and the poor pig is down at 0.05%.

While these ratios are interesting, they are not a perfect guideline so cat owners shouldn't be beating their chests just yet.

Brainy Breeds

Dog sittingSince the dawn of kibble, dog owners have been quarrelling about which breed is the most intelligent. On brain size, big dogs are darn dumb because the smaller the dog, the higher the brain to body weight ratio. For instance, the toy poodle scores more than 1% but the Great Dane and Saint Bernard score less than 0.2%, making them, according to this test at least, dumber than a rat!!

Some researchers compared the intelligence of various species using a classical conditioning routine. The goal was to get an animal to raise its paw when a bell was rung or to receive a shock to the paw if they failed to raise it (poor animal!!). They found that dogs took the least time to learn this trick but, of the farm animals, it was the pig that won this brain-game.

Mazes have been used to test the intelligence of a variety of animals. One goal was to determine how easily each animal found the exit to a maze when the internal structure of the maze was progressively changed.

Children from 4 to 6 years-of-age performed best but man's best friend the dog was the next best performer.

Mind you, cows, goats and sheep performed as well as dogs and, in a massive blow to the pride of cat owners, felines performed only as well as pigs!!!  (Don't let your cat know that - cats with low self-esteem are a danger.)

Survival of the Most Intelligent

Surely the best form of intelligence is that which allows one species to outlive another 'survival of the fittest' as Darwin would say. If a species is able to profit from its uniqueness and from that, to be able to adapt to changes in its environment that allow it to outlive other competing species, then it must be intelligent.

If that's the best measure then we should all bow to and worship the most intelligent of all species, the king of all leaders, and the leader of all kings - hail the cockroach.

Yup - the cockroach has survived basically unchanged since the Carboniferous period, 320 million years ago.  However, chomping at its heels is the crocodile which has also remained unchanged for the last 200 million years. If intelligence means survival, cockroaches and crocodiles will rule the world in another million years or so.

Clever Hans

To challenge our belief on how intelligent animals really are, there are some remarkable tales of intellectual achievement in the animal world.

Clever Hans, an Arab stallion gained fame in the 1900s. This smart horse was owned by a retired German schoolmaster, Wilhelm Von Osten.  Osten trained Hans to indicate the answers to mathematical questions that were written onto a blackboard. Hans did this by tapping the correct number of times on the floor with his foot.  In no time at all, Hans progressed to working out complex mathematical problems including square roots.

Remarkably, Hans could do this whether his owner was present or not. However, Clever Hans came unstuck in one test when Osten and a team of assessors were placed behind Hans' blackboard and thus did not know what was written down. The person who wrote the problem left the room. Hans then failed every sum.  The conclusion was that Hans was detecting subtle clues from the audience, such as a slight nod of the head in some or an increase in tension in others, as his tapping neared the correct answer.

Test Your Pet

So how intelligent is your pet? Try the following tests and email me with your results.

The Toilet Roll Core IQ Test

  1. Select a favourite food treat that your pet adores.completeddr

  2. Now attempt to teach a new behaviour pattern. With your dog sitting still or your cat resting quietly, drop the food reward 2 metres centimetres in front of your dog or 1 metre in front of your cat.

  3. Does your pet take the food and eat it?

  4. If yes, go to the next step. If no, give up and have a cup of coffee instead. (If it's a cat - don't be surprised at its lack of enthusiasm!)

  5. If your pet eats the food, repeat the exact procedure five times to teach the behaviour.

  6. Now let the dog or cat see you place the food treat in the same spot but this time cover the food with a toilet-roll core.

  7. Time how long it takes for your pet to retrieve and to eat the food treat. Take an average over five readings.

  8. E-mail me with your results and I'll let you know how your pet ranks on the IQ scale of my readers!!

In our behaviour clinics, we do a different form of IQ testing to determine if a dog is capable of learning new behaviours that compete with those unwanted behaviours our cleints want solved.

The Circle of Commands IQ Test for Dogs

Try this as an alternative IQ test. A summary of the process which follows is that you teach your dog on 'pattern' involving giving the dog good freely into its mouth, then you corrupt that pattern by telling your dog it is not allowed to eat the food. The IQ comes from the time it takes your dog to 'unlearn' the first pattern and then to learn the second pattern.

For your dog to qualify for this test, it must love food.

  1. Ask your dog to 'SIT'dogobedienceresized50percentcropped
  2. With the food treat in line-of-sight between your eyes and your dogs say 'LOOK', count 5, then quickly flick the food into your dog's mouth as you ask your dog to 'SEEK' the food treat.
  3. Repeat this 10 times to teach your dog to expect a food treat to be flicked into his or her mouth after it hears the word 'SEEK'.
  4. This is called the letter-box routine as you are placing the food treat into your dog's mouth as if his or her mouth is a letter-box.
  5. Now corrupt the routine by asking your dog to 'LEAVE' the food treat alone. To do this, after you have done the 'LOOK', use a hand signal, for instance using an open hand in front of your dog's nose like a barrier, and then say 'LEAVE' just once in a clear voice but not in harsh voice.
  6. Then flick the food in front of the dog's nose just like you did with the 'SEEK' request.
  7. However, when your dog goes to eat the food (which it learnt to do in the previous step) you remove the food treat to indicate that is not what he or she was supposed to do. It's important in this step that you say nothing if the dog fails. Do not say 'AH AH' or 'BAD DOG'. Removing the food wordlessly does the job well and is a very gentle way of saying that it has not done the correct thing.
  8. Repeat step 6 and 7 until your dog does NOT go to eat the food treat for FIVE seconds, then praise the dog enthusiastically and reward it by THROWING the food treat along the ground with the request 'SEEK'. Count the number of failures.
  9. When you have achieved step 8 (your dog does not eat the food treat for five seconds) repeat this process a second time and again count the failures.
  10. Then do it a third time.

If your dog is learning easily the three numbers should show improvement and you may end up with a score such as 8/4/1 for instance.

Here is a video on that routine:


Analysing Your Results

6/2/1/    Your dog scores the 'normal' score seen in our clinics
 4/1/1   (Or better) Your dog is very smart or has been pre-trained to do this routine
 9/2/1  Your dog is likely to be very food focused and is distracted by food. Food could slow learning but if you keep up with the routine, your dog gets the message clearly
 10/10/10  At least your dog is good looking!!!
 20/10/10/2/20/5/10/3  Your dog has ADHD!!!!