5 Ways to Test Your Dog’s Intelligence

Trusted Columbus dog walkers testing your pup's intelligence

Obviously your pup is the cutest, smartest, best behaved dog to ever exist! But have you ever wanted to test just how smart your fur baby truly is? Just like humans, dogs can be smart in many different ways. Luckily, there are lots of fun tests to assess your pup’s intelligence! After all the exciting adventures we’ve had with pups, our dog walkers in Columbus have determined that there’s definite ways to test canine intellect. Let’s dive into our guide to discover the hidden genius in your beloved fur baby!

Basic Signs of Pup Intellect

Every dog has baseline intelligence, a fundamental cognitive capacity that shapes their understanding of the world around them. This foundational intelligence is evident in their ability to grasp basic commands, like responding to their name or coming when called. Dogs, by nature, possess an instinctual intelligence that allows them to sniff out treats and navigate their environment. For domesticated puppies, this baseline intelligence takes on an adaptive quality, with those raised within a consistent family environment showcasing a notable proficiency in learning and problem-solving.

Recent studies also suggest that dogs exhibit emotional intelligence, demonstrating an understanding of human emotions and responding empathetically. This is shown in the way dogs offer comfort to their owners during distress. Beyond the rudimentary skills, a dog’s baseline intelligence is also reflected in more nuanced behaviors, such as seeking affection through deliberate actions, initiating play, and demonstrating problem-solving abilities with activities like solving puzzle toys.

Three Common Types of Intelligence

Instinctive intelligence 

Instinctive intelligence, or breed intelligence, is an inherent skill set that dogs are born with, shaped by their breed’s historical purpose. Our Columbus dog walkers frequently walk hounds known for their exceptional scent-tracking abilities. Their innate talent for following scents is a prime example of instinctive intelligence at work, though, sometimes it leads to uncontrollable pulling issues while out on strolls.

Similarly, companion dogs, which we also often care for as pet sitters and dog walkers in Columbus, display a remarkable sensitivity to human emotions. Their ability to read and respond to our feelings is instinctual, making them excellent companions for people seeking emotional support and connection.

Guard dogs, another group we encounter, exhibit a natural propensity for protection and vigilance. Their instinct to watch over and safeguard their environment and people is a testament to their breed’s intelligence. This protective instinct makes them invaluable as both family pets and working dogs.

Retrievers, popular in so many Columbus neighborhoods, demonstrate their breed’s intelligence through their love for fetching and retrieving. This instinct goes back to their historical role in hunting, where they were bred to retrieve game. Their enthusiasm and skill in fetch and similar activities during our walks highlight their inherent abilities.

Adaptive intelligence

Adaptive intelligence in dogs is their ability to learn and solve problems based on their experiences. It’s about how they apply what they’ve learned to new or changing situations. This type of intelligence is one our dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio encounter the most often; the pups have developed many clever ways to communicate their needs and desires. Some have mastered the art of catching our attention, using specific barks, nudges, or even leading us to what they want.

Another classic example of adaptive intelligence that we frequently notice is how dogs remember where treats are stored. They not only recall the location but also often find ingenious ways to indicate their desire for a treat. This ability demonstrates not just memory but also their understanding of how to engage with us to fulfill their needs.

Perhaps the most remarkable display of adaptive intelligence we witness is a dog’s ability to discern different types of outings. They can often tell the difference between a routine walk in their favorite Columbus park and a less exciting trip, like a visit to the vet. This understanding is not just about recognizing patterns but also about interpreting human behavior and environmental cues.

Working Intelligence

Working or obedience intelligence is exactly what it sounds like!

Working intelligence in dogs is evident when they quickly grasp new commands or excel in training environments. They stand out due to their ability to pick up new tricks and commands with ease. This aptitude isn’t just about memorizing commands; it’s about understanding and responding to them, which is a testament to their mental agility and willingness to learn.

Dogs with high working intelligence are often a joy to walk and interact with, as noted by our dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio. They respond promptly to routine commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and even more complex ones. This ability makes them not only delightful companions but also ensures their safety and the safety of others during walks. They’re often the dogs that can masterfully navigate the busy sidewalks of Columbus or calmly handle the bustling environments of popular Columbus pet places.

Fun Ways to Test Your Pup’s Intelligence

Curious about your pup’s intelligence levels? Explore their cognitive prowess with a variety of engaging activities that provide such insight. Remember not to overwhelm your furry friend by attempting all these tests in one go. The key is to make these challenges enjoyable and rewarding, ensuring your dog receives ample affection, pets, and, of course, treats!

If you successfully navigate these tests and decide to integrate them into your dog’s regular routine, you’ll discover significant advantages, especially in terms of training. Our pet sitters in Columbus, Ohio can leverage these tests to not only entertain but also to stimulate the innate and acquired intelligence of the pets under their care. Whether your dog effortlessly masters these challenges or needs a bit of encouragement, one thing remains certain – they are undeniably fur-bulous!

The Towel Test

Cover your dog’s head with a towel or blanket and time how long it takes for them to free themselves. This test evaluates their problem-solving skills and adaptive intelligence, gauging their ability to navigate closed-in spaces.

The Cup Test

Arrange three cups face down and hide a treat under one of them. Distract your dog for a minute, then bring them back to see if they can remember the cup with the treat. This test assesses both adaptive and instinctive intelligence, adding an element of memory recall to the mix.

The Rearrangement Test

If your dog has a favorite spot, move their preferred furniture to another part of the room while they’re away. Challenge them to locate their go-to spot, evaluating their problem-solving abilities.

The Treat Test

Place a treat under furniture that allows your dog to use only their paw to retrieve it. The speed at which they retrieve the treat reflects their problem-solving skills, showcasing their ability to use their physical attributes strategically.

The Door Test

Utilize the layout of your home, especially if you have a fence, to test your pup’s problem-solving skills. Let them out from one door and close it, then open a different door for them to return. Observe whether they rely on your guidance or independently find an alternative entry point.



Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. I'm the proud owner of Columbus's own Hands N Paws, started in 2018 to bring joy to pet parents. See you in the next post!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.


It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 


To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources. Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.


To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.


All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.


In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.


Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.


For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.


The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 


Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.


To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com. Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.


Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

Non-Ongoing Services: For services not scheduled as ongoing, a 50% down-payment will be charged on the day the services are accepted and confirmed. An invoice will be sent immediately. Client has until the date of the last confirmed service to manually pay the remaining balance on the invoice. If manual payment is not made, the remaining total will be automatically charged to the card on file on the date of the last service day on that invoice.

Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.


When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.


Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.


This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.