The authors investigated differences between female and male pet dogs in physical cognition using an object manipulation task. Subjects (24 females and 23 males of different breeds) had to open a box in order to obtain a food reward during 3 consecutive trials, and latency times before success were measured. Males were significantly more successful in opening the box during the first trial. However, this sex difference was inversed when successful individuals were retested. During the following 2 trials, females were more successful than males, indicating that they were able to improve their skills more quickly once they had managed to succeed for a first time. Sex-specific dynamics in repeated problem-solving tasks might be an important contributor to individual differences in cognitive performance of pet dogs.