Dognition: How Smart Is Your Dog?

Most dog owners think their dogs are smart. But, how smart is your dog actually? A study by researchers at the Duke University discovered that the smartness of a dog is specific to various dog breeds. The finding pointed out it was the individual nature of a dog, not his breed, which influences his smartness.

Know how smart is your dog

“Dogs have different types of intelligence. It is not like a cup of water where they have more or less of it. This is not really about whether your dog is Einstein. It really is about whether your dog relies on you or he is an independent problem solver. Does he rely on memory or have a lot of empathy,” said Dr. Brian Hare, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at the Duke University.

The professor is also the creator of Dognition, an evolutionary method to find out how smart is your dog, which is the product of the research on the cognitive psychology of pets and their owners at the university.

The researchers used games to see how dogs solved problems. Even dogs who participated in these tests surely loved it. Findings are shared by the researchers popularized the concept of Dognition with “citizen scientists” all over the world.

“Through Dognition you are going to learn about your dog and how your dog thinks relative to other dogs, so you get something.  But when you contribute your data to the system, that data goes to a huge data set of thousands of dogs where we now can learn about all dogs,” Hare told WBTV.

The Dognition analysis involves 20 online games that test your dog’s cognitive psychology. It takes a couple of hours to complete. There are also technological safeguards to make sure you do not “cheat” by assuming that you know what your dog’s response would be.

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The findings point out that results vary for each dog. The experts say that by using Dognition, you will learn how to better interact with your dog. It also helps understand how he or she makes decisions.

Even Dr. Hare, who thought he knew a lot about his dog, learned that he scored lower on the memory tests than expected. That is when things started making sense.

“So when I say sit stay and he walks off I have a very different response now.  It’s not like ‘oh we need a lot of elbow grease and have to get in there and practice’, it’s more like a poor guy, he probably just forgot,” Dr. Hare said.

This test costs $19 for the first dog. You need to allot some time to complete all the tests. But you can complete some of the exercises when have time and then carry on with the rest later.

 See more of the sample tests here.

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