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Thread: Dognition

  1. Dognition

    A play of words, canine cognition. Dr Hare at Duke Univeristey who is head of their canine dept has come up with a series of test to help evaluate your dogs learning curve. This is just my initial impession since I was not willing to pay the 59.95 for the basic test. My wife said that I am too reactionary and closed minded. Truthfully I would like to see his work, some of the test they showed are tools we use in training our scent hounds. If any one is interested go to Dognition.

    Chris Mercer

  2. #2
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    Re: Dognition

    "Dognition" asks, how smart is your dog? - CBS News
    Another article with a video:
    Duke University Study Examines How Dogs Communicate | digtriad.com


    I dunno, Chris, Stanley Goren came out with something similar a while ago, and in looking this up, the first thing I see is little cups covering a piece of food--- no biggie, only a test of scent, which we all know is an amazing dog sensory organ... read the reviews at the bottom of above article.

    I'm all about exploring cognizance in dogs, I think they can learn much more than what their eyes or noses tell them. I wrote a letter to Dr. Hare, didn't send it, but stuck it in my drafts folder so I can look at what I wrote again.
    George Bailey

  3. #3

    Re: Dognition

    Hi there! I'm Alana, and I am a customer service rep at Dognition. Chris, thank you for starting this thread! To reply to your initial impression, the Dognition games assesses the ways your dog problem solves, interacts with people, and navigates the world--so less learning curve, and more like a Myers-Briggs assessment for dogs.

    George, thanks for your great feedback. The test of scent game assesses if your dog uses his nose or his noggin, part of our efforts in exploring when dogs use their nose or not. Our games are based off of peer-reviewed studies and are not related or similar to Stanley Coren's. If you haven't sent Dr. Hare your letter, consider it! He appreciates reading feedback and new ideas.

    I'd be happy to chat about Dognition if you have any questions. Reach out to me through this forum or through Dognition's support line (support at dognition dot com).

    One last thing, I think might interest you: one of the many great aspects of Dognition is that it is the first time that we can get enough data to compare breeds cognitively and discover what really makes Pitbulls different from other breeds. In science, as in life, the more dogs the better!

  4. Re: Dognition

    Alana, glad to hear from you and that your program is up and running. Would like to hear more about the program. Are their currently any canine related courses offered or lectures one might attend. As an eastern Carolinian this would interest me and several others in my area. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Chris Mercer

  5. #5

    Re: Dognition

    Hi Chris, thanks for the kind words! Dognition is a cognition and personality assessment for your dog--much like a Myers-Briggs assessment for dogs. You'll play 5 sets of games that will cover empathy, communication, cunning, memory, and reasoning. After all the fun with gameplay, you'll receive a 10-15 page in-depth report about your dog's cognitive approach--so how your dog problem solves, interacts with people, and navigates the world. You get personalized results about your dog, including the ability to compare your dog to all dogs (or other criteria, like breed group, gender, age, etc), but you are also helping Dognition amass the largest canine cognition database that will help all dogs. We can then answer questions about breed comparisons as well as other questions that will help trainers, vets, service organizations, scientists, and others alike.

    In regards to canine related courses, there's a Coursera course in the works that Dr. Brian Hare (one of the leading canine cognition scientists) would be teaching about canine cognition. As well, you might be interested in his and Vanessa Woods' book, The Genius of Dogs. It details the findings of all the peer-reviewed studies on canine cognition in the last century (though there weren't many before the last decade!)

  6. #6
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    Re: Dognition

    Thank you for responding, Alana.

    As a trainer who has actively trained for obedience competitions for over three decades, I have been involved in working with the cognizance dogs already possess for the past decade. While dogs still think like dogs, I think one of the problems in assessing dog intelligence is more a problem of how we teach them. I have found they are capable of learning a great amount of information as well as concepts if we teach them and give them information in a way they can understand.

    So my definition of an intelligent dog would be one who could not only find a piece of food, but one who could correctly indicate to me (for instance) three different types of food as I asked for each individually, because I would be able to quickly teach my dog this. If I had a scent hound as Chris does, I might initially teach it to identify and indicate bear, deer, and coon scent before beginning field work. Since dogs are expert at scent, the only way we would have to point the odds in our favor of the dog finding the coon and not running deer, for instance, would be in a controlled setting with these scents outside of the field.

    I think traits like perseverence and trainability are important to explore, and I appreciate that Dr. Hare and the people at Dognition are devising methods to test canine cognizance. Other points to consider are individual breeds and groups, breed function, whether a particular individual still meets those standards, and environmental stimuli or lack of. I believe you would find much different results in dogs coming from any working venue, to pet dogs, and the quality of the particular breeding program - or lack of. For instance, Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs was based on the opinions of dog show judges, not trainers. Afghans were maybe last on the list, and yet, they have Obedience Trial Champions. The judges can only judge what is shown to them. Data is influenced by the test group.
    George Bailey

  7. Re: Dognition

    I confess I had to look up Myers and Briggs, with my somewhat limited attention span I was able to grasp the parameters and certainly the application this has in both dogs and humans. I'm not sure where I fit in. I would gladly donate dogs and time to such a study given the test are done by researchers in a neutral setting. I have twelve hounds with varying personality types and learning ability for their designed job. Some are early starters and some never do. I have jumped to the conclusion that " dumb dog " may just be a failure to communicate. In scent/tree hounds the training may be possible without the hard wired prey drive but unfortunately these are not the dogs that excel because of prey drive they tend to quit sooner. This same drive often makes them difficult to train as they often ignore outside influences, where as a more biddable dog with food drive will gladly solicit behaviors in an attempt to please. I do see where the Myers and Briggs personality assessment would be beneficial in establishing training methods. Alana look forward to hearing more from you.

    Chris Mercer

  8. #8

    Re: Dognition

    George, I agree! I especially agree that data is influenced by the test group. One of the things I love about Dognition is that our database has all types of dogs, from working dogs to pet dogs. You also touch on something that I personally wish more people knew about: those lists that rank breeds by their intelligence have no scientific literature to back them up. Those are based on opinion, not science. And Chris, I agree--there are no "dumb" dogs--just a failure to communicate. I'm so pleased to hear when people write into Dognition to say how helpful the Dognition profile reports have been in helping them communicate better with their dog and that it makes training a more efficient process.

    Happy to talk more. :smiles:

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