Jack Takes the Dognition Test
We’ve read about Dognition, a cognition & personality assessment for your dog, since it was released early last year. It sounds like a really interesting concept – using brainteasers and puzzles, you can learn how your dog thinks. I’ve been wanting to buy it ($29 for one dog or you can purchase a subscription) but just hadn’t got around to it.
Our friend Carol over at FidoseofReality saw a FB post we made about it and asked us to team up and run it together and then compare the results for her dog Dexter with our results for Jack. Sounded like a cool idea, so here we are.
Jack is a 10 year old (maybe 9, we’re not sure) yellow Lab who we rescued 2.5 years ago from a shelter.
Dexter is a 5 year old American Cocker Spaniel. Carol got Dex when he was 9 weeks old.
The difference in age, breeding & background should make for an interesting comparison!
The Dognition test is a series of brainteasers or games to play with your dog. Since it’s based on your results, you record each test and you do each of them multiple times – just like a real experiment. They are broken down into 5 categories:
Empathy – Reading and responding to the emotions of others
- Communication – Using information from others to learn about the environment
- Cunning – Using information from others to avoid detection
- Memory – Storing past experiences to make future choices
- Reasoning – Inferring the solution to new problems
The scores from the tests within these five ‘dimensions’ as they are called, place your dog into one of nine profiles:
- Renaissance Dog
You can read all about these profiles on the Dognition website. On the site, you can get a Profile of your dog with the results and meanings of each of the games and you can also see how your dogs compare to others of their breed. It’s pretty fun. But is it accurate? Well, let’s see how Jack does.
We started with the first dimension – Empathy or reading and responding to the emotions of others. One of the tests in this series required Jack to maintain eye contact with me. I could have guessed the results of that test before we did it. Jack is very bonded and we practice eye contact all the time as part of his training. He held my gaze for over 2 minutes and the results showed that. Another test was to see if Jack would mimic me when I yawn…he didn’t, he just laid down next to me and put his head on my lap.
Here’s the chart the Dognition folks provide and show Jack’s scores for Empathy and how he compares to others who have taken the test. Looks like he’s bonded, but just behind the big up-curve on this one.
The second set of tests were on Communication or using information from others to learn about the environment. These exercises required me to place treats on the floor between markers and see if Jack would follow my gaze, or my pointing at the treats. This was a tough one since we frequently play ‘find the food’ where we place treats on the floor, so Jack uses his nose more than his eyes. He did pretty good except for the last test which required that I point to the treat with my foot…that one he didn’t pick up on at all. He’s right with the pack on this one.
Here’s a photo series of Jack on one of the communication exercises. It required him to watch me place a treat and then point to it with my finger and see if he went to it by going between the sticky notes on the floor.
The third set has to do with Cunning or using information from others to avoid detection and tests consist of you placing treats on the ground, giving a ‘leave it’ command and timing how long your dog actually leaves it. It’s get progressively harder with you turning your back and then covering your eyes. We also do the leave it command with Jack all the time, so he did well on that and left it for the entire 90 seconds, except for the very last test, I think he had enough and gobbled it up after about 30 seconds. It’s interesting to see him way to the left of the median, I’m not sure this is ‘cunning’ or rather he’s just obedient – something we’ve worked hard at with him.
The next phases of Dognition are Memory and Reasoning. These are both a bit longer, so we haven’t finished them yet but will report on them next week, so be sure to check back. Also be sure to check out FidoseofReality post on Dexter’s results.
The Dognition folks were kind enough to give me a guest pass for Jack, so a shout out to them for helping out!