Jack Takes the Dognition Test

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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.



SlimDoggy contemplates cognition…


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 looks ready for the "test".

Dexter looks ready for the “test”.


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:

  1. Empathy – Reading and responding to the emotions of others
  2. Communication – Using information from others to learn about the environment
  3. Cunning – Using information from others to avoid detection
  4. Memory – Storing past experiences to make future choices
  5. 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:

  1. Ace
  2. Maverick
  3. Charmer
  4. Socialite
  5. ProtoDog
  6. Renaissance Dog
  7. Expert
  8. Stargazer
  9. Einstein

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!




We are joining the new Thursday Barks & Bytes Blog Hop Co-hosted by our friends at 2Brown Dogs and Heart Like a Dog. Grab the badge and join the fun!




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  1. We read about Dexter the other day. So glad Jack passed, he is a good boy! Funny too as my post today is also on intelligence 🙂 I just don’t have any firm answers!
    emma recently posted…What Makes A Dog Intelligent? | GBGV | Barks and BytesMy Profile

    • Well, Jack’s not finished yet, so there’s still a chance…no actually, they say there are no right or wrong answers. But there’s certainly expectations as to how you think your dog is going to react. You should try it – it was fun.
      mkob recently posted…Jack Takes the Dognition TestMy Profile

  2. That is so interesting. I can guess how each of my dogs would do but actually testing might be something fun to try. I do wonder how much training plays into some of those things but I guess you are trying to see if their nature trumps training.

    Being hunting dogs, ours tend to use their noses over their eyes, just like Jack. We work on them using both all of the time. I bet they would not do well on that portion of the test. lol

    Thanks so much for joining Barks and Bytes!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–Battle Of The BedMy Profile

    • It has been lots of fun – you would enjoy it. I can’t wait to try it on Maggie as I know she is going to do much different than Jack.
      mkob recently posted…Jack Takes the Dognition TestMy Profile

  3. Thanks for joining the Barks and Bytes blog hop!!

    Those are interesting results but I like your thought process of is it cunning or is he simply obedient? One should always question things of this nature. And then there is always the “just because a dog can, does not mean he will.” 🙂
    Jodi recently posted…Thursday Barks and Bytes – Coyote UglyMy Profile

    • I guess, maybe I shouldn’t think of ‘cunning’ as a negative thing – it isn’t necessarily. They define it as “Using information from others to avoid detection”…well some dogs just don’t care if they get detected 😉
      mkob recently posted…Jack Takes the Dognition TestMy Profile

  4. Wow that’s so interesting!!
    I’ve never really seen anything like that!
    ((Husky hugz))
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Thoughtless Thursday ✴My Profile

  5. Very interesting! I’m certainly curious to see where Moses and Alma would fall on the Dognition scales, but I’m also incredibly cheap. I’ll see what you guys think of it in the meantime, though.
    Jen K recently posted…What To Do If You’re Scared of DogsMy Profile

  6. I would like to show my staff that I’m Mr. Easy-stein :o) Thanks for an interesting post, I can’t wait to hear more next week. Good luck Jack!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog EASY COME…My Profile

  7. Hi Y’all!

    Oh that sounds like a fun game to me!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Just a Few Barks, No Bites, ah, BytesMy Profile

  8. I actively train and reward for some of those components in the test so I’m not sure how accurate the results would be. Like leave it and eye contact. Plus I point to things a lot. I’ve left the room for a couple of minutes leaving Mr. N with his food (and raw is high value) and he will be waiting when I get back. As for Onyxx, he wouldn’t even wait for me to turn my back!

    • I’m going to look on the site and see what they say about the impact of training on some of the exercises. Little Onyxx, what a devil 😉
      mkob recently posted…Jack Takes the Dognition TestMy Profile

  9. Yea Jack you did great! Gman on the other hand would fail fail fail. Can’t wait for the rest and how nice of the company to get him a free pass 🙂
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And BytesMy Profile

    • They insist there is no right or wrong answer – you just score somewhere along that scale – G’man would just score high on the Cunning scale I think 😉
      mkob recently posted…Jack Takes the Dognition TestMy Profile

  10. We are getting very curious to do this test, it looks very interesting
    YourSpecialdog recently posted…The unlucky Akita | Animal Rescue AlbaniaMy Profile

  11. I enjoyed doing the tests with my dog Lucy. I wrote about it too: http://americanhikingdog.com/2013/11/24/learning-more-about-lucy/
    Kevin recently posted…Why We HikeMy Profile

  12. Jack, you are doing great and we are so thrilled to be paw-ticipating in this with you. I can’t wait to get involved in the remaining categories and compare results. Many wags!
    Carol Bryant recently posted…Getting Inside Your Dog’s Mind with DognitionMy Profile

  13. What fun! I remember when this was about to be a real thing, wondering why I’d spend money on it. But it looks pretty comprehensive. Impressive, Jack! Can’t wait to see how he does with the rest.
    Flea recently posted…Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog TailsMy Profile

  14. I have been thinking about trying Dognition too! I watched a news segment about it a few months ago and it really peaked my interest. After reading about Jack and Dexter, I just might have to try it out!
    Beagles and Bargains recently posted…Keeping Beagle Ears Clean with PurOtic + GIVEAWAYMy Profile

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