Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #DiscoverYourDog campaign, sponsored by Dognition. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
If you know someone like me who loves their dog with all their heart but doesn’t quite understand them, consider giving them the gift of finding that understanding through a Dognition Yearly Membership. It may be the best gift you’ve ever given!
Those that have been with us for awhile know that for many years Leroy and I have struggled with our relationship. I use to say that we had a love/hate relationship. I never hated Leroy but I couldn’t say for sure that he felt the same way. I think one of the main reasons we had such a relationship was because we didn’t understand each other. Leroy’s a complex dog. He’s all over the place with actions and emotions and I could never get a grip on them. Over the last few years our relationship has changed and I believe that we do have a better understanding of each other but I still would like to understand him better. That’s why I was super excited to take the Dognition assessment.
What is Dognition?
Dognition is a dog cognition assessment. All dogs have a special genius, or combination of strengths and weaknesses, just like humans, that emerge in the right context. The Dognition games reveal how your dog thinks, learns, solves problems and approaches situations in the world. Here’s a little example:
The Dognition service is all about how your dog faces the world and tackles problems – that is, your dog’s cognition. By playing eye-opening, science-based games and completing an individualized personality questionnaire, you gain access to your dog’s Dognition Profile – a personalized assessment of what makes your dog unique, based on leading-edge research in the field of canine cognition.
See? This is exactly what Leroy and I need!
Leroy and I took the assessment for about 1 1/2 weeks. The whole time I was just amazed about what I was learning about him. Some things surprised me and other things were right on track with what I already thought I knew.
One of my favorite and most heart warming results was from the Empathy section.
He loves me. He really, really loves me.
According to our communications results we have some work to do because Leroy wasn’t consistent.
“It looks like Leroy tended to switch back and forth between collaborative and self-reliant strategies. Sometimes he followed your communicative gestures, but sometimes he chose to ignore them. This could be because Leroy either struggles to read your cues, or because there was a treat in both places and Leroy didn’t feel the need to look to you for help.”
I think what happened here was that Leroy was so focused on my hand that he wasn’t looking where I pointed so he was missing the cues.
In other areas Leroy did pretty well also and his working dog brain showed.
In the Cunning games, I placed a treat in front of Leroy and let him know not to take the treat. I then showed Leroy three different attentional states — watching, turning my back, and covering my eyes.
In order to be at either end of this cognitive dimension, trustworthy or wily, Leroy must show that he can tell when I’m looking, and use this information when deciding when to go for the treat. In this case, Leroy’s decision did not change no matter which attentional state I presented; he waited roughly the same amount of time in each trial.
This doesn’t mean that Leroy can’t be trusted, it just shows us that there are other internal factors influencing Leroy’s decision. That makes total sense based on Leroy’s past.
Leroy has an amazing working memory, which is a type of memory that allows your dog to keep information in mind for a few minutes and mentally manipulate it. For Leroy, out of sight is definitely not out of mind. The perfect memory you want for a working dog!
You can be very proud. Leroy just aced the most difficult games in the Assessment.
A Sherlock Holmes among dogs, Leroy was able to solve the mystery by imagining different solutions and choosing the one that made the most sense. This leads to a lot of flexibility. He can solve a new version of a problem he has seen before, and spontaneously solve new problems he has never seen before. This is a sign of true genius.
Goes with the fact that Newfoundlands are a smart breed.
Put all this together and Leroy is put in the category of a Renaissance Dog
The Renaissance Dog is good at a little bit of everything.
Although his performance in the different games may vary, overall Leroy showed accomplished social skills and solid independent problem solving. Rather than being a specialist with a single expertise, Leroy is a generalist. While others focus on the proverbial tree, Leroy can see the entire forest.
Here’s a bit more information On Dognition in case you want to try for yourself or give it as a gift to someone this holiday:
What does Dognition cost?
For a one-time assessment of how your dog thinks, you can purchase our “Dognition Assessment” for $19. That includes an online questionnaire, a set of science-based games you can play at home, and an in-depth report detailing your dog’s cognitive profile. An ongoing monthly membership, which provides you with new personalized activities, games and advice as well as special offers (Dognition Deals), is $9 per month. If you purchase the Dognition Assessment Toolkit and 12 months of membership as a bundle, it’s only $79.
What does Dognition achieve?
At the individual level, Dognition gives owners a window into their dogs’ minds, creating greater understanding and deeper, more rewarding connections. Because each dog has a unique way of solving life’s everyday challenges, Dognition helps you discover exactly how your dog thinks and engage on anew level. It’s not an IQ test.
On a larger scale, Dognition aims to contribute to the greater good of all canines. Individual assessment results are collected anonymously through Dognition.com, allowing the company and researchers to make further explorations. Dognition subscribers have access to these real-time discoveries and research results—giving them heightened perspective on their own dogs and what makes them special.
What does science have to do with this?
Dognition is a citizen science company. That means when you complete the games, your dog’s results help to advance the study of dog cognition! To expand its citizen science mission, Dognition just launched a new research partnership with, EmbarkVet, a world leader in dog DNA testing, to conduct the largest dog behavioral genetics study to date, looking at genetics and cognition in 5,000 purebred and mixed breed dogs. The research will offer unprecedented insights into dog behavior, health, breeding, nutrition, training and much more.
I honestly think that this is an amazing assessment. I didn’t use Sherman for this because I feel like I know Sherman pretty well. I know that Sherman is smart, devoted to me and has a great memory because we play memory games all the time. Leroy’s not as obvious and his past of being a rebel is still fresh in my mind.
So what area would your like to see your dog tested in? What area do you think your dog would score the highest in?