How smart is your dog?

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by BEN THOMPSON / WCNC

KING

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Updated Thursday, May 23 at 2:40 PM

DURHAM, N.C. -- A small North Carolina company is getting global attention for unlocking the formula to how dogs think. 

Dognition was founded a few months ago, employs about 25 people, and fills hip office space in converted tobacco factory.  It’s been featured in Wired Magazine, Huffington Post, and it was the focus of the most-emailed New York Times article a few weeks ago.

One of the founders is Brian Hare, professor at Duke University and author of the new book “The Genius of Dogs.”  

Hare spent years doing clinical studies inside Duke laboratories exploring dog behavior.  He wanted to allow pet owners to do the same thing in their living rooms.

“So that's what it’s really about. Taking the best science over the last 10 years, and letting people in their own homes, play these science-based games and learn about their dog and what makes them an individual," he said.

The Dognition website provides users a questionnaire, games, and tests to explore a dog’s reasoning, memory, empathy, cunning, and communication. The basic service costs $39.  Afterward, the user gets a 15-page report explaining their dog’s specific profile.  There are nine profiles that come with names like “Socialite”, “Maverick”, and “Einstein.” 

“Profiles that are produced are gonna tell us much more about your dog and its behavior than anything you're gonna learn than from saying, 'Oh, my dog is a Pug or Golden Retriever,’" said Hare.

Users of the website can further explore their dog’s cognition using specific training tips and games, applicable to its profile type.  

The group of scientists associated with Dognition can also use the massive trove of dog data collected on the website to learn about all dogs, on a broader scale, than if they conducted the research alone.

“I think people are really excited…  Dogs are really important part of people's lives now.  And so to give them a little bit more joy, and figure out what makes their dog tick, it’s a real pleasure,” said Hare.

For more information, you can go to www.dognition.com
 

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