Back in April I noted with excitement the New York Times story I’d just read about Dognition — the website set up of a Duke University biological anthropologist who specializes in canine behavioral research. He made the news at the time because he and some colleagues had come up with a way to combine their scientific investigations with generating some income. For $99 a year, they were offering dog owners a chance to describe their pets using an online canine personality questionnaire. After that, you and your pet were supposed to play some “science-based games” designed to further assess your dogs’ cognitive style. From this, the researchers would create a report card. They stressed that they weren’t assessing simple intelligence but rather creating a portrait of each animal’s “cognitive strategies” in five core areas: empathy, communication, cunning, memory, and reason. What the researchers hoped to get (besides the fees) was a database that would grow and expand their knowledge over time.
It all sounded so cool I was seriously tempted to spend the money, but somehow never took the step. And a good thing I didn’t!
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from CCI announcing that the organization had formed a working partnership with Dognition. They were seeking 100 volunteers to participate. I applied and learned this morning that Dionne’s been accepted in the program!
That means, we can get her assessed for free. I’ll try to fill out the questionnaire tonight and to play the games with her asap. As soon as we get back Dionne’s report, you can expect to read about it here.