This morning Steve and I began administering the Dognition “toolkit games” to Dionne. What we’ve learned so far: it’s WORK!
We spent at least an hour giving her the tests for “Empathy,” “Communication,” and half the tests for “Cunning” (although the Dognition site said that each one of those would take about 10 minutes.) But for each one there was a video to watch, followed by a practice session, followed by a number of trials for which the data was logged. And we often had to do some set-up: putting Post-it notes on certain spots on the ground, for example. Getting treats organized. Maybe the professor and his grad students can administer each test in 10 minutes. But we sure couldn’t.
Steve was reading the directions and recording Dionne’s responses on my computer; Dionne and I carried out the instructions. After we had completed all the tasks in the Empathy and Communication modules, we got a little summary of how she did. But the summaries kind of baffled us! In one of the Empathy tests, for example, I had to yawn every 5 seconds for a while. Then we had to observe her for 90 seconds to see if she yawned. She never yawned. And yet the program told us that she scored on the empathic side.
The series of tests assessing “What’s the best way to communicate with Dionne?” were intriguing — but also baffling. Most of them involved putting treats on the ground to my right or left (or both), pointing to one, calling her, and seeing which side she came to. I was instructed to do this by pointing with my finger and then by pointing with my foot. She didn’t responded to the pointing every time, but she did often — or so I thought. But the program responded, “In the Communication games, Dionne exhibited traits from both the collaborative and self-reliant sides of the spectrum. However, this may change as she finishes the Memory games ahead. What we know so far is that Dionne may prefer to use your gestures in some cases, while making her own decision in other cases. We’ll see what happens when she is faced with more complex problems.”
We haven’t finished all the Cunning games, but what we saw didn’t exactly come as a shock. When I put down a treat on the ground, told her to Stay, and watched her, she obeyed for almost a full minute. But when I did the same things but turned my back after telling her to stay, she advanced upon the treat much sooner. When I repeated it and covered my eyes, she ignored the Stay command earlier still.
After that, we all needed a break. But Steve and I will finish up the Cunning tests, as well as the ones for Memory and Reasoning. (I do hope we get some kind of an overall assessment and explanation once we do!)
|She may be Cunning. But she’s also pretty cute.|