Like many people, FOX8 News Anchor Katie Nordeen spends every day with her beloved pet — in her case, a Golden Retriever named Louie. But Louie is a bit of a stranger.
“Everybody wants to understand what’s going on inside of a dog’s head,” said Dr. Brian Hare, a scientist from Duke University who studies dog psychology. “It has not been hard to get people excited about this.”
Dr. Hare is the founder of Dognition, a research firm that promises to help participants better understand their dogs through a series of science-based games. The Dognition website has been around for about a year, but according to Dr. Hare, it already has thousands of users from around the world.
Despite all of the interest, this type of science is relatively new.
“Dogs were thought to be totally unremarkable. There were really no interesting things they could do relative to say dolphins or bonobos, so people were focusing on this other animals,” Dr. Hare said. “But at our feet, literally, were geniuses that had been undiscovered.”
According to Dognition, there are nine types of dog genius: Ace, Maverick, Charmer, Socialite, Protodog, Renaissance Dog, Expert, Stargazer, and Einstein.
“What makes dogs such geniuses is that, relative to other species, they’re really skilled, really flexible, in understanding what it is we want and what we’re trying to tell them,” Dr. Hare said.
Although searching the website’s data is free, the Dognition toolkit costs $39. Participants need treats (or a toy), a few sticky notes and two plastic cups.
Over the course of two weeks, Katie and Louie finished the games at home, and received their report within seconds. According to Dognition, Louie is a “Socialite.” To put it simply, that means Louie is a friend to all as a means of getting what he wants in life.
“Your dog, as it’s interacting with you, may be reliant on a strategy that you’re not aware of, or it’s really different from other dogs,” Dr. Hare said. “It’s what makes your dog so special. It celebrates your dog as an individual and it helps you understand your dog better.”
Read Louie’s report here: https://www.dognition.com/portal/dogs/louie-nordeen/report