In my never ending quest to figure out what makes Reggie tick, I tested his IQ. Well, kind of.
Dognition is a cognitive science based evaluation of your dog to better understand how they work, and then provides an individualized report for you and your dog. SOLD.
I love science. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a trend in my posts. I love anything that deconstructs the dog brain and dog breeds, and how those two things intersect (or not). It’s an obsession. I think that if I can understand how dogs learn and how they think- which differs by breed and individual- then I have a better chance of training that dog and giving that dog a better life. You don’t have to be a TV superstar with a natural affinity for dogs (which has its detractors), just someone that studies the science of dogs and applies it.
So off my diatribe and back to Reggie’s IQ. Dognition is the product, and I am referring to it as his IQ but really a better label is a strengths assessment. You play a series of games with your dog in the categories of empathy, cunning, communication, memory, and reasoning. Within each category there is a sliding scale based on the responses to the game. For instance, in the series of communication games, depending on your dog’s responses they could be indicative of a more collaborative nature or a more self-reliant nature.
There are several games within each category. I did these with Reggie over the course of a week, and I did one category a day. Having completed the entire course now, I think it is important to do one section at a time- don’t pause in the middle of a section because many of the games build on each other. That being said, make sure it is an appropriate time of day because there are a couple sections that are longer than others and Reggie definitely got ADD and tapped out.
I was amazed at how well Reggie performed some of the tasks of the games, and how poorly he performed some of the other tasks. Some of the things that I was sure he would be a pro at- like sitting and waiting to get a treat- was an epic fail. He sat, but as soon as I put the treat on the floor he walked right over and picked it up! Cunning he is not. Fail….On the other hand, he yawns ALL the time which I never gave a second thought about. For the yawn game he whizzed through it which is apparently a big deal. His empathy scores were off the charts!
So how does all this translate? The nine categories are Ace, Charmer, Einstein, Expert, Maverick, Protodog, Renaissance Dog, Socialite, and Stargazer. Reading the one-sentence descriptions of the categories before doing the games I was convinced Reggie was a Charmer. He’s a people-dog. He loves everybody, and would rather be with people than dogs. He can’t sniff out anything even when it’s right in front him- he relies on memory, and to a certain extent sight, for everything. But there is that tennis ball problem….
Drum roll please….Reggie is a Protodog! He is a pioneer dog, like a wolf, with “budding social skills” (that’s the truth) and a strong desire to connect and communicate with humans. Hmm, that’s pretty much true. He scored off the charts for empathy and memory, which wasn’t a surprise, and for communication and reasoning he was right in the middle. Sometimes he was independent, sometimes he looked to me for clues. For cunning he was more trusting to me rather than a wily decision maker.
Overall, this was great fun and another insight into what makes Reggie tick. If nothing else it gave me a different perspective on one very important thing. I always assumed- I’ll just say it it doesn’t mean I love him any less- that Reggie was a little slow. He never seemed to use his nose which I thought was just weird for a dog. I play hide-n-seek games with him a lot and he fails, a lot. I just assumed he can’t even sniff out the hidden toy. The memory game with the hidden treat and the explanation told me a very important thing: Reggie is the type of dog that relies on memory, not smell, and that is not uncommon. He is adept at using stored memory to find his toy or treat. He’s not slow at all! He’s very smart, and uses memory very well.
Give it a whirl and see what your dog is!