Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dognition

It's Training Tips Tuesday! Over the past few decades I've learned that the best way to train dogs (or people for that matter) is to teach to the way the student learns. It's easier than it sounds! What are their motivations -- Food? Toys? Affection? What is the easiest way for them to process the information -- Seeing? Hearing? Doing? What do they already know that you can build upon? How easily do they get frustrated?

Every one of my dogs was different. Pepper was extremely food motivated. She was very smart and picked things up quickly. She was also a bit stubborn and it was difficult to break bad habits. Logan had a strong prey drive. Food meant nothing but a squeaky toy was gold. Logan was a gentle soul and would shut down if you raised your voice.

I'm still trying to figure out Jedi. I often look into Jedi's eyes and wonder what's going on in there. Sometimes I think he's smarter than I am, and sometimes I question whether he's thinking at all! So when I saw an advertisement for Dognition I just knew I was going to do it.

Dognition gives you a profile on you dog based on a series of exercises that you and your dog do together. These games test five separate areas: Empathy, Communication, Cunning, Memory and Reasoning. Jedi's results looked like this:
 
 
Dogs are presented various puzzles, then placed into one of nine different profiles based on actions during the games. Jedi was classified as a Socialite. The individual report was 14 pages long -- wow! -- and stated that:
 
Although Jedi is not as adept at independent problem-solving skills as other dogs, don't jump to any conclusions about his intelligence. Jedi relies on a very specific strategy -- using you and other humans in his pack to get what he wants. Judging from his performance in the social games, we suspect that most of the time this strategy succeeds.

Trust me, I didn't need to pay the $29 fee to be told that! But it was surprising to see how he figured out certain puzzles -- or not. For an additional $9 monthly fee Dognition will send me training tips and activities geared towards Jedi's way of thinking. I'm seriously considering it! (Don't tell Hubby.)

How about you? Think your dog is an Ace, a Maverick, a Charmer? Could he be an Einstein, a Renaissance Dog or a Socialite like Jedi? What about an Expert, a Protodog or a Stargazer? If you test your dog let me know! -- K