Posted by: Linda Trunell | December 22, 2013

Canine Cognition

Recently I attended a webinar given by Dr. Brian Hare* on Canine Cognition. Dr. Hare discussed the cognitive approach to training and the work being done by the Duke Canine Cognition Center, his book “The Genius of Dogs”, and Dognition.

Dr. Hare says that cognition is about solving problems you’ve never seen before.  Instead of just assigning one number as a measure of intelligence, a cognitive approach to learning measures intelligence in different ways.

You can be a part of this research while discovering the genius of your dog!  You can join at   The fun, cognitive science-based games help you learn about and connect with your dog, while contributing to the greater good of all dogs.

Register your dog(s) and then play science-based games in the comfort of your own home. You record your dog’s responses with the online tool and you will get a detailed Dognition profile report. You can also compare your dog’s responses with those of other dogs.

The games measure empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reasoning. These five dimensions place your dog in one of 9 Dognition Profiles.


Max and I have done the Yawn Game and the Eye Contact Game. So far, I have learned that The Empathy Spectrum ranges from individualistic to bonded and Max scored right in the middle of the spectrum. This means he is “quite bonded” to me “but by no means afraid to be his own individual”.  (I love a dog who thinks for himself!) We will be doing ten other games in the toolkit and I’m curious to find out more about how Max scores.

We live in exciting times when it comes to learning about our canine companions.

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,


*Dr. Brian Hare is Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina and a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which is a division of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group while at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and subsequently founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center when arriving at Duke University.

Dr. Hare has published dozens of empirical articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Proceedings of the Royal Society, Current Biology, Nature Neuroscience, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLOS Biology, Animal Behaviour, Animal Cognition and the Journal of Comparative Psychology. His publications on dog cognition are among the most heavily cited papers on dog behavior and intelligence.


  1. […] so, Pyrrha and I got to try Dognition! As soon as I heard about Dognition (thanks to a post from Linda), I knew it was something I wanted to try. I love learning about how dogs learn, and what better […]


  2. I liked your review of Dognition and thank you for the mention, Abby 🙂



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