In addition to science-based research the book also offers anecdotal stories. Fellow, a German shepherd, was one dog that led to breakthrough understanding of canine intelligence back in 1928. The trainer of Fellow claimed that the dog could decipher hundreds of cues. The dog was asked by two scientists rather than the owner to perform some of these cues. The owner went into another room to make sure they were not giving away subtle tells. Fellow was asked many things including, to speak, stand close to a lady, take a walk around the room, go into the other room to retrieve gloves. The scientists concluded that the dog understood at least 68 cues!
In addition to this fascinating read, Hare and Woods established Dognition.com, a fun, but science-based website to evaluate your own dog’s intelligence. To find out scientifically how smart your canine is, it will cost you. The assessment tool kit starts at $59 and goes up to $129 or $167 depending on if you would like to sign up for a membership. All levels include a Dognition profile report which features your dog’s cognitive style. The report I sampled was a thorough 16 pages.
Hare, along with Kip Frey, the director of the Duke Law and Entrepreneurship Program, produced a video with Duke University on YouTube to explain the purpose of Dognition.com.
“The ‘Genius of Dogs,’ the book, is about all dogs and what we know about all dogs. Dognition allows you to apply that to your dog,” Frey said.
Your companion dogs could fall into nine different categories. Your dog could be considered a charmer, ace, socialite, expert, renaissance dog, protodog, stargazer, maverick or an Einstein. The renaissance dog is good at a little bit of everything, as the name suggestions and what makes a maverick successful is “a cheeky wolfishness and a strong independent streak.”