By Dave Stancliff
I’m pretty sure my two pugs are socialites, but the only way to know for sure is to visit Dognition.com, a website that helps people find the genius in their dogs.
Dognition.com is a business venture and research project with the stated mission of helping people determine the cognitive traits of their canines. They claim to sort out the cognitive traits - hold on to that thought for a second - of any dog. This knowledge of Fido’s brain is supposed to help pet owners cater to their needs.
As we all know, pet owners will do anything - absolutely anything - to make their pets happy. And if it means thinking outside the box, no problem.
The folks at Dognition.com explain they aren’t testing to see how smart your Boston Terrier or German Sheppard is. Duke Neuroscientist Brian Hare, one of the new venture’s founders, told NBC news recently, “Dognition.com is ultimately about people finding out about their dog’s minds.”
I’m pretty sure of what’s on both of my pugs minds most of time, but I’m still sharing this information in case you might have a disconnect with your dog and want to correct it.
For example, my youngest pug, Molly - nine-months old - is a mindless little reactionary racked with jealousy (she has to live with another dog) and separation anxiety every time I leave the house. I still love her.
Molly tolerates our other pug, Millie - 9 years-old - only because my wife and I have made it clear Millie comes with her new home. Molly’s ability to get between Millie and me is nothing short of diabolic at times! And very obvious.
I agree with the folks at Dognition.com who claim dogs are geniuses when it comes to figuring out what humans try to tell them.
Researchers have long said that dogs and humans are locked in a co-evolutionary embrace that began thousands of years ago. Last month a research team announced that canine digestive systems have adapted to the relatively starchy diet served up by humans. If that isn’t proof of our close relationship with canines I don’t know what is.
Back to the research project: the concept of dognition dates back to 1995. It’s not just the fad of the day for pet owners. Having said that, I’m in no way endorsing the business of getting a profile of your dog’s mental habits.
In the overall scheme of things, I’d rather spend the $60 the website charges for that detailed profile of your dog on food and medicine. Still, it’s interesting how much time and research these folks have put into what goes through a pooch’s skull.
Their stated intent is they want people to know that no matter how ugly a dog is, it can be an amazing pet and friend. Well, okay. Again, no news to me. I agree some dogs are more pleasing to the eye than others, but inside they’re all beautiful.
I have to admit I’m curious about which of the eight different canine archetypes - according to Dognition research - my pugs fit into. Here are the possibilities: Ace, Stargazer, Maverick, Socialite, Protodog, Einstein, Expert or Renaissance Dog.
Millie may be a Stargazer, but I’m pretty sure both of my pugs are Socialites. You should see them at their groomers! They love visiting other dogs, regardless of breed. I just wish more people were like that!
I’m not going to get into which animal is smarter - a dog or a cat, in this column. Pet owners are polarized on the subject, much like the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
No. Instead I’ll take the high road and keep making mental notes about what my pugs like or don’t like. I won’t subject them to an assessment test where someone pigeonholes them into a category. I don’t see any social problems with my plucky pugs. I also suspect most pet owners have already figured out what makes their dogs happy without paying someone to analyze them.
Still, if you’re interested in Dognition don’t let me discourage you. I understand that owners who’ve had their dogs tested and categorized with the Canine Assessment Tests offered by the website have a Facebook Page where they can brag about their Renaissance Dogs!
Yes, it’s a strange world and pet owners tend to be a little warped when it comes to pleasing their four-legged friends. But who cares? The joy pets provide easily offsets any bad habits.
As It Stands, Fact for the day - The American Pet Products Association estimates Americans will spend $52.87 billion this year on their pets.