The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

February 11, 2013

Slate: A $60 app probes your dog's intellect

(Continued)

After you finish the quizzes and games in Dognition, your results beam into Durham, get knocked through several algorithms, and come back to you in the form of a 15-page report on the intricacies of Benjy's cognitive style. It sounds enthralling. But — "No IQ score?" I asked Hare on the phone. He explained that dog intelligence, like human, is fluid and non-hierarchal. (He doesn't think people should get IQ scores, either.) You can't slap a number on a canine forehead or arrange pooches along a continuum from the Aristotles to the dropouts.

What you can do is suss out your pup's "mental strategy." Take one of the games in the Dognition playbook. Two cups are placed upside down on the floor. One has a morsel of food under it — and your dog knows it, because you've just lifted the rim up to show him. But then you let go of his collar and point to the cup without the food. If Benjy is primarily empathic, he trusts you and will follow your finger. If he relies on memory to make decisions, chances are he'll gravitate toward the cup with the treat.

This could help you finally solve some of your canine's behavioral problems. "One-size-fits-all training ignores the fact that dogs are individuals," Hare says. "Trainers could use Dognition to give owners tailored recommendations." Like what? He invites me to imagine a hypothetical puppy that doesn't seem to be catching onto basic commands. Perhaps, rather than being dim, she's a cunning operator who obeys orders only when she thinks her owner's watching (i.e., once the front door slams, chewing on the couch leg is fair game). Knowing such details about your dog might help you sympathize, design a better teaching program, and ultimately not end up resentful and with no furniture.

On the other hand, veterinarian Sarah Bowman of Washington D.C.'s City Paws Animal Hospital doubts that pet owners need a pricey program like Dognition to sniff out basic facts about their four-legged friends. "If your dog is a socialite or loves to have a job to do," she says, "you've probably already noticed that."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014