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Is Your Dog a Genius? This Test May Have the Answer

A Duke University professor says he’s found a way to measure a dog's intelligence.
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Ever wonder, “Is my dog a genius?”

The answer is, “Yes!” according to Brian Hare.

“The question we ask at Dognition is ‘What kind of genius does your dog have?’” he says.

Hare, a Duke University professor and creator of “Dognition,” says his doggie IQ test helps pet owners discover what their canine companions are really thinking.

“When we think about intelligence, we remember our own experience where we were labeled with a number — you got a 1200 on your SAT,” he explains. “This is more like a Meyers-Briggs, where you find out what profile you have.”

Dognition uses a series of simple games to test dogs on their empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reason. The games can be purchased online for $19 and played at home. One empathy assessment, for example, looks at how long a dog can hold eye contact with its owner. Some of the memory games, meanwhile, use cups and treats to see how well dogs remember where goodies are hidden.

Then, Dognition uses the test results to sort dogs into one of nine different categories: from problem-solving “Experts” to clever “Charmers” to independent-minded “Mavericks.”

“People learn about their own dog, but at the same time they're contributing to the greater good by helping us learn about all dogs,” Hare says.

More than 20,000 people have played the Dognition games, and Hare and his team are using that data in a soon-to-be published research paper examining canine intelligence.

“We're making all sorts of exciting discoveries,” he says. “Trainers are using Dognition to improve how they train dogs. Shelters are using Dognition to help adopt out dogs to families.”

Call it playtime — with a purpose.

“It's trying to have people understand who their dog really is.”