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September 24, 2015

An online project allows dog owners to evaluate their dogs’ minds and contribute to scientific research.




Duke Evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare and his dog Tasmania. (Vanessa Woods)

Playing with your dog for science. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

What is your dog thinking? A citizen science project, called Dognition, aims to tell you while collecting data for researchers. In the journal PLoS ONE, Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare analyzes data gathered from hundreds of dog owners.

BRIAN HARE (Duke University):

For the first time we really will be able to look at how breed, how age, sex, all sorts of things that can impact a dog’s behavior and psychology—we can look at those things now in a really meaningful way.


The online project outlines games to play at home that test your dog’s intelligence and people skills. The team’s confirmed that dogs rely more on memory than smell when looking for previously hidden treats, and have discovered a wide range of cognitive skills canines employ for navigation and communicating with their humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Note: Dognition currently requires a paid membership to participate.