What Happens When Scientists Recruit 500 Dog Owners and Their Pups

Every day we wonder why our dogs act and respond the way they do. You may wonder what exactly goes on inside the mind of your pup. It's an endless mystery that researchers have only begun to understand. Well recently a study took place at the Canine Cognition Center at Duke and what they discovered is intriguing.

After gathering five hundred citizen scientists and their dogs, Brian Hare put together a series of problem-solving games that everyone did with their pooches. What they discovered was not all black and white. It turns out that not every dog is alike with how they think. Just like people have different personalities and thoughts, so do dogs.

Dognition.com collected the data, and later researchers were able to review the results. With the results now gathered, Hare said something very intriguing. He compared the results to ice cream. He said that every pooch prefers a different flavor of ice cream, which makes each doggie inherently unique. You can read more about the findings on Science Daily.

I couldn't agree more with Hare's findings, and I'm sure in the future the tests he puts together will continue to unmask fascinating facts and research about our pups. As researchers continue to reveal what goes on in the mind of a dog, an owner will be able to understand better his furry best friend.

Josh G. / Via Flickr

Five hundred citizen scientists around the world have contributed data to a study of what goes on inside the minds of their dogs.

The research, appearing Sept. 16 in PLoS ONE, analyzes data collected by 500 dog owners who played the same games at home that researchers use in the laboratory to find out about a dog's cognitive skills and problem-solving.

For example, in one of the game-like tests, dogs were found to rely more on their memory than their sense of smell to find a hidden treat.

The data were collected through a website called Dognition.com that was developed by Brian Hare. Hare is also the founder of the Canine Cognition Center at Duke.

More than 17,000 dog owners from downtown Durham to Finland have signed up through Dognition and are sharing their data with the researchers.

“Most people think of intelligence as glass that is more or less full,” Hare said. “But intelligence is more like ice cream. Everybody has different flavors. Being good at one thing doesn't mean you will be good at everything else.”

“‘So much is possible when you have this much data,” Hare said. “I'm looking forward to dog owners answering all the big questions that have puzzled scientists for decades.”

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