Didja hear the one about the blonde Fox News anchorwoman who took her golden retriever to get an IQ test?
While that has all the ingredients for a pretty good joke, it’s actually the basis of a pretty informative news report, in which Fox 8′s Katie Nordeen brought her dog Louie to Duke University scientist Brian Hare to find out just exactly what type of dog genius he — Louie, not Dr. Hare — is.
Hare, co-author of “The Genius of Dogs,” is the founder of Dognition, a research firm that puts dogs through a series of science-based games designed to assess their personality type — information that Hare says can help dog owners better understand their dogs.
Users of the service (it costs $39) don’t get to bring their dog to Hare, as Nordeen did, but get a “toolkit” and instructions on how to conduct the experiments in their own homes.
The experiments measure five dimensions: cunning, empathy, communication, reasoning and memory, and by virtue of the results, dogs are judged to be one of nine types – Ace, Maverick, Charmer, Socialite, Protodog, Renaissance Dog, Expert, Stargazer, or Einstein.
Customers, after submitting their test results, receive a full report explaining their dog’s type, and how the conclusion was reached.
Louie, for example, was found to be a socialite. (You can read Dognition’s full report on Louie here.)
“… Gracefully interacting and communicating with others requires talent. In Louie’s case, she takes this talent to a whole new level – it is definitely her genius. Although Louie is not as adept at independent problem-solving skills as other dogs, don’t jump to any conclusions about her intelligence. Louie relies on a very specific strategy – using you and other humans in her pack to get what she wants.”
(Yes, they got Louie’s sex wrong in the report, but they are personality experts, not gender experts.)
Cutsomers also have the option of becoming members of Dognition (for an additional $60 for a year, or $5 a month), entitling them to receive tailored training tips and activities and get a discount for testing additional dogs.
Hare says Dognition, established last year, is proving popular, with thousands of users from around the world.
“Everybody wants to understand what’s going on inside of a dog’s head. It has not been hard to get people excited about this.”
After visiting Dognition’s lab in Durham for the FOX8 report, Nordeen continued conducting the experiments at home over the next two weeks. Once submitting her findings, the results were delivered, by email, almost instantly.
Hare says the purpose of Dognition is to enrich people’s relationships with their dogs, but it, like his book, is also aimed at showing the public how truly brilliant dogs are.
“Dogs were thought to be totally unremarkable. There were really no interesting things they could do relative to say dolphins or bonobos, so people were focusing on these other animals,” he said. “But at our feet, literally, were geniuses that had been undiscovered … What makes dogs such geniuses is that, relative to other species, they’re really skilled, really flexible, in understanding what it is we want and what we’re trying to tell them.”
The Dognition tests, in their at-home version, may not be the hardest of science, and their results may not be irrefutable. But given the firm’s stated goals, given the not entirely exorbitant price tag, and given that they’re fun and result in people spending more time with their dogs, I think they have a place in the spectrum of doggie evaluation services.
If people are willing to pay more than $100 to determine what breeds are in their dogs, through DNA testing, $39 doesn’t seem like too much to pay to assess that dog’s personality — and may even provide more telling clues into what makes them tick.
I haven’t run my dog Ace through the online Dognition drill yet, in part because I think his genius is too vast to be measured and could forever skew Dognition’s data base, in part because I already know he’s a charmer, with shades of socialite and Einstein. But Nordeen’s report answered a lot of questions I had about the service, and one of these days, I’ll give it a try.
We’ll close with some bloopers, courtesy of Fox 8, that occured while Nordeen and Louie were taping a promo for the piece — none of which, I’m sure, had anything to do with them being blond:
Posted by John Woestendiek November 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, blondes, bloopers, brian hare, Charmer, cognition, communication, cunning, dog personality, dognition, dogs, duke, duke university, Einstein, empathy, experiments, expert, fox 8, fox news, games, genius, iq, katie nordeen, louie, Maverick, media, memory, news, personality, pets, Protodog, reasoning, Renaissance Dog, Socialite, Stargazer, tests, the genius of dogs
It shouldn’t take a whole lot of common sense to realize high-rise living can be perilous for pets, but this story out of Chicago serves as a vivid and tragic reminder.
A dog named Duke fell to his death from a 43rd floor balcony Wednesday morning — just three days after a cat, spooked by the dog, fell from the same balcony.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the two cats lived in the 43rd floor unit with a man identified only as Ryan, and they commonly hung out on the balcony.
“I’d convinced myself thoroughly that there’s no way these cats would even slip off because they had that instinctual fear that right over this edge is a big drop,” Ryan said.
But during a visit from his parents, and their dog, Duke, one of the cats got startled when he saw the dog through the glass door, lost his balance and fell to his death.
Three days later, Ryan and his visiting family members had left the apartment, leaving the dog inside and, apparently, leaving the sliding glass door open.
Ryan, a 26-year-old musician who manages a video production company, said he was preparing to move, and had left a few boxes and chairs on the balcony.
“It created a ladder that no one was thinking of,” he said.
He, his mother, stepfather and sister went out to get breakfast and run errands. When they returned, Duke, a medium sized mixed breed dog, wasn’t there.
Ryan and his stepfather went to the balcony and peeked over the edge and saw police cars pulling up to the front of the building.
“He was in shock,” Ryan said of his stepfather, “and he was like, ‘Where’s the dog?’ and since this had just happened to the cat . . . I already figured the worst.”
Police are investigating the dog’s death, but are preliminarily classifying it an accident.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apartments, balconies, balcony, cats, caution, death, dogs, duke, fall, hazards, high rise, highrise, living, perils, pets, safety
Names: Truman and Duke
Breeds: Duke’s a black German shepherd, Truman’s a Rottweiler mix
Ages: Duke is going on 9, Truman’s 3
Encountered: At the Dunes’ Edge Campground in Provincetown, Mass.
Backstory: A woman named Eileen from Tennessee pulled into the campsite adjoining mine in a cute little Coach House motorhome — just like the one I’ve been coveting. I stepped out of my tent, put my RVNV aside and went over to meet the two dogs traveling with her. Truman’s a bundle of energy, Duke (named after the school that Eileen attended) a bit more mature. Both were as friendly as they can be. Eileen was, too, offering me some of the chocolate tart she picked up at a bakery down the road. She bought the motorhome and started traveling after the death of her husband. She was gradually making her way back home to Seiverville, Tenn., after a trip to Canada and other points.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 27th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black german shepherd, campground, camping, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, duke, encounters, german shepherd, mass, mix, pets, provincetown, roadside, roadside encounters, rottweiler, rv, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, truman
According to the old saying — at least as old as Shakespeare — every dog has his day.
In California they just got an extra one.
Interpreting a regulation that sets the “holding period” for a stray dog impounded in a public or private animal shelter at “six business days” (or, if certain exceptions apply, “four business days”), a state appeals court in San Francisco has ruled that Saturdays don’t count as business days.
The ruling was the first to interpret a 1998 California law that increased the holding periods for public and private shelters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The ruling will affect Contra Costa County Animal Services and all other counties and cities with similar policies.
The case goes back to 2006, when a miniature pinscher named Duke, was impounded at a county shelter in Pinole on a Thursday. The shelter held the dog until the following Wednesday, when another person took him. Duke’s owner, Veena Purifoy, went to the shelter the next day the following to find him gone.
She sued both the county and the new owner, who relinquished Duke in a settlement, Evans said. The suit against the county challenged its claim that the shelter had held the dog for the required four business days.
Overturning a judge’s ruling in the county’s favor, the appeals court said the state law did not define business days but was intended to increase holding periods from the pre-1998 law, which required a 72-hour hold.
Excluding Saturday as a business day serves “the legislative goal of access, because longer holding periods will often provide more opportunities for redemption and adoption,” Justice Martin Jenkins said in the 3-0 ruling.
(Photo from Cafepress.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, california, contra costa, control, days, duke, euthanasia, every dog has its day, holding period, impound, impounded, judge, law, lawsuit, limits, rescue, ruling, services, shakespeare, shelters, state appeals court, strays, time, tom hayden, veena purifoy
Here’s a not-too-heavy-handed public service announcement being aired by the SPCA of Malaysia.
The star of the spot is Duke, a former stray adopted by Richard and Chae Lin of the Gardner & Wife Theatre Company. You can read more about Duke, a mutt who has won several obedience awards, on his blog.
The ad, aimed at encouraging spaying and neutering, takes a light-hearted approach to a huge and serious problem — both in Malaysia and the U.S., where more than 6 million dogs and cats are dropped off at shelters each year, about half of whom end up being euthanized.
As the ad concludes: ”There are some things you can’t teach your dog. Be a responsible owner. Neuter or spay your pet.”
Posted by John Woestendiek October 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animal welfare, condom, condoms, dog, dogs, duke, malaysia, neuter, pets, psa, public service announcement, rescue, shelters, spay, spca, video
In a reversal of roles, humans rescued a 16-month-old St. Bernard from freezing weather.
The dog, named Duke, escaped from his yard and ended up frozen to the ice on a pond at a golf course near Billings, Montana.
A maintenance worker at the Peter Yegen Jr. Golf Club, spotted the dog at about 9 a.m. Friday. Two firefighters on a sled managed to reach the shivering dog, breaking the ice around his tail with a mallet, and hauling the dog ashore — along with the chunk of ice still attached to him.
Rescuers believe that Duke, who weights nearly 120 pounds, fell through the ice on the pond sometime during the night and, after pulling himself out, sat on the ice and became frozen to it, according to an Associated Press account.
Duke was taken to Big Sky Pet Center, where he was listed in good condition after being de-iced and warmed up under a blow dryer.
“Lady” and “Bear” top the list of most popular dog names in the U.S., the American Kennel Club announced today.
In the male category, Bear is followed by Blue, Max, Duke and Buddy. For female dogs, the next most popular names are Bella (or Belle), Princess, May and Rose.
The results are based on a survey of 2007 AKC registration statistics.
“Traditionally names based on a puppy’s physical appearance or personality, such as ‘Spot’ or ‘Sassy,’ have been popular with dog owners,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Today we are seeing human names, such as ‘Jack’ and ‘Molly,’ and names that reflect a pet’s stature in the home, such as ‘King’ and ‘Princess,’ gain in popularity as more people consider their dog a valued member of the family.”
The AKC says short, sweet and easily recognizable names work best in getting your dog to be responsive. It recommends using a name that is one or two syllables, ending with a vowel, such as “Sadie” or “Rocky.”
They recommend against name that is long or difficult to say, such as “Sir Barks A Lot,” saying it will only confuse your dog. It also says names that sound like commands — Joe, for instance, sounds like no — should be avoided.
Other recommendations from the AKC include, picking a name that will fit your dog regardless of his age, testing the name out for a day or two before making a 10-15-year commitment, using the name often so the dog can learn it quickly, and not raising your voice every time you call your dog by name. “Try to use his name in positive, playful settings, such as when you feed him, play with him or pet him,” the AKC suggests.
Here’s the full AKC list of most popular names.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 1st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, bear, bella, belle, blue, buddy, dog names, dogs, duke, lady, max, may, most popular, names, news, popular, princess, rose