Duke University and Canine Cognition

We just returned from a trip to Durham, NC where we participated in a study in canine cognition at Duke University. Professor Brian Hare is testing hundreds of dogs to determine how they make decisions. It seems that dogs in many ways process information better than our closest relatives in nature, the chimpanzees and bonobos. Gibson, our 6 year old Aussie, was given several different tasks in a number of different scenarios. The tasks were designed to determine whether the dog remembered what he saw first or what he saw last. There were also tasks to determine whether there was a preference for left or right, or by the owner, or a stranger giving the cues. All the different responses will be analyzed and compared with the responses of all the other dogs to pull together a better understanding of canine cognitive abilities. All of this, of course, is fascinating to us as it relates directly to how we train dogs. A better understanding of how a dog processes information will lead to better training techniques and a better relationship with our dogs. You can read more about the Duke Canine Cognition Center here.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1921614,00.html

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