How smart is your dog? I would say that mine is brilliant. He knows when it is dinner time even before I go into the kitchen. And he always seems to know when I am leaving to drive somewhere. Now his brilliance can be quantified --
Brian Hare has a website "where people can test their dog’s cognition". The site is called Dognition, and part of its purpose is to help owners better understand their pet’s point-of-view. The site also has the potential to collect "scientific data on tens of thousands of dogs" and enable "science-based dog training" that "would take into account what dogs are good at, what they’re bad at and the biases that influence their minds."
"Because it’s big data, we can ask questions that nobody could have a chance to look at," says Brian, co-author of The Genius of Dogs. After paying a fee, participating owners can try a series of tests with their dogs. In one test, for example, "the owner yawns and then watches to see if the dog does too – a potential sign that dog and owner are strongly bonded." Results are then compared to the database to evaluate "qualities like empathy and memory."
It’s not an IQ test – it’s more about understanding your dog’s "cognitive style." Brian also hopes his research will help "identify dogs for jobs like bomb detection" and "find the ‘cognitive style’ of the successful service dog." One style is not necessarily better than another, however: Early results have turned up a "surprising link … between empathy in dogs and deception. The dogs that are most bonded to their owners turn out to be most likely to observe their owner in order to steal food."