Is your dog a Stargazer? A Maverick? An Einstein in furry disguise? For $59.95, a new company called Dognition will diagnose your dog's personality and explain how he thinks about the world.
The service, which launched earlier this week, is the brainchild of Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University and also the director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. In an interview with Science last month, Hare explained that he decided to turn his research into a business at the urging of some entrepreneurial colleagues. To use Dognition, you fill out a personality questionnaire about your dog on the company's website and then receive a Canine Assessment Toolkit in the mail. The kit includes equipment and instructions for playing 10 games with your dog that will reveal aspects of his personality.
One test (shown below) examines how closely your dog pays attention to gestures and can be used to place a pet on the continuum between "collaborative" and "self-reliant."
Hare is quick to point out that in dogs, as with humans, there's no one "best" personality. Rather, he explains, understanding who your dog is and how he thinks can be a first step to bringing the two of you closer together.
Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
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