Pet Food News

Purina ONE dog food, Dognition to study canine intelligence

Purina ONE brand dog food is working with Dognition, the science-based service that enhances relationships between dogs and their owners, to share the Dognition Experience with Purina customers, contribute to canine research and develop educational content.

The Dognition Experience includes a range of services and benefits for dog owners, including a series of interactive games to play with their dogs, each designed to assess key dimensions of intelligence: empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reasoning. The games are based of research conducted by Dognition chief science officer, Dr. Brian Hare, director of Duke University's Canine Cognition Center.

Through the Dognition Experience, Purina ONE customers will receive a US$20-off discount to participate in a "citizen science" undertaking. Participants will contribute to the collection of data that could lead to discoveries that benefit dogs, in addition to learning about the cognitive profiles of their own dog.

“Research indicates that there are different types of animal intelligence,” said Dr. Hare. “One very effective way to measure these types of intelligence is through carefully constructed cognitive game play. When we can compare the results of those games to other dogs, we can discover each dog’s special genius.”

The data will be aggregated and evaluated by the Dognition Scientific Advisory Board, which is made up of leading canine cognition researchers. The data will make it possible to examine individual differences in behavior and intelligence as it relates to breed, age, sex, training history and a range of other important variables.

“While traditional definitions of intelligence have applied a linear approach – you’re either smart or you’re not – cognitive science has shown that there are many types of intelligence, including memory, communication and reasoning,” said Dr. Hare. “We’ve discovered that dogs use specific strategies that have made them among the most successful animals on the planet. Today we can take that broad understanding and help each individual owner uncover the special genius that their individual dog possesses.”

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