Last week I got to participate in a real scientific experiment at the Duke University Canine Cognition Center. Dr. Brian Hare studies cognition and evolution. While he mostly studies chimpanzees and bonobos, he is also very interested in us. He wants to know how dogs solve problems and how our social intelligence evolved. You can read more about his fascinating work here. Unfortunately I did not get to meet him while I was at Duke. I think anyone who walks around with a bonobo puppy on his head must be a nice guy.
Barbara had signed me and Ambrose up for the research studies and I got picked to be in one of their experiments (who knows what results they will get if they ever test Ambrose?). We arrived at the center and the students all made a big fuss over me. They let me sniff all around and get used to the room.
These students conducted the study. First they had me practice getting treats on the floor (I hardly needed to practice that!). Then one of them put a treat under one of two plastic cups and I had to find it. Sometimes Barbara would point to a cup and sometimes one of the students would point.
I thought it was a very easy test. I mean I get cookies out of treat dispensing toys all the time. It was not hard to find a treat under a plastic cup! Sometimes they would trick me though and only pretend to put a treat under a cup!
Now I will say that the treats that the students used were pretty boring. They had obviously not read my ground breaking treat palatability research study that I posted last week. If they had, I am sure that they wouldn't have used 1 paw and 2 paw level treats. Maybe I should try to get my work published in Science or Nature.
I was very pleased to be included in this important problem solving research. I hope it helps them learn more about how dogs' minds work. And of course I am always up for any opportunity to get more treats.
It has been raining a lot here lately so we haven't been able to do to many fun things to blog about. Tomorrow we are going to see some of Ambrose's brothers and sisters. I hope that they are not as goofy as he is. I won't be able to stand it.