The Dapper GSD: Three German Shepherds with Three Different Cognitive Profiles


Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Barrett, Wesson, and Remi are three German Shepherds with three very different personalities. Barrett, now 7-years-old, was the first to join the family when their owner, Kate, fostered and subsequently adopted him in February 2012. After their 13-year-old lab had to be put down in 2014, Kate made the decision to begin fostering again with the Greater Charlotte SPCA.

The decision to foster was a strategic one; Kate was getting her family used to idea of having a second dog join them, but also allowing Barrett to ease into the socialization process in a controlled environment to overcome his fear aggression.

In July 2015, Wesson joined the family when he and his siblings were surrendered to a rescue from a breeder after contracting Parvo. After his adoption, Kate connected with the adoptive family of one of Wesson’s sisters, Remi, to set up play dates.

Unfortunately, Remi’s adoption did not work out and she was returned to the rescue. From the Charlotte SPCA, Remi was brought into Kate’s home as a foster. After another unsuccessful adoption, Kate knew that Remi was meant to be with her pack and her adoption was finalized in February 2016.

Together, Barrett, Wesson, and Remi make up the Dapper GSD pack.


To say that it was a change going from a one-dog to a three-dog household in a six-month period would be an understatement. What made this sudden expansion even more difficult was the fact that the three dogs, despite being of the same breed, have very different personalities.

Barrett is a sensitive pup in every sense of the word and is a complete mama’s boy. Due to lack of socialization in his first home, Barrett can be shy around unfamiliar people and dogs. However, over the years, Barrett has learned that he can trust his family to guide him through situations rather than act out on his emotions.

On the other end of the spectrum is Remi, who Kate fondly refers to as her “wild child.” Remi is incredibly smart, but fiercely independent, doing everything with her whole heart and zero fear.

Then there’s Wesson, who is the most well-rounded of the three. Since Wesson was adopted at five months of age, Kate was able to start training him right away, exposing him to different situations, people, and places. He also happens to be a fantastic reader of people and other dogs and understands how to act accordingly.

Remi and Wesson are both young, high-drive dogs, which when paired with their exuberance and high energy level, causes Barrett to begin acting like a grumpy old man. He began to try and assert this dominance with Wesson and got vocal when Remi and Wesson would play too rough or too loud.

Fortunately, Kate knew what to do. Though she had already created a lot of structure for the dogs at home, Kate made a point of being even more intentional with their training and, over time, the issues lessened. But there was still much work to be done.


In the early stages of transitioning to a three-dog household, Kate attended a Partnership for Pets seminar where she first heard of Dognition. The seminar facilitators mentioned that the Dognition assessment was a useful tool to assess a dog’s cognitive profile, and Kate was curious to learn more. With three dogs at home, all of which have strikingly different personalities, Kate decided to explore what Dognition could uncover.

Armed with Dognition’s cognition assessment games, Kate spent some time learning about the cognition of each of her three dogs. After completing the assessments, she found that Dognition highlighted a lot of things she had noticed about the dogs, but hadn’t been able to define or articulate herself.

Despite what many people claim about dogs of the same breed, the Dognition individualized cognitive assessment results varied greatly between the three German Shepherds in Kate’s pack.


Barrett, the sensitive guy, is a Renaissance Dog. Dognition Renaissance dogs are steady performers, good at a little bit of everything. However, there were two areas that really stood out for him: memory and empathy. Barrett has an amazing retrospective memory, which helps him to take the information he has learned and mentally manipulate it. His empathy results also match Kate’s belief in that he is highly bonded with his family. Read Barrett’s full Dognition Renaissance Profile Report.


Remi, the wild child, is a Maverick. Mavericks are very cheeky with a strong independent streak, refusing to conform to anyone’s standards. Similar to Barrett’s results, Remi is also highly bonded with her family and has a great memory. One area they differ though is in their inferential reasoning skills. Remi is able to solve problems by imagining different solutions and choosing the one that makes the most sense in that context. Read Remi’s full Dognition Maverick Profile Report.  


Wesson, the social butterfly, is a Socialite. A Dognition Socialite is a dog whose social graces make them easily able to interact and communicate with others. When it comes to empathy, there’s no competing with Wesson; his ability to read and respond to the emotions of others is off the charts. This also extends to his collaborative communication style, where much of the information he collects comes from accurately reading body language and gestures. Read Wesson’s full Dognition Socialite Profile Report.


With this newfound knowledge about her dog’s cognitive profiles, Kate felt more confident on the path to continued training. It was an eye-opening experience seeing how different all three dogs learned during training, especially since Remi and Wesson were litter mates.

Knowing how the dogs think and what motivates each of them to learn has helped Kate develop individual training plans for each dog. For example, when learning something new Remi always goes first, as she loves to problem solve on her own. Once she has it down, Wesson observes Remi and the behavior she’s displaying, which noticeably accelerates his learning. Barrett goes third, as observing both Remi and Wesson perform the task helps him learn it as well as builds his confidence and motivation.

Since Kate began to use this purposeful training with the Dapper GSD pack, issues between the dogs have virtually disappeared. Kate is very grateful to incorporate this new knowledge of dog cognition into training her full time Dapper GSD pack and foster dogs.


Say hello to Remi, Barrett, and Wesson on Instagram @thedapperGSD

#barrettjamesmonroe  #wessonashermonroe  #remingtonvalormonroe

We want to give a big thank you to Kate and her pack for sharing their story with our community!

Learn more about the Dognition Profiles including Renaissance, Socialite, and Maverick. Want to know what your dog’s cognitive profile is? See how Dognition works!

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Lucy & Emily get surprises from test results


A few months ago, we featured Lucy & Emily of @pupsonpar on our blog in September after they completed their Dognition dog cognition assessments. This week, Lucy & Emily received their dog DNA test results from Embark Vet, as part of their participation in the canine behavioral genetics research study that Dognition & Embark Vet announced on October 24. The Embark Vet dog DNA test kits reveal Accurate Breed Mix; Family Tree; Drug Sensitivity; Heart Disease Risk; Over 160 Genetic Diseases; Adult Weight; Genetic Aging. And here’s how Embark Vet compares to other dog DNA test kits on the market.

Many people have asked questions about why they should participate in our canine behavioral genetics research study as citizen scientists.

The best way to tell is to show. We wanted to share the detailed results that Lucy and Emily’s received from both Dognition and Embark Vet.

As Lucy & Emily’s human Sarah told us: “Having amazing tools such as these at my fingertips is wonderful and to not take advantage of this wealth of information would be crazy. We really enjoyed being a part of your study.  I loved learning more about the girls, and now I feel like I can be an even better dog mom than before. Knowledge is power!😉”

Lucy the Protodog

When we last spoke to Lucy, we learned that she’s a Dognition Protodog. You can read Lucy’s complete Dognition Profile Report here.

Let’s dive a little deeper into Lucy’s Dognition Protodog results.

The Protodog Speaks

Sees what Lucy says about her experience with Dognition in her post below. 😀

I just completed my @dognition assessment and let me tell you it is pawsome.  You play lots of science based games with your hoomans and then at the end you get a cognitive profile report which helps them understand us better. There are 9 different profiles: Socialite,  Ace, Expert, Charmer, Protodog,  Maverick,  Einstein,  Stargazer and Renaissance Dog. It turns out, Im a PROTODOG! 😄 ~ Lucy . . . "The Protodog is reminiscent of the first dogs that began their relationship with early mankind- burgeoning social skills that allowed dogs like yours to become a much loved member of the human pack. Thousands of years ago, when our human and canine ancestors first began their extraordinary relationship, there was something about certain types of wolves that distinguished them from the rest of the pack. Rather than a traditional form of intelligence, these pioneer dogs, or protodogs, had budding social skills that allowed them to approach and interact with humans. Lucy is reminiscent of these first dogs. Independent problem solving may not be a strong suit, but she has what counts – a desire to communicate and connect with you." . . A few tid bits from my assessment below👇👇 . . "If most dogs are bonded to their owners, Lucy absolutely adores you." . . "Lucy is remarkably like a human infant, who start reading communicative gestures at around nine months old. This ability is the foundation for all forms of culture and communication, including language." . . "Lucy is a rare dog who not only obeys your command, she also wants to please you so much that she will resist temptation – whether you are paying attention or not. " . . . EMILY IS IN THE PROCESS OF DOING HER ASSESSMENT.  STAY TUNED TO HEAR HER RESULTS! . . . . If you would like to take the Dognition Assessment they gave us this code to share with you for 20% off👇👇👇 We highly recommend it. You get about 15 pages of wonderful information in your report! . . CODE: RAF23X9XQX

A photo posted by Lucy & Emily (@pupsonpar) on

But I thought I was a pure bred?

Lucy was told that she was a pure bred black labrador retriever when she was purchased from a breeder. When she received her Embark Vet dog DNA test results, she learned that she’s mixed with THREE different breeds! According to Embark Vet scientists, this scenario is quite common; people think they are purchasing a pure bred dog from a breeder, and it turns out that the dog is a mixed breed. 🙄 🤔 😳

You can see Lucy’s public results here and read about her surprise about her family tree in her post below. Only part of her results are available in the public report. The rest you’ll have to ask her nicely. 😄

My @embarkvet DNA test results are in and I am…. . . 75.7% Labrador Retriever 12.7% Rottweiler 11.6% Golden Retriever . . Apparently my grandpa on my Dads side was a Golden Rott!  Looks like Emily and I have something in common.  We both have Rotti in us!😄 (Emily's results a few posts back) . . . To read more about my results click the link in our bio! (The shareable link in our bio shows the breed results part of the test. The genetic diseases that Embark tests for remain private ) Lucy is not at risk for any genetic diseases they test for but she is a carrier of 3 of them. So if she was bred with another dog who was a carrier as well its more than likely her offspring would be at risk for those diseases. . . . Emily is not at risk for any of the diseases and she is not a carrier of any either but Emily does have a lower than average resting ALT activity. ALT is one of the things tested on veterinary blood chemistry panels. An increase in Emily’s ALT activity could be evidence of liver damage, even if it is within normal limits by standard ALT reference ranges. So this is very important information to share with our vet. . . . We highly recommend @embarkvet It not only gives you DNA results but all the genetic diseases it tests for and all the information you receive is well worth the price. . . @embarkvet test for all of the following : . . Accurate Breed Mix  Family Tree  Drug Sensitivity  Heart Disease Risk  Over 160 Genetic Diseases  Adult Weight  Genetic Aging . . . @dognition and @embarkvet are now offering for a limited time only (offer ends TOMORROW ), a special bundle deal consisting of Embark's Dog DNA Test and a Dognition annual membership for $199! Thats a $79 discount! If you're an existing customer, they have a special deal for you too! For more information go to the link in either of their bios!

A photo posted by Lucy & Emily (@pupsonpar) on

What do you think? Are you convinced yet?

Emily, the Dognition ‘Ace’

Emily is a Dognition Ace, who excels in solving problems with her inferential reasoning skills. She also has an excellent working memory. Read her full Dognition Profile Report here. You can see what she had to say about her experience with Dognition and we included her Cognition Dimensions Results below.

I just finished my @dognition assessment just like Lucy and it was lots of fun! Of the 9 different profiles it turns out I'm an ACE! 🙊😄 ~ Emily . . . ACE ~ An accomplished problem solver with great communication skills, an Ace has everything that makes dogs special, and a little more besides. Emily is the dog with it all. An accomplished problem solver with great communication skills, Emily has everything that makes dogs special, and a little more besides. The only downside to having a dog as gifted as Emily is that sometimes she may be too smart for her own good. She may occasionally try to get away with things she shouldn't and then rely on her soulful gaze and an ingratiating nuzzle to win you over. There isn't much that escapes an Ace like Emily, and you can feel lucky to have such a talented dog as part of your pack. . . A few tid bits from my assessment below👇👇 . . "Emily has an amazing working memory, which is a type of memory that allows your dog to keep information in mind for a few minutes and mentally manipulate it. This may sound simple, but working memory is crucial for any kind of problem-solving. In humans, working memory has been found to correlate with skills in learning, math, reading, and language…. For Emily,  out of sight is definitely not out of mind" . . "Even though you gave Emily misleading information, she remembered where the treat was and chose to ignore you. This shows an independent thinker; you should be aware that in other situations Emily might not listen to you if she thinks you are wrong." . . "You can be very proud. Emily just aced the most difficult games in the Assessment. Reasoning is the ability to solve a problem when you can't see the answer and have to imagine the solution….A Sherlock Holmes among dogs, Emily was able to solve the mystery by imagining different solutions and choosing the one that made the most sense. This leads to a lot of flexibility. She can solve a new version of a problem she has seen before, and spontaneously solve new problems she has never seen before. This is a sign of true genius. . . IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, LUCY'S ASSESSMENT RESULTS ARE TWO POSTS BACK! . . Code RAF23X9XQX = 20%off

A photo posted by Lucy & Emily (@pupsonpar) on

Emily’s Family Tree

Emily always knew she had a more varied family tree that her fur sister, but she didn’t know from which branches she derived her beauty and brains. With the help of the Embark Vet dog DNA test kit, she found out that she’s mixed with SIX different breeds!

Check out Emily’s public Embark Vet report. Only breed info is displayed publicly.

My @embarkvet DNA test results are in and I am:.. . . 22.4% Australian Cattle Dog 19.0% Beagle 14.6% Rottweiler 10.9% Pembroke Welsh Corgi 13.3% German Shepherd Dog 19.8% Supermutt . . To read more about my results click the link in our bio! (The shareable link in our bio shows the breed results part of the test. The genetic diseases that Embark tests for remain private ) Stay tuned for Lucys results! . . . @embarkvet is not your average DNA test.  Its a whole lot more. It test for all of the following : . . Accurate Breed Mix  Family Tree  Drug Sensitivity  Heart Disease Risk  Over 160 Genetic Diseases  Adult Weight  Genetic Aging . . @Dognition and @embarkvet have launched a NEW dog research study linking genetics and behavior. . . . . They are now offering for a limited time only (offer ends November 24th), a special bundle deal consisting of Embark's Dog DNA Test and a Dognition annual membership for $199! Thats a $79 discount! If you're an existing customer, they have a special deal for you too! . . . . When you take part in this study, You will learn about your dog's physical health, breed, and mind (thinking & cognitive style). You won't be able to get all this information about your fur baby anywhere else for this price!

A photo posted by Lucy & Emily (@pupsonpar) on

Thank you Lucy and Emily for supporting our research with your time and Instagram posts! We are grateful! 😘 Read their first blog feature here: “Lucy & Emily live the good live on a golf course.”

Dognition & Embark Vet are offering a special promotion until midnight Thurs, Nov 24 – a $79 discount off of a Dognition yearly membership and an Embark Vet dog DNA test kit. Get your bundle today! 🙌 👏

Stay in Touch! 


Want your dog to be featured? Email us your Dognition success stories:

🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉Dognition makes the perfect holiday gift! 🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉 #discoveryourdog

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Bella the Ace wins 2nd place!


Bella – 2nd Place Winner! 

Bella the 6 year old mixed breed dog from Germany won 2nd place for her entry into the “Unsolved Mysteries: Dogs” #DogMysteries Instagram contest that Dognition hosted with Embark Vet in early November to raise awareness of our new research partnership. Bella’s 2nd prize was a special bundle of a Dognition annual membership and an Embark Vet dog DNA kit.

Here is the winning photo and text:

“Whenever I come home, Bella gets super excited and goes to get some toy to show me. She doesn’t want to play with it or anything, she just carries it around like a trophy and seems to be super proud while she’s all wiggly and excited. If she could talk she’d say something like “omg look what I’ve got. It’s a toy!!! And I found it all by myself! Also, I’m happy that you’re home, but look what I’ve got! Oh, no no, you may look at it but you can’t touch it! It’s mine. But loooooook!” 😂 normally she isn’t interested in toys at all, only in those moments.

And I really want to know why, so this is my entry for the #dogmysteries contest hosted by @mydogstink @ipartywithbrucewayne @maska_the_husky and more!”

Who is the Real Bella?

Bella’s mom Katharina was so excited about learning more about Bella with Dognition that she completed the dog cognition assessment within days of winning. She learned that Bella is a Dognition “Ace,” an excellent problem solver with great communication skills. We asked Bella’s mom Katharina to tell us about her best friend and we learned a lot of really cool things!

Bella’s Origin Story

“I adopted Bella from a private foster home almost 6 years ago. I was 13 years old and my biggest dream came true when my parents finally allowed me to adopt a dog. The first plan was to get a puppy from the breeder, but then I decided to have a look at the local shelter at first. They gave us the adress of a foster home who had some young dogs from abroad. So we decided to have a look at them. I was looking for a big dog when we arrived, I never wanted a small dog. But Bella had other plans. She literally chose me as her human. That day I became the proud owner of my first dog: Bella.

Now she’s around about 6 and a half years old. She’s a mixed breed, and as she was born on the streets of Croatia. I know nothing about her parents. But I’m really looking forward to results of the DNA test. Thank you Embark Vet and Dognition for making this possible!”

The Name Bella

“The foster home gave her the name Anabel. I didn’t really change that name I just gave her the nickname Bella. I started to use Bella more often than Anabel because I liked it better. But I still call her Anabel from time to time. Especially when I’m mad at her.” 😜

The Real Bella

“She’s very affectionate. Honestly, she loves me to bits (and I love her). But she doesn’t seem to care about all the other humans on earth. Same with dogs.”

Bella’s Fun Facts

“Fun fact about Bella – no. 1 is that she won’t eat normally! I give her food at 6pm but she won’t eat it until I have dinner at 7pm. When I sit down to eat, she starts carrying her food from the bowl next to where I’m sitting down to eat. She needs to walk at least 7 times back and forth from her bowl to me for a full meal! But, I like our meals together.”

Bella’s Hobbies

“We’re passionate about doing tricks! Bella knows so many tricks that I stopped counting them. She’s such a clever girl! You can see a lot of our tricks on our Instagram account @hansehund or our YouTube videos.”

Skillz! 😎 Have a look at #dogtricks_bella for more and check us out on YouTube (link in bio)

A video posted by Bella & I 🐾👣 (@hansehund) on

Experience with Dognition

“Bella is an Ace. You can read her Ace’ Profile report here. We had a lot of fun during the cognition games and I learned something new about Bella and the way she solves problems! Bella really surprised me in the communication game where I had to point with my foot at the cup. I literally saw her thinking. She didn’t move, just stared at me, not at the cups, just at me. I had to say “go ahead, get the treat” at least three times before she chose the cup I was pointing at. I didn’t know that she watches me that closely. Now that I have this insight, I’ll try to teach her things by showing her how to do it and hope that she’ll copy me.”

Final Thoughts on Bella

I love this quote by Fred Jungelaus, because I think it’s absolutely true! Bella teaches me more than I teach her. That’s for sure!

“I used to look at my dog and think “if you were a little smarter you could tell what you were thinking,” and he’d look at me like he was saying “if you were a little smarter, I wouldn’t have to.”
Fred Jungelaus

Say Hello to Bella!

You can follow Bella’s adventures and tricks on Instagram: and YouTube:

A big thank you to Katharina and Bella for sharing their story with us. 👏🤗 Learn more about how Dognition works and read about other Dognition Ace’s.

Sign up TODAY! for our new research study with Embark Vet! The $79 off discount for the bundle ends Nov 24!

Stay in Touch! 


Want your dog to be featured? Email us your Dognition success stories:

🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉Dognition makes the perfect holiday gift! 🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉 #discoveryourdog

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Exploring new frontiers in canine behavioral genetics research



On October 24, 2016, Dognition announced a new research partnership with Embark Vet, a world leading dog DNA testing company based in Austin, TX, to conduct the largest canine behavioral genetics research study of its kind to date. We aim to enroll 5,000 pet dogs so we can better understand:

  • The origin of behavioral tendencies
  • The most effective training methods to use with dogs at different ages and stages of their development
  • The level to which environment and breed affect each dog’s behavior
  • The rate of cognitive decline based on genes and breed

This non-invasive study is different to anything that has gone before because it will have the biggest, most diverse sample size of pet dogs of many different breeds and ages living in the natural environment of their family home.


While this research is important, we need your help to make it happen. Participation of citizen scientists like YOU speeds the data collection process and offers a rich, diverse sample of data from which our researchers can draw more robust conclusions that are applicable to dogs around the world.

To participate in this research, sign up your dogs for the Dognition and Embark bundle today. Not only will you receive unprecedented information about your dog’s genetics, breed, health, and cognition in the short term, you will contribute to this amazing research that can help dogs worldwide.

Furthermore, the more we learn about dog health and disease, the more we can help advance the study of human health. Dogs experience many of the same mental and physical diseases that humans do, so studying dogs offers researchers a way to accelerate discoveries in both canine and human disease.

To encourage your participation, Embark Vet and Dognition are offering a special discount bundle until November 24, 2016. The study is open to dogs of any breed, and available worldwide.

Photo Credit: @mydogstink

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Want your dog to be featured? Email us your Dognition success stories:

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Maska, the Charmer, participates in new canine research study


Maska is a male Husky living in Toronto, Canada with his little fur sister Adler. Maska’s mom Nancy purchased the Embark Vet dog DNA test to see if Maska was indeed a purebred Siberian Husky, and to see if he was at risk for any genetic diseases. Contrary to popular belief, many dogs sold as purebreds have other breeds mixed in. To Nancy’s delight and relief, Maska’s Embark dog DNA test results revealed that he is indeed a purebred Husky and is not at risk for any genetic diseases.

When Nancy found out about the research partnership between Embark Vet and Dognition, she eagerly completed the Dognition assessment with Maska to learn as much as she could about her beloved dog and to participate in our new canine behavioral genetics research study.

“We had so much fun playing Dognition games together. This assessment really helps me understand Maska more. I can’t wait until Adler is old enough to play the games too!” said Nancy.

Nancy’s Husky is not only handsome with a winning smile and beautiful eyes, but he also has exceptional social skills. Maska is a Dognition Charmer, which means he relies on his keen observation of human body language to solve problems.

Check out Maska’s ‘Charmer’ Profile Report to learn what makes this special Husky tick.

According to Maska’s mom Nancy: “We had great experience with Embark’s dog DNA tests and the Dognition Assessment! Thank you both for helping us gain a richer understanding of Maska and Adler with the amazing Embark dog DNA test and fun games of Dognition. We’re so excited that two great companies are coming together to offer this great opportunity to all the dog lovers.”

Follow Maska and baby sister Adler on Instagram: @maska_the_husky
A big thank you to Maska and Nancy for sharing their story with us. 👏🤗 Learn more about how Dognition works and read about other Dognition Charmers.

Sign up TODAY! for our new research study with Embark Vet!

Stay in Touch! 


Want your dog to be featured? Email us your Dognition success stories:

🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉 Give Dognition as a gift! 🎀 🎁 🎊 🎉

Posted in Case Studies, Citizen Science, Research Study, The Dognition Experience. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .