Dinsford says old dogs can learn new tricks



Dinsford is an 11-year-old, male black lab living in Washington, DC, and was adopted by his fur-mom, Sarah, right around Halloween of 2015.

Sarah learned about Dognition after reading the June 30, 2016 Reddit AskScience AMA that Dr. Brian Hare hosted. Intrigued, she played the cognition games with Dinsford, and found out that he’s a “Socialite.”

We asked Sarah some questions about her experience playing Dognition games with Dinsford and what she learned.


Socialite results for Dinsford the Black Lab


What surprised you most?

I was really surprised by the Cunning tests.  Dins is usually a bit of a food thief (he prefers to be called an opportunist) so I was expecting him to go for the treat the moment I turned my back.  But he actually waited a little!  And in the Communication tests, I love watching him decide between following my point and following his gut.  The only set of tests that didn’t surprise me at all was the Empathy tests – he’s a big love bug, and we’re very close even though I haven’t had him for very long.


What was the best part about playing the games?

The best part about playing the games was getting to do something totally new with Dins.  It was fun starting a test, wondering how he would act, and then getting to see what he did.


How are you applying the Dognition profile report to your life with Dinsford?

The Dognition tests and Dinsford’s result have been super helpful.  I feel like I understand him better now.  I think dog lovers have a tendency to unintentionally anthropomorphize our pets, and the Dognition games reminded me that his brain works differently than mine.

The Dognition assessment has helped us with training too – it’s helped me prioritize his strong suits – like communication skills and looking to me for feedback – and use them to work through new tricks and commands.

Mostly, it has made me even more fascinated by dog behavior.  I’ve always been really interested in the different personalities that dogs have, but now when someone tells me they have a dog, I have to ask them what they think the dog would do if they put a treat under a paper cup. 😉




Fun Facts about Dinsford

Dinsford’s name has a very cool origin story. My favorite childhood movie was “101 Dalmatians.”  Towards the end of the movie, there is a black lab who helps the Dalmatians get back to London.  We don’t learn his name in the movie, but he lives in a town called Dinsford, and that inspired me to name him Dinsford.


What are his favorite activities?

Dins is one of those dogs who is happy doing just about anything, as long as he’s with his human.  I’ve been taking him to swimming lessons in Middleburg, VA – since he’s an older boy, swimming is the perfect low-impact exercise for him.  We also like to hike, explore our city (DC), and visit our local pet supply shop.


What are his favorite toys?

As for toys, he loves all of his food-dispensing puzzle toys.  Favorites include the Odin and his trusty Kong.  He’ll eat just about anything, but I’m going to say his favorite food is pizza (he likes it best when it’s stolen from unsuspecting pet sitters).


Does Dinsford have any weird or silly habits?

His silliest habit is hiding slimy antlers and bones and Kongs at the foot of the bed for me to find when I stick my feet in at bedtime. 🙂  And we sleep with our head on the same pillow, sometimes nose-to-nose (not really goofy, but one of my favorite things he does).


Why did you adopt a senior dog?

I would say that old dogs make the best dogs. 🙂  There’s a certain appeal in puppies, for sure, but I would encourage anyone thinking about adoption to consider a senior dog.  He has changed my life and I feel so lucky to be spending his golden years with him.


Parting Thoughts

I would recommend Dognition for any relatively new dog owner. It’s a great bonding experience, and knowing how your dog’s mind works is so helpful.  The Dognition assessment has gotten me totally hooked on learning about how dogs thinks, so I’m excited to check the “Dog Emotion & Cognition” Coursera course and DogSmarts podcast too!


Follow Dinsford’s adventures on Instagram: @dinsford_the_labrador


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