Moona is a high energy, 2 year old Belgian Malinois female dog living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Moona’s mom Sarah learned about Dognition from their dog trainer, Josh Taylor, owner of Canine Education in Montreal, who incorporates the Dognition dog cognition assessment as a diagnostic tool when getting to know his new dog clients.
Sarah shared her story with us about some of the challenges and joys of living with Moona, and how the results of her Dognition cognition assessment helped them build a more effective training plan tailored to Moona’s particular cognitive style and needs for mental stimulation.
Background on Moona
Moona has always been a very ‘special dog.’ We adopted Moona at 4 months old from someone who could no longer take care of her. We instantly knew there was something different about her. First, we had never seen a dog that looked like her before. We live in Montreal, Canada and the Belgian Malinois breed is not very common here.
Secondly, her behaviour was completely different from anything we’ve ever seen. We began to have issues with her right away, beyond the normal puppy behaviour.
Moona was finding ways to escape the backyard (such as pushing a chair to the fence, climbing on top of it, and then going over the fence…), chasing after small animals, barking at strangers, etc.
So we contacted Josh Taylor, a dog trainer and the owner of Canine Education in Montreal, who helped us out tremendously. He understood Moona and never gave up on her. He recommended that we start our training with a Dognition assessment to help us understand her approach to learning and problem solving.
Moona is now almost two years old and she has some social issues. She is nervous around new people, and on walks she will bark and lunge at dogs who walk past her, but as soon as she is next to them she is ready to play. She is good one-on-one with dogs off leash, but as soon as the dog park gets busy, she becomes aggressive if she is not being entertained.
Moona may be the most dominant-tough doggy at the park, but as soon as we get home she is a big baby. She always sticks close by to us and is a major cuddler!
What We Learned from Dognition
“Moona is an Einstein! It explains quite a few things as to why Moona has the reactivity she does when she sees other dogs, and how we need to think outside of the box when associating certain social cues to get her to pay attention to us, especially when there is a possibility she is choosing to ignore our social cues!”
– Josh Taylor, Owner, Canine Education
Dognition has helped us better understand how Moona’s mind works. We initially thought there was something seriously wrong with her. She was inconsistent when listening to our commands and had a lot of issues socially with other dogs. Now we understand that Moona is a more independent dog.
For example, Moona has got to be the most stubborn dog I have ever seen; she won’t back down until she gets what she wants. She is determined – there was a time when one of her toys rolled under the dishwasher (we were unaware) and she tried to get the toy for days, finally destroying the panel on the bottom of the dishwasher to get it. The Dognition assessment explained that she is an independent problem solver and more individualistic.
Moona has an incredible memory, through the testing process Moona scored sky high in retrospective memory; she remembered where the treat was located almost every time. She always remembers where she puts her toys, where we hide things etc.
Reading Moona’s Einstein profile has helped us better understand Moona’s behaviours, especially socially. From what we have learned from Moona’s profile, we believe the best way to help Moona is Classical Conditioning. When Moona sees another dog (when on leash) she will stare at the dog all the way down the street until they come about 10 metres away and than she will begin barking and lunging at the dog. We have been trying to get Moona to have positive associations with other dogs, by using her favourite treat (a piece of hot dog) every time she sees another dog. So far this technique has been helping us.
Josh has helped us think of additional games that can not only physically but mentally stimulate Moona, such as hiding treats around the house, hiding her balls outside, and even hiding treats under cups. We now understand that Moona needs more than just to run around in a field, her brain needs to be working as well.
Fun times with Moona
Moona is a very high energy dog and her favorite way to release that energy is playing fetch. We will throw the ball for her non-stop for a good hour. One of her favourite games is when dogs (or even us) chase her, although no one can ever catch up because she is so fast.
Every person that meets and gets to know Moona falls in love with her. Some of the words people have described Moona as are “highly energetic,” “too smart,” “eager,” “mischievous,” and “loyal.”
Every dog has its strengths and of course weaknesses as well. Moona’s profile helped us better understand why she behaves the way she does. This insight has helped us be more patient and understanding of Moona, which has helped us help her improve and shine in many ways.
Moona may have some problem areas that we are working hard on, but all the amazing things she does makes up for it. We are so proud and lucky to have a little Einstein on our hands!
We want to thank Sarah and Moona for sharing their pawsome story with us! Say hi to them and follow Moona’s adventures on Instagram.
Learn more about how Dognition works and read about other Dognition ‘Einsteins.’
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