Rusty the Stargazer deliver surprises and smiles

rusty-06We just received this pawsome letter about Rusty, an 10 year old yellow lab and Dognition ‘Stargazer,’ from his adoring furparent, Minerva. She first heard about Dognition after taking the Coursera course “Dog Emotion & Cognition” taught by Dognition founder Dr. Brian Hare.

Here’s what Rusty’s human said she learned about him by playing the Dognition games.


“We found the description of Rusty’s report to be quite accurate, and it was assuring to see his traits written out in a comprehensive manner. We were pleasantly surprised during the “Communication” games to see that he understood our intent and is closely attuned to what we’re trying to tell him.

On a daily basis, we sometimes wonder if he’s got his head in the clouds but the games showed that he actually pays close attention to us. This then played into his “Cunning” description that highlighted how he wouldn’t necessarily use our communications against us.

We did laugh a little about his results for the “Memory” games and the description; maybe his present-mindedness is why we thought he had his head in the clouds when we used to play treat-hiding games!

After playing the Dognition games with Rusty, we strengthened our belief that he is very food-motivated; all he needed were treats to get focused. He is also much more attuned to me (I’ve had him since he was 8 weeks old) than to my husband whom he’s only been around for a few years now.

Rusty is also more clever than we anticipated, and sneaky too; he cues in on a lot of my commands but will try to have his way when he thinks he can get away with it. It’s endearing more so because he’s almost 11 years old now and still acts like a mischievous child!

We also enjoyed learning and were surprised to see that he could deduce where treats could be hidden based on how their physical presence was adjusted in the environment around the treats. We hadn’t even considered that he could come to those types of conclusions.



Overall, the Dognition games were quite fun, and I’d say, successful in bringing us closer in relationship to Rusty and understanding his behaviors. He does still have some quirks which we may never understand 🙂 but he is most certainly a “good boy” and undoubtedly a momma’s boy. Thanks for providing the activities and evaluations you do!”


Minerva Thai & Duc Duong

Follow Rusty on Instagram: @rustythelabradorable and his Humans: @minervathai & @duc_duong