By Fergal MacErlean • 02 May 2022 • 15:01
The brain power trial project, called Puppy Cognition, assesses a seven-week-old puppy’s reactions to a set series of games, objects and human interactions.
Across the six tasks, the puppies will experience new items, such as an upturned open umbrella, a reflective metal sheet and an interactive cat toy.
The tasks also look at their response to a person talking and see if they can problem-solve little challenges.
There is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ in any of the tasks for a puppy.
Instead, the team are interested in understanding how puppies respond, and how they engage in the tasks.
Dr Helen Whiteside, Chief Scientific Officer at Guide Dogs, said: “Puppy Cognition is an exciting new way of gaining a greater understanding of our guide dog puppies at a young age.
“We are right at the start of this project, but we hope that in the future, the data we collect will give us an idea of how a puppy’s personality will develop in later life and even what personality traits are heritable throughout generations of our guide dogs.”
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Originally from Dublin, Fergal is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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