Assistant psychology professor Ellen Furlong has been using research she previously did on monkeys to help raise cognition levels in dogs.
The research uses a computer screen and different numbers and shapes. When the dog makes a choice, they get treats to reinforce a given choice.
The goal: to build and understand mental abilities, and also to help dogs who are hyperactive get some of the exercise they need.
"So, that's our hope that especially after things like the polar vortex that we had this winter that we're able to get out and exercise our dogs,” said Furlong. “We might be able to mentally stimulate them and give them some of the same benefits."
“Kind of get rid of all that excess energy, all that being frightened of the owner being away, I thought that sounds kind of cool,” said IWU junior biology major Jeff Tomaason.
The team, including junior psychology major Brenden Wall will continue to do research over the summer, with the goal of eventually converting the program into an app.
If you're interested in getting your dog involved with the learning process, please click one of the links below.
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