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Dognition | Starting to Wonder if My Dog Loves Me

Rodrigo, Kimberly Gauthier, Dog with Frisbee, Dog Running, Dog Playing, Keep the Tail Wagging

I received a free membership to Dognition.  It’s a site that gives you a series of questions to answer about your dog and a series of games to play with your dog and when you’re done, you get a personality test that tells you all about your dog.  From there, you can compare your results with those of other dogs and use what you learned to improve your relationship with your dog.

I was excited about getting started.

I thought this was a fantastic idea.

I don’t have time for something like this.

I knew this when I received the membership, but hoped to make the time.  But having four dogs and no privacy makes finding the time and space alone to play the games difficult.  Tack on to that a full time job, a full time business, and my much needed downtime and I earned an F in Dognition.

Dognition Test: The Sympathetic Yawn

I did take the time to start the process and what I was trying to do is get Rodrigo to yawn when I yawned.  I thought this would be easy, because he yawns when he’s confused, when he’s trying to settle down, and when he doesn’t know what’s going on.  But he didn’t yawn.  Not once.

It could be that he’s so comfortable with me that being in a room with me and silently playing the game just wasn’t stressful enough to elicit a yawn.  But what about the contagious yawn?  Where’s the love, Rodrigo?

Dognition told me not to read into anything, but who are they kidding?  Of course I was reading all kinds of things into the failure to elicit a yawn from my dog.

  • we don’t have that strong of  a bond
  • Rodrigo could live with me, or live without me
  • my baby doesn’t love me

Yes, a little overboard, but it was That Week too so I’m allowed.

Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, A Novice With Moxie, Rodrigo, HDR

Understanding Why Dogs Yawn

Dogs yawn when…

  • they’re tired,
  • they’re stressed,
  • they’re trying to calm down,
  • they’re trying to avoid conflict,
  • when the humans around them are fighting (associated with stress).

And they’re finding that dogs yawn when someone familiar to them (like ME) yawns.  But the empathic yawn aside, Rodrigo wasn’t tired, stressed, trying to calm down or avoid conflict.  He was with me and chilling out.

Okay, I feel better now.

An Update: My Thoughts on Dognition

More than 6 months later, I have yet to visit Dognition again.  Why?  We have 4 dogs and with my schedule, it’s nearly impossible to separate one dog from the pack to play the games Dognition provides.  I do think the service is interesting, but it’s not valuable for me and I know that I will never use it.

I’d rather take our dogs outside and play a game, go for along walk, or simply play tug of war with a holey sock I pull out of the dryer.  I learn just as much from our dogs through these activities and they’re free.

If I had one dog and less on my plate, I think I would be very interested in Dognition.  But with 4 dogs, a full time job, a full time business, chores, friends, and hobbies – I just couldn’t make the time.

Other Dognition Reviews

If you’d like to learn how Dognition is supposed to really work, check out these reviews from fellow dog lovers; it really is a cool tool and I wish I would have been able to make more time with Rodrigo to check it out.

And the other day, Rodrigo barked at me and whined.  I looked at him and said “you can come cuddle with me if you’d like.”  He sat there watching me for another 5 minutes, then got up, crawled over Sydney to get to me, cuddled up with me and we took a long nap (and I missed the BlogPaws Twitter Party).  Of course my dog loves me.


So does your dog yawn when you yawn?


  1. Thx for the shout out. We had fun with it.

  2. I have a puzzle toy from Dognition that is pretty cool. Also, have never thought to check and see if Shiner would yawn when I do… hmmm interesting!

  3. Pyrrha didn’t yawn when I did either, but her overall results still showed her to be very strongly bonded to me. I understand how easy it is to take it personally, though!

  4. Of course he loves you…Jack didn’t yawn with me either, but he still came out as pretty bonded…:)

  5. Couldn’t say they do. Though trying to calm them down through yawning does seem to work. And I too often doubt whether my dogs love me. Hubby says they adore me. Well, either way, they’re happy and that’s what matters.

  6. I LOVE your article. I tried the yawn thing too. NO CAN DO!!! I tried something elso though. I play a blinking game with my dogs. When one of my dogs is sitting in front of me, I blink my eyes really dramatically. They don’t know what the heck I am doing, but they begin squinting. Then it turns into a slightly different game. I close my eyes and try to catch my dog opening her eyes. Then she tries peeking to see if I had opened my eyes yet. Try it out and see how that goes. Come visit me at my website :o)

    • Thanks for the tip! I’ll try this over the weekend.

      • Hi Kimberly,
        Please let me know about how it goes with the eye blinking thing. Although yawning is different because it sometimes communicates a degree of exhaustion, blinking shows that they are responding to facial movements as they use their eyes to immitate what we are showing them with our eyes.

  7. My Shang yawns a lot even if I didn’t yawn. I feel that she loves me and just rub herself on me when I look pissed off. She even barked at the bad nanny who tried to hurt my daughter a few months ago and alerted us.

  8. Dognition sounds like it would be fun to try, but I don’t think I would find the time either. And I often wondered whether my dog Sephi ever loved me. She had a very cat-like personality so she probably saw me as her servant more than anything. :) Maya loves everyone so I sometimes wonder where I fit in all that. But I know Pierson loves me. Even though he does okay with other people, he is a one person kind of dog and I am that person.

    • With our dogs, they love me and want to be with me – a pet psychic told me it’s because I have a loving, warm energy that dogs gravitate towards (I accept that) – they love J for his strength and security. Our cats treat me like their servant.

  9. Hi Kimberly,
    Please let me know about how it goes with the eye blinking thing. Although yawning is different because it sometimes communicates a degree of exhaustion, blinking shows that they are responding to facial movements as they use their eyes to immitate what we are showing them with our eyes.

  10. Haha! I’ve NEVER heard of or actually paid attention to when a dog yawns, nor even thought of the idea that he might yawn when I yawn. I am so going to try this and see what happens! Is there a way to train him to yawn when I yawn? 😛

    • I bet you can. Every time they yawn, reward them. I think it can be confusing, because dogs yawn for so many things, but I bet they can be taught to yawn on cue.

      • Well, I am most definitely going to give it my best shot! I can’t help but laughing at myself for wanting to do something as silly as this but I feel like a little boy with a plan up my sleeve 😛

  11. I think I need to sign up with Dognition. I’d probably get an F too.


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