Most people think that dogs are color-blind and only able to see in shades of gray. But CleverPet, which has made a game console for dogs, has created a new game that shows how good dogs are at seeing colors.
The San Diego company was founded by three scientists who used their expertise in animal cognition to make a color-based puzzle for dogs.
CleverPet’s own survey of 300 adults found that 64 percent believe that dogs are color-blind in comparison to humans, and 57 percent believe that dogs can only see in shades of gray.
“Dogs — and cats too — definitely see the world in color,” said Daniel Knudsen, CleverPet cofounder and chief science officer, in a statement. “When people say they’re ‘color-blind,’ they mean it in the same way that some humans are color-blind. Millions of humans and probably all dogs have trouble distinguishing between red and green hues. While most humans have three types of color-sensing cells, or cones, in their retinas, dogs have only two, limiting their color perception to a blue-yellow spectrum.”
CleverPet created a Hub that is like a smart pet feeder. You put food into it, and then one of three lights will shine. If the dog puts a paw on the shining light, then the feeder dispenses food as a reward. My own dog, Kona, learned now to use the Hub, which the company bills as a game console for dogs.
Now CleverPet has created a new challenge, taking advantage of the fact that dogs can see yellow and blue colors, and is putting their intelligence to the test. The goal of Color Match is to match the colors on the device’s three lit touchpads.
Dogs do this by pressing the touchpads and cycling through the colors until they’re all the same. Once the colors match, the Hub provides a treat to the dog as a reward for correctly solving the puzzle. Over time, Color Match gets more challenging as each dog gets better at solving the puzzle.
“There are dozens of ways to solve each challenge, so it’s been a lot of fun to watch dogs as they discover and develop their own unique strategies,” said CleverPet CEO and cofounder Leo Trottier in a statement. “One of the goals of Color Match is to let customers and the public see dogs exploring and problem-solving. As a mission-based company grounded in science, we’re excited every time we have an opportunity to demonstrate that animals can do more than people previously thought.”
Color Match will be released to all customers today but will only be available to dogs whose previous performance on the Hub indicates they are ready.
“It’s is our most advanced challenge yet, one that’s designed for dogs and cats who are prepared for this next level of engagement. We can’t wait to see animals discovering this entirely new dimension of interaction,” Trottier said.
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