Everyone talks about how smart dogs are. I don’t get it, and I’m a dog lover. I know, I know, your dog is brilliant, it’s just my dog. I’ve had multiple dogs over the years, and between friends’ dogs and dog walking, have known many, many others very well. Mixed breeds, “designer” breeds (aka mutts), rescue dogs, purebreds.
I think my understanding of “smart” is too limited, I only comprehend it as it applies to people. And as intelligence is applied to people, dogs aren’t very smart. They’re cute, loving, protective, smooshable, eager to please, but not intelligent.
Some dogs care a lot about pleasing their owners, keeping us happy. These are often the dogs considered the smartest, because they learn the most commands. Then there are the food motivated dogs, who will do anything in the hopes of a treat. Food motivated dogs are also among the dumbest, because they will eat anything that could be food, once held food, might once have sat in the same garbage bag as food.
Yesterday I was walking a dog, and we stopped for a light. Dog starts rooting in a snowbank. Fine, lots of dogs have fun with the snow, like to roll in it, burrow their snouts in it, eat it. The light changes, we cross the street. Get to the other side, and I notice the dog has something out of his mouth. Hmmm. I pay attention, especially if I know the dog is one likely to eat stuff off of the street, but it does occasionally happen. Is that his collar, did it come off? No, collar is still on. My general rule of thumb is not to stick my hand into any dog’s mouth if it isn’t my dog. Dogs really don’t like it when you stick your hand in their mouth. I don’t care how friendly the dog is. If he/she thinks you’re trying to pull a tasty prize out of their mouth, they’re likely to bite. Because they’re dogs. I’m paid to pick up dog shit and give the dog some exercise, some company and petting, maybe food and water, not offer myself as a chew toy.
I determine this thing hanging from the dog’s mouth is definitely a strap of some sort, with a small metal loop at the end. Looks like the kind of thing used to attach babies’ children’s mittens. Crap. Can’t let the dog eat a strap. And metal! I tell the dog to drop it, leave it, try offering a treat instead. No dice. What the hell is this dog doing? He isn’t chewing or biting, he’s…sucking. Yes, the dog was sucking on the pacifier at the other end of the strap. Sigh.
Yeah, yeah, got it all away from Einstein and threw it away safely.
Then last night, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog started acting even weirder than usual. Jumping and barking on Man Child (she’s decided he’s the one who should take care of her needs). We see no problem, she seems ok, then curls up and goes to sleep. Fifteen minutes later she’s squatting on the living room floor. Umm, NO! I pick her up and bring her to the pad. By the second nugget the problem was apparent.
Flower Child has very, very long hair. She doesn’t want any hairs in her brush, ever. This leaves me finding hairs wherever she might have been when she picked up the brush. She does try to remember to throw it away, but sometimes, well, sometimes. Little Incredibly Dumb Dog thinks anything produced by any of our bodies is delicious. She races to the bedroom when Flower Child wakes up each the morning, to steal those yummy used tissues out of the bag next to the bed.
So that left my little fluff ball, working hard to only semi-successfully evacuate a gut full of doggie gumbo and knitted by her intestinal tract hair. Yes, yes, I helped her, all better now. Emergency bath of her back end.
Tell me again how smart these beasts are.