We have had some incredibly smart dogs. I’ve also met some incredibly smart dogs. My brother has a hunting dog that is amazingly intelligent. I’m not saying there are stupid dogs. In fact, I’ve never seen a “stupid” dog. I have always teased about my Saint Bernard boy Benson and now my two Mastiff boys being very duh. I say that because all the Gentle Giant breeds are so big that when they have their tongue hanging out, usually on the side, and they’re just kind of relaxing, they have a duh look. I think it’s because of their massive head and huge tongues. Now don’t get me wrong, they have a very cute, duh look. I know they are smart; their look is just deceiving. My boy Jax does something that is quite intelligent. Because of his size, he cannot sit on the floor comfortably. He literally cannot get his rear on the floor because his legs are so long so, he sits on the sofa. Now when I say sit I mean he bends his right leg, plops his rear on the sofa with that leg under him (like a human would sit) and his front legs on the floor. That is the most comfortable way for him and it is cute as can be.
What got me thinking about dogs’ intelligence is some of the not so intelligent behaviors I see them do. I mean, we’re talking about a creature that learns to open cabinets but also eats poop. And they aren’t picky about the poop. It can be theirs or anyone’s; they just don’t care. It can be old or still mushy. I mean, eww. Eww, eww, eww. It’s not just the poop eating that makes me question their intelligence though. They sniff and lick other dogs’ um, personal areas. That’s disgusting. I get that the sniffing stuff is how they check each other out. But don’t you think that after all the years that dogs have existed at least one of them, just one out of millions, would’ve said, “Hey, this sniffin’ butts stuff is gross; let’s start sniffing ears or noses instead.” I think what smart animals they are and none of them have come up with this? If someone said, “Hey let’s stop shaking hands when we meet a new person and I know, let’s sniff their butts instead,” you can bet I’m going to say, “Uh, not only no but hell no!” I know, I know, that’s a bit different but is it really?
I know about all the Pavlov stuff but still, what about their ability to tell time? I know every dog owner has dealt with this. If it’s within 15-minutes of feeding time they know it. Then they have to make sure you know it. They start going a little crazy. They follow you around like you’re going to forget to feed them. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been feeding them at the same times every day for their entire life. It doesn’t matter that they can’t understand you when you say it’s not time to eat yet. However, they definitely understand you when you ask, “Who wants to eat?” They understand the word treat, cookie, and leash. They know what going for a walk means. You know, I think they actually do understand “it’s not time to eat yet” but they simply like to pretend they don’t; kind of like selective hearing. Hmm, interesting. Maybe they think we’re stupid!
I’ve seen our dogs chase flies, lick themselves inappropriately, lick other dogs inappropriately, lick themselves to the point of causing a raw spot, and bark at the television. To me, not so intelligent behaviors. Yet then they know when we’re home before we come in the door because they know the sound of our vehicles. They know when we go in the garage to get something versus when we go in the garage to leave. They know before I do that someone is at the door. They know when someone other than those who live here come in the door; even though they cannot see the person. They know when I’m sad and come to comfort me. They know when I’m mad and come to comfort me. Their senses are incredible. To me, those are all incredible and intelligent behaviors. And then they do something like fart without any embarrassment or even acknowledgement. I mean do they really think we can’t smell that horrid stench? Or hear it? Maybe that is intelligent behavior after all.
Here’s some seriously non-intelligent behaviors. They run outside and bark at thunder. They are going to get that noise. They start having supersonic hearing and the smallest, quietest thunder roll has them feeling like they are the biggest, baddest, most threatening watch dogs ever. However, when a huge, shake the windows, make the lights flicker kind of thunder happens, they are all but in your lap or under the table. I know it’s not funny but I’ll admit, it makes me laugh when they do that. You know, they can be such badass dogs (they think) yet when something unexpected happens and they get scared, they’ll poop or pee or both on the spot. No matter where they are; they have no shame. Also, they pee over someone else’s pee spot. I mean what is up with that? I get that it’s marking territory but really how well are they marking a yard that five dogs share. Do they really think no one else will ever pee or step in that exact spot again? Isn’t it technically wasted time? I know, glass half empty attitude here. But look, here’s another one. Drinking from the toilet. I mean they spend enough time watching what goes on in the bathroom. They try to get up close and personal so how the hell do they not understand what a toilet is all about?
There’s something they do that drives my husband and me crazy. Now this is actually both intelligent and not so intelligent behavior (the dogs, not Marc). Marc uses a torch lighter to light the grill. We keep the lighter in the center drawer of the kitchen island. You have to know this though; there are three drawers in that island. There are also four other drawers in the kitchen. The lighter drawer has many other things in it. That’s where all the cooking utensils are. You know, things like slotted spoons, spaghetti spoon, flat spatulas, tongs, and various other kitchen things. You also should know, the dogs have a dog door. They can go out anytime they want. They can roam the yard whenever they’d like to. Seems simple right? Yea, not so much. Here’s the thing: When Marc opens that center drawer and takes one of the utensils out the dogs don’t care. But, if he takes the torch out and they don’t even need to see the torch, they go insane because they know he’s going outside. He doesn’t even have to move; he can stay right at the drawer and they still know what he’s doing, where he’s going. I don’t mean they get a little excited. I mean they go crazy! They start barking and jumping on each other; it sounds like they’re going on the attack. So they get excited to go someplace that they can go literally any time they want to.
One thing they did that aggravated me but I’m certain they thought was quite intelligent was they ate my book that I had just bought. Each of them had been out of their chewing stage for months at that time. So I knew it was fine to leave the book on the coffee table. I’d previously left many books on that table and they had all left them alone. Actually, there were two magazines on the table at that time. They’d been great about leaving the stuff alone. That is until this book; my brand new book that I literally had bought only hours before. The title of the book? “What dogs think.” Seriously, it happened. They ate that book. None of the other things. Just that one. Maybe they are extremely intelligent and I’m the one who isn’t so smart.