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THE INTELLIGENCE OF DOGS

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 06:47 am
I have been contemplating on the many excellent character traits of dogs this morning. As many of you may know, i hold the domestic cat in contempt--it is a toss-up, as far as i am concerned, as to which is brighter, the domestic cat or the pet rock.

But dogs are creatures of an excellent and subtle understanding. Unlike the aloof cat (which is unaware that it is not the center of the family, let alone the universe), dogs are happy to participate in the activities of the gr0up of which it is a part, and to contribute as its poor means allow to the overall happiness and well-being of the group.

For example, our dogs are particular solicitous about the cleanliness of the floors. They frequently and vigilantly inspect the floors, especially in the kitchen. Each has it's own character of course--Miss Cleo takes particular care to keep The Girl's face clean. (I don't allow her to kiss me--i've seen what she is willing to eat.) Mr. Bailey knows squirrels for the vile and insidious creatures which they undoubtedly are, and will suffer none to remain in his sight. Miss Cleo, of course, joins in the fun, but she is usually barking just because the boy dog is barking. She is not really interested the in merits of the case, she just wants to participate.

The dogs are also concerned about my weight. In particular, they hope to help assure that i do not overeat. To that end, they watch every mouthful with an intensity which bespeaks an amazing focus of attention. (One must never carelessly allow one's hand, holding a sammich, to dangle at one's waist--not, that is, if one expects to eat the sammich oneself.)

I will take note of other examples of the excellence of the character of dogs as they occur to me.
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 08:02 am
Contrary to popular belief, cats do engage in teammwork.

I once set a plate with half a roasted chicken on it on the dining room table.

There was a sudden noise and I turned my head to the left to see lulu innocently pushing a narrow cardboard box over. When I looked back (time elapsed approx 3/4 of a second) the chicken was gone.

Looking to the right....nothing....nada....
(total time elapsed 1.5 seconds.)

Looking back to the left, lulu was gone.

Went down a longish hallway, looking for my chicken. I went into the master bedroom, got down on my hands and knees, and lifted up the dust ruffle on the king size bed. There was lulu, the distractor, and simi, the chicken thief, in the exact center under the bed, where they couldn't be reached nomming on a half a roasted chicken.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 08:07 am
This just confirms my long stated position that cats is the spawn of Satan.

Once't, i was cooking sausages on an hibachi on the front porch. The Girl was in the backyard, and she stepped into the kitchen to holler a question at me. I didn't understand, so i stepped into the living room and asked her to repeat that. I went back onto the porch, with less than a minute having elapsed and four sausages were gone. Mr. Bailey was sitting there with a defiant expression on his face. Since he could not possibly have eaten four sausages in the time elapsed, he was smart enough to have taken them and hid them somewhere.

Again, he has only our best interests at heart. I'm sure he felt that neither of us ought to overeat, and that those sausages were just too much fat for us.

But he was willing to make the personal sacrifice . . .
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:06 am
@Setanta,
pigs are the smartest of domestic animals. They recognize themselves in a reflective surface and they have several vocalizations for communications. Dogs are good, I only respect and like the working dogs though. The others are pretty much whining twits who would die of starvation if they didnt have a human to supply all their every need.

Very few dogs have been allowed to retain their natural intelligence . Theyve mostly been bred for conformity not brains. Thats why you will see all kinds of body styles , color, and gair length in border collies , Aussie Sheepdogs, and Shelties. Any dog thats bred for conformance has a gene link to dumbness and cuteness.
Too bad, many varieties of dogs have had illustrious histories in hunting, working and protection. Many of the classic breeds like St Bernards (bred from Molossus stock) are becoming vicious because their conformity stacks the deck against their original nature as a working dog. Same thing with German Shepherds, whove become a breed that rarely lives past 10 years because of all the congenital crap thats been allowd to become dominant.

With cats, you know that theres something big going on in their heads, even if its pissing off the dog just for sport. Im convinced that cats know how to laugh.

farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:07 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
But dogs are creatures of an excellent and subtle understanding
H! Dont never get caught between a dogs path and a meat loaf.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:09 am
My cats hide treasure for me in their litter box.

Sometimes when they sense I am tired, they leave their gifts right on top so I don't have to exert myself to admire them.

They seem to be saying "pull up a chair. I made this just for you"

farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:12 am
@chai2,
do your cats display their recent mouse catches so you can asdmire them?
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:26 am
@farmerman,
No, there're indoor cats, so no mice.

In this hot weather outside bugs seek shelter inside the cool house, and get crunched up by tooths.

I can't imagine ever needing an exterminator.

Wait, there are rubber and cloth mice around. I've watched as the mice get carried over to a food dish, and dropped in so they can enjoy some dry food, or dropped into the commode so they can have a swim.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:36 am
Dogs which are no inbred, however, are a very different story. Now Mr. Bailey is such an exemplary product of high-level training that i suspect he'd die without us, because he won't eat off the street. Miss Cleo, however, probably would survive in a feral state. She'll eat just about anything. And she's smart. When she chases squirrels, she comes within inches of them because she doesn't bark, and even her growl in such an instance is low in her throat, and they don't hear her until she's almost on them. I suspect that if she had to make a living, she'd be able to do it, even if she didn't live well.

I worked on a farm in New Mexico, which had a pack of dogs, a mix of Australian Shepherd and Border Collie, and lead by an old yellow cross breed who had been abandoned by a failed hippie commune. One summer, the owner found a Basenji (sp?) on the side of the road, and when he tracked down the owners to say he had her, they just hung up on him. It quickly became apparent why though, as she could be quietly annoying (they don't bark). She was called Twerp. She also worked as a nurse, nursing the other dogs when they were injured or snake-bit, whether they liked it or not.

The dogs had an evening ritual of chasing coyotes out of the arroyo. They would go sounding after some poor dumb schmuck of a coyote who had been stupid enough (the young ones i suspect) to wander into an arroyo that must has just screamed "Dog!" The pack would be in full cry, with Twerp out front, doing her damnest to catch up to the coyote. Almost invariably, the pack would come to a screeching halt, but quietly, and Twerp would continue on several yards chasing the coyote. Soon, though, both Twerp and the coyote would notice the changed circumstances, and the hunter would become the hunted, until she raced back among the pack, who would tear off after the coyote again.

No one who had seen that pack of dogs sitting there watching Twerp chasing the coyote alone would have doubted that they were laughing.
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 11:56 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
This just confirms my long stated position that cats is the spawn of Satan.


Though I do not share your contempt of cats, I do agree with the above assessment. I think the devil-spawn nature of cats is, oddly, part of the appeal for me.

That said, my current dog does appear to confirm your theory. With almost humanlike cognizance he recognizes when I have accidentally thrown a tennis ball or stick a great distance and will dutifully return it to me, and will even linger for a bit lest I mistakenly do it again.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 12:51 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

No one who had seen that pack of dogs sitting there watching Twerp chasing the coyote alone would have doubted that they were laughing.


Amongst themselves, they must have called him Mr. Dumas
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 12:58 pm
@Shapeless,
Shapeless wrote:
That said, my current dog does appear to confirm your theory. With almost humanlike cognizance he recognizes when I have accidentally thrown a tennis ball or stick a great distance and will dutifully return it to me, and will even linger for a bit lest I mistakenly do it again.

It must be nice having a dog that likes you to throw the ball (and then brings it back).

My dog prefers to play tug-o-war, or keep-away with whatever she gets. So if I throw a ball, she will race like a guided missile to get it and then come streaking back... but then run right by me. She then turns around and comes back and runs circles around me goading me into chasing her. If I ignore her she will thrust the toy at my ankles until I try to snatch it from her at which point she dances away happily and runs more circles around me.

She is remarkably fast and can head-fake better than a pro basketball player, so I'm pretty much helpless in the keep-away game.

One solution to this problem is to keep multiple toys in the yard. Whichever one I pick up is the one she wants and she will drop the one she's got to chase anything I throw. Then the the keep-away game starts again until I pick up another toy.

Sometimes she gathers all her tennis balls together into one spot and guards them. If I approach slowly eyeing them, she will frantically grab each one intending to run away with it, but unwilling to leave the others (she can only hold one in her mouth at a time), then at the last second before I get to her, she will settle on one random ball and run away with it. But she's never very happy when I play that game because she hasn't figured out a way to win it yet.

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 01:08 pm
@rosborne979,
yet.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 01:22 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
yet.

She's workin on it.

She figured out how to put her floppy frisbee on top of the tennis ball and grip them both and carry them away together. But she just can't get more than one tennis ball in her mouth at a time. So unless she grows thumbs I think that one's gonna confound her for a long time to come. Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 01:40 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
But she's never very happy when I play that game because she hasn't figured out a way to win it yet.


Dogs have a finely developed sense of justice, they don't mind losing, but they resent having the deck stacked against them. I learned that with my border collie Morgan, who was happy to play fighty-bitey, but not if i knocked her feet from under her, which i could do repeatedly with a swipe of my forearm from behind, she'd get this look that said: "Hey . . . no fair" and wouldn't play any longer. I recognized the justice of her complaint, and we had a lot of fun playing that and other games thereafter.

Dogs have a well-developed sense of fun, too. When she was a puppy, i would take her to a large field in the neighborhood which all the dog owners resorted to. In the 1890s, it had been the site of the football field and the baseball diamond of the university at which i worked. There was a fat black lab bitch there who thought she was queen. She would run at the other dogs until they went on their backs and showed their bellies in submission. The first time she did that to Morgan, the poor little puppy, she immediately went on her back, and was truly frightened. I was having none of that, so i ran over, and kept walking at the lab bitch, until she backed away, turned around and left. In dog language, i was telling her: "I own this space, all of it, you ain't ****." The lab bitch hated me, but she kept out of my way--like all bullies, she was also a coward. When Morgan i were there and the lab bitch was not, i would play a chasing game, but if she went on her back i would scold her and refuse to play any longer. It didn't take long for the nickel to drop for Morgan. She was the runt of her litter, but she was built like a whippet, and was the fastest border collied i've ever seen. Not long after, we went to the field, and the black lab bitch was there. When Morgan got far enough away that the lab bitch thought it was safe, she ran up to her. Morgan danced away, laughing. So the bitch went for her again, faster, and Morgan just danced away again, laughing at her. So the bitch got really pissed, and went after her full tilt. It wasn't a fair match, even if that bitch hadn't been overweight and out of shape. Morgan stayed ahead of her, and of course, few dogs can cut and dodge like a border collie. Finally, Miss Bitch was exhausted and went plodding back to her master (who also hated me, and also seemed afraid to challenge me). Morgan followed her, literally running circles around her. That old bitch never tried that with Morgan again, and Morgan would often run up to her, and run around her, as though to say: "Come on, that's a fun game, let's play it again!"
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 01:55 pm
Lab Bitch

http://www.foureyesjokeshop.com/ProductImages/OPHELIA_Cummings.jpg
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 02:48 pm
I would not have been chasing that lab bitch away . . .
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 03:17 pm
My dog and I always played with balls, tug ropes and the like. These were some titanic struggles, for she is the strongest dog I ever owned. She has never deliberately hurt me, but I usually departed a match, bleeding. Not profusely. But, for the past year, she only plays with me a little, then takes the balls or ropes outside, away from me, and leaves them there. I'm not sure why the change, for, she played with my grandson the way she once played with me, last week, three days straight. Maybe it's because I wouldn't give her a break and just let her think she won, or maybe it's because, at five, she has other interests. She still stays close at my side most of the time, so I know she isn't mistrustful of me as a friend. Maybe she got tired of the way I don't give her any breaks when we play. Guess I'll never really know.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 08:53 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Dogs have a finely developed sense of justice, they don't mind losing, but they resent having the deck stacked against them.

Maybe so, but Dakota certainly doesn't seem to mind when the deck is stacked in her favor. She knows I can't catch her when she plays keep-away.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 09:06 pm
@chai2,
Yeah, bugs. We can have one crawl inside, and before you know it, there two cats sitting around with their tails wrapped neatly around themselves, gazing seriously at the intruder. They're absolutely ferocious.
 

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