Gut Rumbles

February 12, 2006

smart dogs

I went to visit my grandmother today. And her little dog, too.

Mommie inherited Fancy, my mama's Yorkshire Terrier. Fancy was a Christmas present my brother and I gave to mama nine years ago. After mama died, the little dog almost grieved itself to death before she finally accepted Mommie as her new Place Where the Sun Rises and Sets. They make a good couple now.

Fancy is an extremely intelligent dog, with a large vocabulary. She understands a lot of what people say, and Mommie sometimes SPELLS OUT words she doesn't want the dog to hear. F-O-O-D, for example. C-A-T is another one.

My brother and I started remembering smart dogs we knew in the past and trying to outdo each other with stories about those dogs. I once had a dog who knew every toy he owned by name. He also knew the word "bath" and would disappear every time he heard it. My brother had a dog who could climb trees (I SAW that one in action.) He also had a dog who knew the word "medicine" and would disappear every time he heard it.

Smart dogs. Did YOU ever have one?


ours knows bath, medicine, french fries, treats, leash, and walk.

And several of the spellings. We've had to resort to alternates....

Posted by: caltechgirl on February 12, 2006 08:38 PM dog mad Max. (half pitt bull, half bassett hound if you can imagine such a critter) He got seriously beat up by a groundhog when he was a pup. He would get very excited whenever he heard the word groundhog and when he was an adult, he would quite literally and always destroy them completely. He had the short legs of a bassett, but the jaws of a pitt bull and would go crawl right inside their holes. He would always break their backs first, let them suffer for a while and then go for the jugular. I swear he loved to torture them and I sadistically loved to watch it happen.

Posted by: marcl on February 12, 2006 08:45 PM

Had a border collie/something mix (looked like a brown & white border collie, so the "something" was probably pretty dilute). He was sitting in the backyard one day while my mom took my grandmother's dog (dumb-ass animal) through it's training routing. You know, 'heel', 'sit', 'stay', etc. Grandma's dog was *not* getting it, despite having gone to classes.

Brownie (my dog) just sat and watched. Then when my mom decided to try some of the commands on him he already knew them. No class, no practice, just watching and listening.

Smart dog. I miss him:-(.

Posted by: Jason Bontrager on February 12, 2006 09:17 PM

I've got one now.
Sally. Black Lab mix. The best friend in the world. And SMART.
But, damn, high maintenance stroking is mandatory.
And never "enough". NEVER ENOUGH PETTING.

Even worse than some women I've known (and married one).
And they were HIGH maintenance too.
However, Sally returns love with no strings attached.
I can't say the same for . . .

Posted by: Dan Pursel on February 12, 2006 09:19 PM

All of our dogs have been smart. Bouviers are especially intelligent (we had three).

When my parents were selling our LA house they gave a key to the realtor. They would usually leave one of the dogs in the house when we were away due to burglar issues, but when the house was on the market they stopped doing that. One day they forgot, however.

According to the realtor, he came in to look through the house, but got a funny feeling,. He turned around and saw this big, black 150 pound dog creeping toward him with her teeth bared--no growling, no barking--and he slowly backed out of the house. Now our dogs were normally loud and boisterous when strangers were about. But that one, at least had a sneaky, stalking side.

But the smartest dog I've ever seen was one of the stray dogs in the neighborhood in which I used to live: a "'hood dog" as I used to call them.

I saw one stand on the sidewalk, look both ways, see no cars coming and cross in the crosswalk, never stepping on the white lines.

Posted by: Juliette on February 12, 2006 09:31 PM

I have an Akita and a Pit Bull mix. The only thing I care if they understand is "No!" and "Sic 'em!" which they do. But usally their size is enough to stop people...

But they understand vet, bath, pills, and car.

As much as ya don't want to hear this Rob, I also have two cats, raised by the Akita since they were a week old who understand these things too. They'll even attack if called to. They might not be very vicious but they are stubborn as hell.


Posted by: Steph on February 12, 2006 09:51 PM

The word Bath gives my big bitch seizures. Boyfriend will send both these horny bitches into a real tizzy. Chippies, short for chipmunk, makes them run out the door ready for attack. Who's mommies baby? hugs and kisses. Bedtime, they hit the bed before I do. Hell I got a bunch of them. I liked Mommies little dog, Fancy liked me too. Those little things just crack me up.

Posted by: Livey on February 12, 2006 10:42 PM

Shoestrings, a Minature Schnauzer, knew "food", "milk bone", "walk", "car", "bath" (run-and-hide moment), "car", "truck", "Mom", "Dad", "lap", "toy", and "stay".

He knew "stay" because my eldest daughter (now 25), spent the better part of a month teaching him to "stay" with stuff balanced on his nose - milk bones, beef chunks, cheese, chicken crackers, whatever. She'd put it on his nose, tell him to "stay", and then walk around the house, saying "stay, stay, stay" while the poor idiot dog drooled on the kitchen floor - but he by-God "stayed".

He was a Good Boy, and didn't know that he was "little" - he sure acted like a "tall dog".

Shoestrings lived with us for 13 years, and we miss him to this day.

Posted by: Ward Gerlach on February 12, 2006 10:58 PM

My family had 2 beagles (at different times) when I was growing up. Each could instanly recognize the rustle of the cellophane wrapping on store-bought cookies in addition to the rattle of the leash. (The leash rattle was often accompained by "wanna go for a walk???) It was always freak-out time when the suitcases were brought out. (The result usually being that they were left behind either at Grandma's house or in the kennel.)

The words cat, kitty, or C-A-T always resulted in a frenzy of barking and running around the yard.

Oh yeah, and the word "bath" was alllll bad!

Posted by: bobgirrl on February 12, 2006 11:21 PM

Mickey, my old Golden Retriever. Lost him at age 5 to cancer.

One night he kept "knocking" on the back door. This was not normal behavior.

When I opened the door, he kept running back and forth to a baby opossum that was laying on the patio.

I thought he had caught it and was trying to tell me. I brought him inside, but no way was I going out in the dark to pick up a dead animal.

Next morning, the opossum was gone. The darned thing was faking it.

So MIckey was smart enough to get me but not smart enough to know "playing possum" when he saw it....

Posted by: A Different Kim on February 12, 2006 11:25 PM

My Aussie dog was smart as a whip.

Posted by: Maeve on February 12, 2006 11:58 PM

Friend of mine had a male cocker spaniel and his sister had a female australian shepard. The shepard came into heat so they put a steel wire fence in the middle of the yard to keep them separated. We put both of the dogs out in the yard, kept apart of course by the fence. The male cocker went nuts...litterally. We drove off to go to work and when we came back 8 hours later the cocker had dug a deep hole under the fence to get to the shepard. The cocker seeing us pull up ran to the fence next to the truck and I swear....that dog was smiling ear to ear. He got her too. What a mix!

Posted by: No Mo on February 13, 2006 12:43 AM

My cat can spell T~U~N~A.

Posted by: DogsDontPurr on February 13, 2006 01:33 AM

My 9 yr. old dog, Dexter (half chihuahua/half shi tzu) is funny, loving and very smart. He's also my miracle dog. In the summer of 2002 I was diagnosed with meningitis AND encephalitis. I nearly died and was hospitalized 4 times and was off work for 4 months. During that time when it looked like I might never recover, my daughter down south took him to live with her. Her cat wasn't too keen on his presence and eventually my daughter found him a new home. Or so we all thought. (I never got to say g'bye to him and missed him so much, especially as I got better). Fifteen months later he was found only 120 miles from my home. He was wearing the same collar and tag, all dirty and skinnier and had terrible fleas. His rescuers saved him from some mean teen boys who were throwing rocks at him, took him in and cleaned him up and fed him. They called the vet's office listed on Dex's tag and the rest is history. We were reunited and our story even made the front page of our local newspaper with a pic of the both of us. I truly believe he was trying to get "back home" to me. He had already traveled 200 miles and crossed a river somehow. When those people called me, I had them put the phone up to Dex's ear and I called his name. They told me he wagged his tail and went over and picked up their leash in his mouth (like he used to do with me when we were going somewhere!)So yes, he is one smart doggie. One more thing, before my illness he never slept with me but since he has been back he sleeps with me. Love him to pieces!

Posted by: Cindi on February 13, 2006 04:00 AM

The little bitch that owns me now is smart but smart like a cat. She knows what I am telling her to do and she soes it if she ways to-just like a damn cat.

Posted by: GUYK on February 13, 2006 08:29 AM

I gotta dog now that climbs trees and shits on command.

Posted by: Seppo on February 13, 2006 10:53 AM

I had two labradors, brother and sister (one black one white) that were as different as yin and yang. The black bitch was too smart for her own good, and knew the word 'bath', would run tail between legs if you said it to her. She also knew 'walk', and would go run to the door to get the leash and bring it to you. She was also smart enough to know when we weren't around, she could get away with anything, that sneaky dog. Miss the pair of them so much it kills me to this day.

Posted by: Roy on February 13, 2006 12:54 PM

My little dog is smart as anything. She will stop whatever she's doing if I so much as give her a look that says 'no'. And I used to have a dog called Chips. One day I spotted him at a zebra crossing, standing at the kerb. He waited until the cars stopped in both directions, then sauntered across the road, whilst I swear, nodding and smiling at the drivers to say 'Thanks'. Smart, AND polite! :)

Posted by: Misty on February 13, 2006 01:33 PM

You don't have enough band width for all the smart as hell dog tales I have, but this is the one I like best (right now)
Shadow was a 145 lb. German Shepherd and did plenty to get him in this comment, but the cake was the time my wife and I went out when the kids were little. We told the sitter to take the kids to get ice cream if they behaved. She went to put the kids in her car and Shadow would not let her do it. He didn't bark, nor growl. He just put himself between the children and the open car door, on both sides as she tried to load up those kids. He didn't have any problem with her, but he would NOT let those kids get into her car. He loved to ride in my truck, and if the tailgate was down and you walked by, all was cool. But if the gate was up he would lie down and wait. I you walked by he popped up and barked up a storm. He was a big dog, and had a bark to match. A plumber almost took my head off over that.

Posted by: Wes Jackson on February 14, 2006 02:58 AM

My black lab mutt was smarter than a lot of people I know. His name was Max for short, but his real name was Maxhole. Because he was one.

He used to go cliff-diving in the Catskills. He didn't like to jump in from higher than about 15 feet so we had a favorite spot. You dove in, swam over to the other side of the pool, climbed over a bunch of boulders and then up the cliff back to where you jumped in.
One day, this nitwit shows up and starts acting like a jerk. "My brother owns this place. You people, stop doing that. You over there,....etc."

So Maxhole decides he doesn't like the nitwit. Two or three times he dove in, swam over, climbed over the boulders and up the cliff to stand right behind the guy and shake off. Hysterical. He also turned his back on the guy and slowly wagged his, very wet, tail thereby spraying the nitwit. He also kept running around and jumping over the guy's girlfriend as she tried to sun-bathe.
Said nitwit was furious, but with 20-30 people yelling "Max" as he did his diving, Max had a lot more friends than the nitwit.
When Max was being his most assholic, he would then turn to the person with his patented, "I'm just a dog" look.
Man I miss that SOB. He was the best friend I ever had.

I still meet people 10+ years later who have absolutely no idea who I am but who will say, "Max? Oh he was a great dog. I remember when he..."
In 88 we lived in the Modena Madhouse, we made High Times that year as one of the top 10 party houses in America (Aug and Sept I think). Max used to get drunk and rowdy with the rest of us. You just spilled some beer on the carpet and he would lap it up. He didn't like it in bowls, just on the floor.

Posted by: Veeshir on February 14, 2006 07:57 AM

Duke, 150lbs of german shepard, didn't like people in uniform. He was a seeing eye dog we got from the pound. I was about 7 years old so it was more like he would take me for walks on his leash. Most people were afraid of him (the postman was terrified) but my baby sisters could take the food out of his mouth when he was eating and did. One day a friend babysat while my mother was in the hospital. When my folks got home they found the babysitter locked in the bathroom. She had tried to spank one of my little sisters. So Duke did the babysitting. I never knew such an intelligent animal. That was about 40 years ago and I still miss him. The story I heard was that the old man that took him to the pound was a postman that used to take Duke into a locked room while he beat his blind grandchild. That dog was my first hero. Duke was gentle and strong, but he didn't like uniforms and he understood things.

Posted by: ken anthony on February 17, 2006 03:09 AM
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