Monday, September 24, 2012

Intelligence: a two edged sword

I may or may not have mentioned it, but I do so love blog hops (you might have noticed). I get to read all kinds of new blogs that I hadn't discovered before, and new people come to me as well! One of these new blogs was Bites and Tales, who commented on last week's Wordless Wednesday and who I went to check out.

Scrolling through, I adored the picture, and then came to a post on a topic near and dear to my heart: Smart dogs.




A very good article called Beware the Smart Dog is linked, and makes quite a lot of good points. I brag about having a smart dog, and about how many tricks Elka knows, but there are times that I could almost wish her mind was a little active and inquisitive. There are times I wish she would be happy to just chill out without making a production out of it. There are times I just don't want to be clever in order to give Elka something to think about, and the Kong (or Monster Mouth) + treats + peanut butter is a regular cop out. Other times, I get over myself, get out the clicker, and we work on something. Or I ask her to find socks for me, and I do laundry.


There are times, I admit it, I want "me time", not necessarily "me and Elka" time. Kind of hard, when she would happily crawl into my chest cavity and sleep there, were it possible. She whines when I'm in the bathroom frequently (we're working on it....still) or picks that time to bark at...the wind? The neighbor's cat meowing? Our other neighbors coming home? I'm not always sure. 


It always ends up worth it, though. She does something that makes me smile, laugh, and relax. The connections that she makes with that massive intelligence are frequently awesome, and the understanding she has of the people around her can be really great. She is entirely without guile, and the world is just a wonderment to her. On a walk recently, Elka pounced after some leaves blowing in the wind, and then looked up at me brightly, as if to say "Did you SEE that? Isn't it GREAT?"

Yes, Elka. It's pretty great.




45 comments:

  1. Love Elka's enthusiasm for the leaves! She is so darn cute.
    This morning Maggie was running over to tease Serena cat and slid across the floor on the area rug. She turned to me with that "did you see that?" look too!

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    1. Leaf chasing is something she's done since she was a puppy. It's one of the cutest things ever, and totally surprising to a lot of people who see it!

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  2. Smart dos may require more work, but in the end it is worth it!

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  3. Love the nose shot. Have a wonderful Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Yes, it's one of my Elka pictures that I'm pretty happy with!

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  4. At least you have activities to keep your smart dog busy. I bet she was cute chasing leaves. :)

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    1. Yes, I do what I can! The leaf chasing is adorable. She'll try to chase snow too.

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  5. Torrey is like Elka, too smart sometimes, and she gets bored easy, On the upside, she can find joy in the small things, and make me laugh and smile.

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    1. Isn't it funny, that dogs can get bored? I had no idea, before Elka. Another stop along my canine education!

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  6. Smart dogs are definitely work. And definitely worth it. I don't think I'd have it any other way, though. We discovered, when we adopted a brother and sister Aussie pair, that having two smart dogs is better than one. They keep each other occupied.

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    1. That's been a point of argument I've brought up in favor of getting Elka a little "brother or sister". It hasn't worked yet! Of course, with our luck, BOTH of them would be all "MOOOOOM, I'm booooored".

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  7. Totally agree- I used to think I would love having a border collie around due to their extreme intelligence, but quickly realized being too smart is definitely an issue. Without a job to do most of the time, many of them because hard to manage and even destructive. Rufus is a great mix - he is definitely smart, but he's also incredibly mellow. I would love to find another one with that perfect mix.

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    1. That is a great balance! Elka can mellow out at times, but there are others she definitely needs something to occupy her mind and help her make that transition.

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  8. Awww - that's so sweet! Just think how bored you'd be if Elka didn't challenge you!

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    1. She definitely does what she can to keep me sharp! I do wonder sometimes what I did with my time, pre-Elka. It seems like I was far less productive, anyway!

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  9. What a great post especially the part where Elka pounced on the blowing leaves......awwwwwe! They really do see the beauty in everything don't they. :)

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    1. They do see a lot that we don't! I try to slow down and take that lesson. Y'know, when I'm not late for work ;)

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  10. Woof! Woof! Oh do I miss the blowing of the leaves ... fall is my fav season n missing it sooo much. ENJOY Sweet Elka. Happy MM. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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    1. Aw Sugar, sorry you miss your leaves! I like summer the best, so I'm sad to see autumn arrive!

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  11. Yes, smart dogs are the hardest! Nola is whip smart and stubborn, always needs something to do. She's the most difficult, but I love a challenge ;)
    Nola's Mom

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    1. They are such a rewarding challenge, aren't they?

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  12. Elka. You are pretty great! I also loved your close up nose shot!

    ~Higgins

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    1. Her prettiness makes up for my photography!

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  13. Us smart doggies like to keep our humans on their toes!

    Slobbers

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  14. Life so good! I enjoyed river walkies with my humom today!!

    ~Mason

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  15. Those smart dogs really know how to keep you on your toes! lol We often joke that we never even open the refrigerator in front of Kuster, because that's all it would take for him to figure it out, but we're also partially serious. He doesn't miss anything -- ever!

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    1. My fiance in fact doesn't want me to teach Elka to turn off lights, because he feels she'll just do it all the time to spite us or something.

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  16. Mom is always on her toes here, BOL
    Benny & Lily

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    1. Hey, it's good for us! (...right?)

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  17. Awww, I loved reading this:))) Leroy lacks some smarts but Sherman makes up for it for him:)))

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    1. Aw, thanks! I'm sure Leroy has his strengths too, what with being able to be the innocent one and all ;)

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  18. I love the leaf pouncing. I only usually see that when I have the little pups. Smart dogs are a lot of fun, but I think they require more work. You always have to keep them active or they can get into some mischief.

    Happy MM,
    Colby

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    1. Yup, more mischief is I think what happens here sometimes (especially when we first got her)! It is more work, trying to figure out jobs and tricks and management, but I think it's been worth it!

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  19. I love this idea. Yes, smart dogs are both a blessing and a curse. But all the time you spend helping Elka reach her potential is time that strengthens your bond. Many people would love to have the kind of relationship you two have.

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    1. I am so very happy and lucky to have Elka. She's certainly the dog that I've always wanted!

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  20. You might enjoy my trainer's blog post on "Why you don't want a smart dog" https://paws4udogs.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/lessons-from-shedd-why-you-dont-really-want-a-smart-dog/

    Shanoa and Simon say hi!

    Nicole

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    1. Thanks for sharing your trainer's blog! I did, in fact, enjoy it and she (he?) makes very good points!

      Seriously, who knew that dogs could get bored? I didn't even think about it previously, perhaps because none of the dogs I knew were mine, and none were "intelligent" on that scale. They were happy to chill out if humans didn't offer interaction. Or I was walking them around whatever neighborhood we happened to be in! I saw my dad's friend's sister recently (well, within the past few years) and she remarked upon how I was always dragging their dog around the neighborhood.

      I wonder at that, too, sometimes. Who lets a nine year old just wander around with their dog? That's trust, there.

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    2. And "hi" right back to Simon and Shanoa! I was thinking of them snug in their jammies tonight...it's chilly in NY!

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  21. Such a good call. I was having a similar conversation with a friend the other day. Bella is by no means what you would call a smart dog, and it's interesting to contrast her with some of my past pups who were very smart and easily bored!

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    1. It's funny, my fiance mentioned just the other day that he frequently thinks he needs a "less smart" dog.

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  22. What a sweet post! A smarty pants dog can definitely be a challenge to keep occupied and content. I make a lot of jokes about how much of a dummy Desmond is--and in a lot of ways he is either seriously clueless or really good at faking it for manipulation purposes--but I know he's got brains and needs that same kind of stimulation often as well. I shouldn't be such a Mean Girl to him. :-)

    Btw, I totally feel you on both the whining and the chest cavity thing.

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    1. Aw, be nice to Desmond! Though the upshot is that for the most part, dogs don't actually know what we're saying to them, either. They're not completely ignorant, but there is that communications gap.

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