Smart dogs, dumb dogs

We once had a dog, a black dachshund-spaniel cross named Duchess. We tried to keep her in the back yard, but she’d somehow get out–and run right back to the front door to come in!
She also tried to eat anything small that moved. She tried to eat a potato bug–and got a bit lip for her trouble.
Post here the smart (or dumb) things your dog has done.

my dog used to understand gravity to some extent. The female minpin would predict that something falling on a table should fall exactly below to the floor. Pretty funny showing her a treat in my hand, teasing her with it, then dropping high above only to drop on something before the floor. She’d frantically try to find the treat on the floor, not realizing it’s above.

Our foundling mutt is (we think) a poodle-wiener dog mix. She’s not the stupidest animal in the world, but she has her moments. For example, I let her out to answer nature’s call. Sometimes I’ll just open the garage door and let her go out front, then I’ll go back inside, because she never wanders off and she always barks to come back in.

But for some reason, when she’s ready to come back inside, she won’t come through the open garage door. She’ll walk around the back to the man door between the back yard and the garage, and sit there, barking. I guess the big overhead door is an exit only…

A few weeks ago my dog was pissed at me for leaving her home alone, so she took all the things out of the trash - and took a bunch of things off the coffee table and put them into the trash (8 things in all, including my reading glasses.)

Hee - we had a…not-so-bright Dachshund named Duchess! Breed or name, breed or name…

Let’s see, I think dogs’ brains just dribble out their ears when they cross our threshold!

Recently, Binkley and Cody have taken to eating turd-sicles in the backyard.

Our little dog is pretty smart, I think. She is bright enough to look at something that you’re pointing at, instead of looking at your finger. I think that’s pretty good for a very small, decorative mammal. That’s all I have at the moment.

We had a cocker spaniel who was pretty smart. Last thing before going to bed, we’d let her out for a wee, with the instruction ‘Go wee.’ She knew she wouldn’t be allowed back inside until she’d been, but on rainy or cold nights she would run to the lawn, quickly squat as if she was weeing, then run back to be let in.

My sheltie learned to manipulate our 2 danes.

She realized that when she went to the front door and barked, the two danes would do the same, so when the danes had something she wanted (usually a rawhide) she would literally look at the danes, casually walk over to the front door, and bark her head off. The danes would run to the door barking and she would sneak back and steal their bones.

It was hilarious because she did this ALL THE TIME, and the danes never caught on. You could literally see her planning to do this. I love my dog.

We used to joke that my dog saved my sister’s life. Not really, but here’s what happened.

We had a sunken living room, and my sister was a toddler, and she would toddle around in one of those walker things. Whenever she would do this, my dog would lay by the step in front of the living room, so she would not accidently fall down it. He would get up there as soon as he saw her in the walker. He was such a good dog. RIP D.J.

BTW, is Duchess the standard name for female dachshunds? I knew someone with the same kind of dog with that name… Weird.

That’s a really smart dog, IMO. Any time a dog can predict a likely outcome in advance, he’s like the Sir Isaac Fignewton of dogs.

You know how a dog on a leash will sometimes get the leash wrapped around some object, like a tree? Well, I once encountered a black Lab who was standing with his owner next to a park bench. He decided to jump up onto the bench, then jump back to ground between the seat and the back of the bench. Then, I swear, he looked at the leash, and you could see him thinking, “That leash is about to become a problem, I’d better go back the way I came.” So he did, and then jumped back to ground with an untangled leash. I wanted to ask that dog’s advice about any number of topics, but I never saw him again.

I have always thought that my dog was the Einstein of the canine world, but right now I am having difficulty coming up with anything particularly bright that he has done (that wasn’t totally unintentional).

I am sure that not currently remembering all of the incredibly smart things he has done has something to do with his current activity. He is engaging in his new favorite pass time- licking the couch.

Oh! I think I have one though. Before we lost our last cat (may he RIP) the cat was very ill (he was FIV+ and going into liver failure) necessitating a trip to the emergency vet. When he came home on lots of medications and still not feeling well, kitty could barely stand by himself. The dog would stand next to him so that kitty could lean against him and helped him to his water dish and the litter box. He also “stood guard” next to the litter box and helped kitty out (boosting him up with his nose) and would lead him back to his bed (with kitty leaning against him again). The cat had lost most of his fur and was always cold, so he slept under the covers on my bed. The dog also sleeps on my bed, so he would stand on his hind legs and feel around for the “kitty bump” before jumping onto the bed to make sure he didn’t jump on or step on the cat. After kitty passed away, he still felt around for him and would cry when he couldn’t find him (it was so sad. :frowning: The dog ended up on antidepressants for a while during his grieving.)

My dog, I had when I was young, was very intelligent. He was a shepherd/collie mix and he could do all kinds of tricks. He trained very easily. He was so smart he learned to open the gate and walk out and go to the neighbor’s house and open the gate there and let their dog out.

He learned when it snows how to dig snow into a huge pile that would allow him to walk over a five foot fence.

And this intelligent dog, so smart couldn’t seem to get the idea of SKUNK = BAD!!!

Not once, not twice but THREE times in one summer he got skunked. I mean it’s a skunk, it’s not like it’s not clearly marked as such. It’s in black and white, so a dog certainly can see it.

But not this doggie. Did you know dogs can spit? I didn’t till our dog got it right in the face and he was spitting skunk spray. Poor guy you say? No, poor me, I had to clean him up and trust me, skunk smell gets everywhere.

My first dog, a black lab who passed away two years ago of old age, learned the name of all his toys. I bought him loads of sweaky toys and fuzzy toys and chew toys. Each time I gave one to him I would give it a name (spiny ball, purple monster, etc.) I tested him numerous times on the names by having all the toys in one room, calling him into the room where I was (out of his line of site) and telling him which toy I wanted. I would go through a list of a dozen or so and he did it correctly every time. Also, two of the toys were exactly alike in shape but one was yellow and one was purple and he knew the difference (they must have smelled different.)

My dog (a Lab/Shepherd mix) does that too. But then Labs are incredibly smart dogs, aren’t they? :slight_smile: When I give him a new toy, which is often because he is my spoiled baby, I name it for him. The most recent is a stuffed gorilla that I called “the purple monkey”. After having it for just one day I could tell him to bring me “purple monkey” or bring me “pink teddy bear” and he would bring the appropriate one. He also knows the difference between “tennis ball”, “pink ball”, “blue ball” and “foot ball”.

He gets tested often by people who don’t believe me, and they sometimes try to trick him, but ask him for a particular toy and that is the one he will bring every time.
ETA: …when he is not busy licking the couch :wink:

A dog (Labrador retriever) at the local hardware store will fetch various items for customers. ‘Isabelle, two duct tape.’ She gets them. Unless she only gets one. ‘I said two duct tape.’ She goes to get the other one.

There’s a recent thread here saying dogs can see color.

My beagle Quincy was very smart. One night he went to my wife wagging at her to let him out. Normally he came to me . She got up and he led her to the door. When she got there he made a break for the bed. He jumped up into her space ,got under the covers and put his head on her pillow. When she got back he growled at her to go away. He formulated a plan and carried it out. And it took a few steps.

My mother’s dog Feller (Autralian shepherd and Chow) was brilliant.

One year I bought him a squeeky football toy for Christmas and put it in a box to make it easier to wrap. It sat under the tree for a week, untouched. On Christmas morning, as soon as we started distributing presents, he went straight to his gift and tore it open himself. I never gave him any hint that that gift was his, and it was the first time he had a gift under the tree. I figure that smell was involved somehow.

He also knew what V-E-T and B-A-T-H spelled.

My IQ test for dogs: Use the dog’s name in a sentence in a normal tone of voice while talking to another human. If its ears perk up but it stays put, it’s smart. If it comes running like it was called, you’ve got a dumb dog. If there’s no reaction it’s braindead. (Many humans fail this test.)

We had a very smart dog. Eventually even spelling out things like WALK, LEASH, CREEK, did not work. We had to invent secret codes. Or she would just get too excited.

On the other hand you couldn’t say “vet” within hours of taking her to one.

My son taught her French. First he taught her things like, “Assayez-vous,” then when I pointed out that being a dog, she would need the familiar form, he taught her that. She picked things up like lightning.

Also: We could have her sit-stay, and throw a ball, a stick, and a Frisbee–she could hardly stand it, but she sat, quivering and ready–then tell her to “get the stick,” or “get the Frisbee.” If we could find a blue ball (racquetball ball) and a tennis ball, she would fetch the blue one if we said so, or the tennis ball. She did this reliably, every single time, including the first time we ever tried it.

If you pointed your finger at her and said BANG, she would fall down.

If you asked her “What does Sandy say?” she would reply, “Arf!”

On the other hand, if you wanted her to eat something, or take a pill, all you had to do was pretend YOU were gobbling it up, yum yum YUM, and then offer it to her, and she would eat anything. Fortunately, she never needed many pills, but it was easy enough to trick her into taking them. She never caught onto this trick.

The dog we had after her was dumb, but honest, goodnatured, and loyal.

ETA: the smart one was Australian shepherd and German shepherd. The dumb one was German shepherd and Chow, probably.

Now the smart things are starting to come back to me. :wink:

My dog LOVES going to the vet (they have the best treats apparently) so we never spelled that one, but he has learned to spell W-A-L-K and understands just W. He goes nuts when he hears “walk” so we started spelling it if we weren’t planning to take him just that second. When he learned to spell it we started saying “W” and he picked that up right away. Now I make the walking fingers motion when discussing “walk” with anyone but the dog, and I am afraid he has learned that too. He just loves his walkies I guess. :wink:

He also knows a whole vocabulary relating to food. He will respond to hearing any of us talking about “food” “dinner” “snack” “breakfast” “lunch” “dinner” and “hungry”.

Josh (that’s the puppy!) Will perk up his ears, remain put but do that questioning head tilt like he is trying to figure out what we are saying about him. He does the same when hears someone on TV say “Josh”. We get a similar response if we say, “dog” “puppy” “baby” or one of his various nicknames.

I did tell you my dog is brilliant didn’t I? :wink: