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Okay, you guys know that I love dogs, but sometimes, I think that dogs can be really, really, really stupid. What brought me to this conclusion? Well, I’ve seen a lot of pretty stupid behavior in my own dogs, and in dogs that belong to my friends, and also read about some remarkably stupid things that dogs have done. Personal experience, observation, and research have all led me to believe that sometimes dogs can be pretty much dumber than a bag of rocks.
A friend of mine recently told me about a test that was done on dogs, wolves, and coyotes. I’m sorry, I searched everywhere online and I can’t find the original test, so I’ll state at the outset that I’m not even sure if there ever really was such a test done, but it does have a ring of truth about it. Anyway, what my friend told me was that researchers set up a long, chain-link fence – not an enclosure in and of itself, just a single line of fencing that would have provided full access to the other side from either end. Then an actual enclosure was erected around the fence line for the protection of the test animals, with more than enough room to make it apparent, visually, that the other side of the fence was accessible.
The purpose of the test was to try to assess the problem-solving skills of dogs, so food was placed on one side of the fence, and then a number of dogs, coyotes and wolves were led into the enclosure, on the opposite side of the fence. Not all at once, of course – just one animal at a time. Most of the wolves found their way around the fence and got to the food in record time. The coyotes took a bit longer, but most of them figured out the problem and got to enjoy a nice meal. Most of the dogs just stood outside the fence.
And stood. And stood. And waited. And stared at the food. And presumably would have starved if figuring out how to go to one end or another of the fence and simply walk over to the other side had been their only way of getting fed.
I saw something similar a few days ago with my own dogs. I was playing with Janice and Leroy outside our fenced-in yard, throwing a stick. At one point, I threw the stick into the yard, and Janice ran in through the open gate to get the stick. Leroy just stood there at the point where the stick had gone over the fence wondering what to do. It never occurred to Leroy, as it did to Janice, that he could run in through the gate and get the stick. So I guess 50% of my dogs have problem-solving skills!
I don’t think that Leroy is stupid – in fact, I’ve put forth evidence in a few of my posts to suggest that he has a half-decent brain (check out 9 Strategies for Building Confidence in Your Dog), but this kind of behavior leads me to think that he might be a bit challenged in some ways.
As you might expect, though, being the compulsive researcher that I am, I had to go looking for evidence to prove to myself that I didn’t have the biggest doggie doofus in the whole world. So I started looking around online, and also asking some of my friends about stupid behavior on the part of their dogs. The results were hilarious. I’m going to change the names to protect the guilty, but here goes.
Cheryl’s Basset Hound raced out of the house one morning, and ran across the street to where a little girl was waiting for the school bus. The dog raised his leg and peed on her backpack, and then ran back home.
Now, I’m not entirely certain that this qualifies as stupid behavior per se, but I have to wonder what was going through that Basset’s mind.
Jeannie’s dad tied her dog to a garbage can one day, because the dog was always getting into the garbage. Jeannie walked away, and when she looked behind her, there was the dog, dragging the trash can. Which was subsequently dragged into the neighbors’ cars, yards, and… well, you get the idea. The thing was, the dog couldn’t hear Jeannie’s dad calling over the noise of the trash can.
I have to say I’m not really sure where to apply the “stupid” label here. Maybe dragging the garbage can wasn’t the brightest move on the dog’s part, but I’m also thinking that Jeannie’s dad isn’t exactly rocket science material either.
We all know about dogs eating things that aren’t good for them, but can you imagine a dog eating chocolates, a scented candle and sewing needles? All in the same day? That’s what Karl’s dog did, and he’s lucky to be alive – the dog, that is, not Karl!
Jason’s dog ate poo from turkeys that were kept in the yard and then thought it was a good idea to jump up on Jason’s lap and give him kisses – with full-on tongue.Of course the dog had no idea why Jason didn’t react well. I guess we’ll just have to put this one down to the fact that dogs can sometimes be pretty stupidly affectionate!
Keisha’s Labrador went outside with her while she was taking out the trash. As was his custom, the Lab peed on the telephone pole at the end of the driveway, but then he kept going, headed up the neighbor’s driveway, entered their doggy door and snagged the bacon right off the neighbor’s plate. Now, you could probably argue that this is pretty creative, and not stupid, but the stupid factor came into play when the dog couldn’t figure out that the doggy door worked both ways. The neighbor had to call Keisha to come and get her dog
In an interesting footnote, when Keisha arrived to pick up the canine miscreant, the neighbor was feeding him more bacon!
Sarah’s dog waited until company came over, and then went into her trash can and dragged out a collection of used tampons to offer the company. I mean, come on, used tampons as a gift? That’s pretty stupid, not to mention embarrassing for Sarah.
Dogs are definitely stupid when it comes to self-control, and nowhere could this be better exemplified than in the case of Dustin’s two dogs, who opened up the pantry and invaded the Costco offerings. They turned over a jug of vegetable oil, ingested it and then followed it up with five pounds of rice. They crapped and vomited all over the place and then rolled in it to the point where you couldn’t even see the dogs; just their eyes peeking out from poo- and barf-encrusted fur.
Well, if it looks like grass, you probably shouldn’t assume that a dog won’t see it as such, so crapping on the AstroTurf in an athletic shoe display is probably not totally stupid. Still, that’s what Lily’s dog did. She ushered her dog speedily out of the store before anyone noticed. Cleanup in Aisle 4!
James’s dog ate a full rack of ribs and was in agony. Veterinary staff made him vomit by encouraging him to spin in circles. A couple of the staff actually ended up barfing before the dog did. The point here, though, is that some dogs are just too stupid to know when enough is enough.
No, really. I heard about a dog who ate paintballs and pooped orange for days. He didn’t sustain any lasting harm from his stupidity, though.
This dog’s owner ended up putting him in the shower and trying to get his mouth open. Finally, the dog was taken to the vet, and the glue was dissolved. There was no lasting harm, but the dog should definitely get a medal for stupidity, as should his owner for letting him get into the glue in the first place.
This isn’t actually stupidity on the part of the dog – after all, dogs are going to eat roadkill if they can get it. I’m including this story, though, because the outcome was just so utterly revolting I couldn’t not include it! The “stupid prize” actually goes to the owner who, knowing that his dog had eaten roadkill, then allowed the dog to go into her bedroom, where much vomiting ensued – on her bed, where it soaked through into her mattress. The mattress had to be thrown away.
Lori left her engagement ring on the kitchen countertop, where she was also making hamburger patties. Her dog jumped up and scarfed down the patties along with the ring, which was actually nowhere near the patties.Finally, the dog passed the ring in his feces, and when Lori reached for it, the dog grabbed it and swallowed it again! Fortunately, the second time the ring was passed, Lori was faster than the dog.
Dylan’s dog pooped on heated leather car seats and then smashed the poo into the perforations on the seats. No matter how many times Dylan tried to clean the seats, everytime the heat was turned up, the car stank like crazy. Dogs are going to have accidents from time to time, but the poo-smashing was kind of stupid.
Let this be an object lesson in why you should never let your dog have bones of any kind. A friend of mine got a nice round bone for her dog, and once the dog sucked all the marrow out of the middle of the bone, she decided to go for a bit more and ended up with the circular bone firmly fastened over her muzzle. The upshot was a visit to the vet, sedation, and a saw to remove the bone from her muzzle. I’m not sure where the stupidity lies here, either – whether it’s the fault of my friend or her dim-witted dog. Either way, one would expect that the problem could have been averted by not giving the dog the bone in the first place.
A lot of the time, what makes us see dogs as so adorable is the incredibly stupid things that they can do. I know that I’m constantly smiling and laughing and saying things like “Leroy, you sweet doofus, you just don’t know any better, do you?” And he doesn’t. That’s why it’s my job to know better, and keep him away from things like round bones and trash cans and road kill and other things that could cause him trouble. After all, I’m supposed to be the adult in our relationship.
So, keep an eye on your dog and try to protect him from his own stupidity. Most stupid things that dogs do are pretty funny, but if destruction and mayhem are the result, please resist the urge to punish. Remember, he’s just being a dog, and that means that on some level, he’s probably a bit of a doofus like my Leroy. But he’s your doofus and you love him, so treat him kindly no matter what kind of a mess he gets himself (and you) into.