Re: Memory vs. Intelligence [was Re: Doogie Mice]
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 13:15:39 -0700

Robert J. Bradbury, <>, writes:
> John was talking about a more "intelligent" dog. This is not
> the same as "cute n cuddly". With a more intelligent dog,
> you take the ball, throw it, then say, "Come on boy, go
> fetch the ball". The Intelligene Dog looks at you with
> a look that you can only read as, "Why, so you can throw
> it again?".

I had an intelligent dog once. It was a nightmare.

Actually it was my wife's family's dog, a Basenji, the "African barkless dog". This dog was the smartest I've ever known, and also the worst pet. He could open doors with his paws - not only that, he was sometimes able to open spring-loaded doors that opened inwardly, which is not easy for a little dog who can barely reach the doorknob.

When the dog got out of the house (he was a real escape artist) it was like mounting an expedition to capture the Great Himalayan White Ape to capture him. You needed several people to try to run him down and trap him somewhere. He tended to bite if you got too aggressive, but sooner or later he could be cornered and then he'd give up.

Whenever the family would leave they'd throw a handful of dog food in the opposite direction and then run for the door, desperate to get out before the dog finished his treat and managed to slip past them and out the door.

My wife and I had to keep the dog for a while when her mother got hurt. He had developed the habit of climbing onto the bed and sleeping under the covers. If you kicked him during the night he would growl and sometimes snap at you.

I was not happy with this, so we tried putting the dog out of the bedroom. But he would open the door, come in, and before we knew it he'd be under the covers again.

Finally one night I'd had enough. I shut the door and quickly slid a large dresser in front of the door to hold it closed. Then my wife and I climbed into bed and lay there, in the darkness, listening fearfully to see what the monster would do.

Soon we heard him scrabbling at the door. Click, he got the doorknob turned, but the door only opened a fraction of an inch and was then blocked by the dresser. We heard him scratching for a minute but he couldn't get in.

Just as we were starting to relax, we heard patter-patter-patter-THUMP! Patter-patter-patter-THUMP! The dog was running across the floor and throwing himself at the door. And it was working! Each time he did this he managed to budge the dresser a bit. After about ten minutes he succeeded, managing to squeeze in through the door and climbing triumphantly into our bed.

Take it from me, you don't want a smart dog.