Friday, February 25, 2011

Gee, my dog is dumb.

I used to play a game with Lagniappe where I took a dog treat in one hand, put both hands behind my back, moved the treat at random between the two hands, then held out both hands as closed fists for him to inspect and choose between. Lagniappe would sniff both, then unerringly home in on the one that held the treat and slap that hand with his paw. I'd then open the hand and give him the treat. We'd done this for years, and he was never, ever wrong.

So cue Murphy. Yesterday I sat him down, let him see the treat, then put it behind my back and held out both hands to him. Murphy immediately picked one, but he didn't sniff them both first. Rather he just smacked whichever hand the treat was in when I put my hands behind my back; if he last saw the treat in my left hand, he'd slap the left hand when I presented it again. If the treat had formerly been in my right hand, he went right to the right hand again. Needless to say, he was almost always wrong, to the point where he got frustrated and plunked down on the ground, refusing to play any more. So I had to re-work the game and set him up to win a few times, just to keep him engaged while he figured out the concept. By the time we stopped, he'd gotten about eight or nine treats.

Suddenly it occurred to me that had he done the trick right and used his nose to properly select the hand holding the treat, he'd have likely only gotten two or three treats. But by messing the trick up, he'd gotten many more treats than he would have if he'd just done it right.

"Maybe I'm not as dumb as he thinks!"


  1. These dogs, they are smarter than we give them credit for!! I think perhaps since they have nothing to do all day, they sit around and think up ways to screw with our minds.. :):)

  2. Ha Ha Ha!!!!!
    And yet once again, the servent somehow becomes the master...Brilliant!

  3. Anyone that doesn't think their don't can't count, should put 5 treats in their coat pocket, and then only give them four.

  4. Once again a 'training' issue... question is... LOL