Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Smart/Stupid Dogs

Yesterday was a nice day, not too hot and not too cold, so Murphy and I spent some time out on the deck. I watched Murphy running back and forth, chasing a bee that was flying along about 5-6 feet off the deck. Murphy kept jumping up on his hind legs trying to snap it out of the air but he never managed to snag it. Silly dog, I thought. He's expending far more caloric energy pursuing that bee than he'd ever get back from it even if he caught it and ate it.

Feeling a desire to relax and enjoy the nice warm afternoon, I laid down on the deck to nap in the sun for a bit, and as I did I thought about Murphy and how far he's come since arriving here.

He's smart enough to know when I'm getting ready to leave the house when he sees me getting dressed for outside, and he's even smart enough to know where I'm going. If he just sees me grabbing regular clothing items, he knows that there's a chance that I might take him with me so he starts agitating to come with me. If he sees me wearing my work attire, however, he knows that there's no way that he's coming so he doesn't ask. But he will go and get one particular toy--a Kong that's hollow and holds dog treats--and he'll bring that toy to me, knowing that I'll fill it with goodies and give it back to him so that he'll have something to play with for a while as I go off to work. It's literally a case of: "Regular jacket? Take me, take me!" vs. "Work jacket? Don't forget to fill my Kong with cookies!" He's that smart.
I smart!

He's pretty good at recognizing vehicles as well, mine and all the neighbors. He's attentive to any vehicle pulling into my driveway or those of the two close neighbors, and he barks to alert me to any strange vehicles in my drive and those of the neighbors while ignoring the ones that are supposed to be there. He's also tuned to the sound of the UPS truck and it's a great day when it stops in front of the house so that he can bark ferociously and snap at Mike, the UPS guy, as Mike brings a box or two up. Mike even brings him a cookie every time, but Murphy won't be won over; he stops barking just long enough to inhale the treat, then jams his head back through the deck rails and resumes trying to get Mike.

I was still admiring Murphy's abilities when he came over to where I was relaxing and stood over me, looking down. I reached up and scratched his chest and gave him a smile, and then that damn bee flew over us and Murphy jumped up to get it and came crashing down with both of his front paws right on my stomach. Stupid @#$%! dog!
Oooh look! Another one!


  1. Smart? Stupid? Depends on which landing pad he settles back to earth on, apparently. :)

  2. Argos is the same way. I can tell exactly what vehicle is in the drive (friendly or potential foe) by the way he perks his ears or acts. He also is able to decipher where I am going and the chance of him being able to go along by what I clothes I am putting on. I used to be able to get dressed and only then touch my running pack for him to go ballistic but now if he sees me even opening the drawer to my running shorts he knows what's in his future. GSD are amazing near-human pups and I don't think you can get a better, more intelligent companion! Murphy sounds and looks like one heck of an awesome dog!

  3. Good news, and he's training you well :-)

  4. Sounds like a really good companion.

  5. Yeah, he's ok. I was miffed with him for that but I still took him to the dog park yesterday so he could run his legs off chasing his ball and playing with the other dogs.