Who Let The Dogs Out
From the website archives...
*the cats demand to know...*
In a previous column, cats ruled. Now, from the more care-free, "let's play" side, an equally important perspective from our canine friends*. And thanks to an article in the March 1999 issue of Reader's Digest, I've found an interesting angle to approach it from: your dog and it's IQ.
Someone once suggested in a prayer -- which I'm paraphrasing -- that he "hoped to be half the person his dog thought he was". While to cats, this strongly suggests that dogs aren't the brightest bulb in the package, it does suggest that dogs have compassion and feelings for their human hosts, if not downright pity in some cases.
Cats treat "pity" as a distinctly human weakness, and one easily capitalized on.
But how do you determine how smart your dog is? Oh sure, there's the tricks you've taught them, or the things they'll demonstrated instinctively. Well, thanks to an IQ test devised by Melissa Miller (The Dog IQ Test, copyright 1993, published by Penguin Books), you can determine a general sense of just how smart your canine is. Miller wrote "dogs are blessed with a well-developed brain, superb physical senses and a knack for learning". While cats will scoff and fake coughing up a hairball at hearing that line, Miller's abbreviated 12 question test in the RD article is alleged to give a dog owner a general sense of just how sharp their dog might be. Granted, Miller adds "this is not a scientific intelligence test, and results should not be used for any personal decisions about your dog!".
So much for getting stock tips from my sister's soccer-playing mutt, Merlin, but I digress. But in avoiding one bad idea, I came up widda worse one: I could adapt Miller's IQ test just a wee tad, to give pet owners a very general sense about the intelligence of dogs...with 'tudes.
Thus, using seven 'tweaked' questions from Miller's original test, I added a few she didn't consider**, and adapted the possible answers to fit a more free-wheeling, brazen breed of cur:
1. With your dog watching, pretend to reach for a snack and eat it. Your dog:
A: gives you that 'what a bonehead' look and bites you
B: immediately grabs and performs the Heimlich Maneuver on you, getting really pissed when it discovers you've duped it
C: rolls its eyes, grabs the cell phone and orders pizza
2. If your dog is near a door and hears a strange noise outside, its first reaction is to:
A: turn on every light in the house, blare the stereo and call 911
B: throw the cat out the dog door to go "check it out"
C: ignore it and turn up the TV
3. If you decide to stop playing with your dog but it still wants to play how will it let you know?
A: by peeing on your shoe
B: by grabbing you by the collar and growling, "not yet, pal!"
C: by breathing a sigh of relief, and resuming it's game of Mortal Kombat on your Sony Play Station
4. If your dog needed water but there was none in its bowl, it would:
A: patiently wait for you to notice the empty bowl flying through the air at your head
B: leave a note in place of your Scotch, letting you know that if you want to see your Glen Livet again, time to make with the full water dish
C: kick the bowl at your feet, grab the cell phone, and speed dial the ASPCA
5. When walking your dog on a leash, you come to a busy road. Would your dog:
A: try and snag a hubcap, taking you with it?
B: remember that cheap dog food you brought home last week, and try leg-whipping you into traffic?
C: hold up a large sign that says "I'm with Stupid"?
6. If you were in the kitchen and began to unwrap food in earshot of the dog, it would:
A: knock you down in a rush to check it out
B: give you what it considers "fair" time to share, then pee on everything in the kitchen until you get the "hint"
C: ignore you, having already ordered pizza on the cell phone
7. How does your dog behave when caught doing something wrong?
A: gives you a "go ahead...make my day" look, while poised over the cell phone
B: gives you a regretful look while pointing at the cat
C: denies any involvement, and blames conservatives
8. The family is gathered around the TV when suddenly, your dog has a flatulent episode. How does it react:
A: it stifles a laugh, knowing the comfy chair will soon be available
B: it glares at the dominant adult male present, figuring on a blame shift
C: it leaves the room without fanfare, to avoid the stampede it knows is coming
9. Your dog recognizes the automobile trip you're taking it on will end with a visit to the vet. Your dog:
A: wrestles you for control of the steering wheel
B: has already sedated and disguised the cat, and is back home, laughing
C: doesn't mind at all, 'cuz it loves the attention from that young babe of a vet's assistant
10. You show up one day with a new family pet (puppy, kitten, Komodo dragon, etc). You dog:
A: establishes the ground rules instantly by slamming your and the new pet's heads together for emphasis after the "how it works" lecture
B: grabs the cell phone and consults the ACLU*** on its rights in this
C: rolls its eyes, sighs, and resumes playing "Chase Kitty into Cactus" on the Play Station, chalking it up to just another of your passing fads
As for scoring the results of this IQ test, it's really quite simple: if you dog gets away with two or more of any of the above, you shouldn't wonder why your cat doesn't respect you.
* Disclaimer: the blogger was not compensated for this effort; the cases of Milk Bones, Gravy Train and Gaines Burgers were sent back to avoid potential conflict of interest charges from the feline version of the ACLU (American Cat Liberties Union). Cash would have been another matter...
** probably wisely
*** American Canine Liberties Union...