Sunday, October 15, 2006

Am My Terrier Dum?

As a follow on to my bit on the dog IQ testing, I'd like to examine the question of whether Pappy, and terriers in general, are blithering ee-jits. The opening example Stanley Coren uses in "Intelligence of Dogs" is the case of the Dandy Dinmont Terrier. He describes them as dogs bred to go with reckless abandon into dens after foxes and otters as large or larger than themselves. One might admire their courage, but "a more intelligent dog would simply say... 'this is too dangerous'". He then goes on to infer that they are untrainable morons. Ooooh, them's fightin' words.

I'm not sure Pappy is exactly the kind of terrier that Coren had in mind. I mean he's a bit leggy to be headed down the fox hole. In keeping with his terrier kin, he is reckless and obsessive in chasing things, and has a prey-drive that won't quit. But he also has a pretty good instinct for self-preservation-- when he goes flying around after balls he never collides with anything, and he never rough-houses with a dog that might take it the wrong way. He's very distractable, but where there are treats involved he has total focus. He's not well trained, but he's certainly not untrainable.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is stupid, what is smart? Aren't these all just relativistic terms used by the media elite to denigrate perfectly normal dogs who happen to be overly attentive to bouncing rubber things?

Personally, I'm not obsessed with a red, oddly-shaped rubber thing that may or may not contain some kind of kibble, but who am I to judge? Who made the dog intelligence police God?

Jay said...

Wow, that's very brave of the yorkie. I think I will run away from large dogs!

~Jay

Dean-O! said...

Thanks for the visit! We have teeny tiny Silky Terrier-ist neighbour who tries to eat me every time we meet. He’s 10 years old -- you’d think by now someone would have given him a MIRROR!

Butchy & Snickers said...

Heya Pappy,
Thanks for visiting our blog. We like that name Butchmeister, hehehe! Your blog is really cool! We'll set up a link to yours on ours if that's ok?? BTW, you're really cute too!!!
Wirey Hugs!
Butchy & Snickers

Pappy's Fella said...

Thanks everyone for the visit. Butch-baby and Snickeroo, we'd be delighted to be linked.

Pappy's Fella

Sunshade said...

Hey Pappy, believe it or not, that Dr. Stanley Coren is a professor at mum's university (University of British Columbia). Mum totally, completely, and utterly disagrees with Stanley in that he ranked the terriers as one of the dumbest dogs. I am a living proof.

I mean, think about it, is a dog who is able to learn and pick up things in a flash but once learned, he decides whether or not he wants to do it when told smarter? Or, a dog who takes sometime to learn things, but once learned, he will do anything he's told to do (because *ahem* he can't think for himself). I personally think the first dog is WAY smarter.

I think a lot of what Stanley has written has a lot to do with his bad experience with his Cairn Terriers. Mum and I once met Stanley at a pet store here in Vancouver, and he told mum that he had never seen such a well behaved terrier, and started to talk to mum about his "un-trainable" Cairn Terriers.

I do believe you need to have the terrier personality in order to own and enjoy a terrier. Stanley obviously does not have the appatitude to own a terrier.

Love nibbles,
Miss Sunshade

Pappy's Fella said...

The cairn terrier story makes some sense-- he seemed to be homing in on the smaller ones. Well, as I always say, these dog authors all tell their share of unfounded whoppers.