I read a great article on WayCoolDogs.com about how smart dogs can be a lot of work. Many people are drawn to smart dogs because of all the things they daydream a smart dog could do for them that an average dog can’t. Seriously, we see those assistance dogs, police dogs, or agility dogs that can do all sorts of cool things and we think, “Wow! I wish I could have a dog like that.” But we really don’t know what we might be getting ourselves into.
Who wouldn’t want a dog that could learn to open the fridge and get us a beer on command? Neat trick, right? But do we really want a dog that can figure out how to open the fridge? It won’t be long before this really cool dog could be helping himself to other things in the fridge. And a smart dog like that might figure out how to open other things, like cupboards or even your front door.
I have a smart dog. Actually, I have two smart dogs. It is not enough that I need to take them for regular walks. I need to keep them entertained as well or they might cause trouble. Well, actually only one dog might. Maya can be a bit of a couch potato. But Pierson is constantly looking for stuff to do. I could take him for an hour walk and play fetch with him for another hour and it will still not be enough. So how can I keep him out of trouble?
Besides regular exercise, my smart dog needs regular training, thinking games, and work. Pierson is an Aussie/Border Collie mix. This breed is designed to be active, alert, and intelligent. He is constantly on guard. He listens for strange noises and barks at them. He is a barker. And he patrols the yard for pesky rabbits. These things are his “job” in a sense, although I’d prefer he didn’t do them. I dread the day he actually catches and kills a rabbit. 😦
Pierson also partakes in regular training. I’ve had him eight months now and he already knows every trick Maya knows plus one or two more. Most tricks are easy, but now we need to start working on things more complex. He loves to learn and I try to take advantage of that as much as possible.
Pierson likes to play games too. We play hide-and-seek sometimes. I hide and he tries to find me. He is getting better at it. And he is learning the “Find It” game (mentioned last month). Other games we play are fetch, he is learning to catch a frisbee, and one of these days I’d like to teach him agility.
Having a smart dog is fantastic. I’m so proud of how smart my boy Pierson is. But he is also a lot of work. What would he be like if I didn’t spend so much time exercising, training, and playing with him? Well, he might learn to help himself to the cupboards or fridge. He might decide that chewing my stuff is entertaining. He might make a game out of taking my things and hiding them. Or he could decide that he needs to take the rabbit hunting to the next level and dig out of the yard to track them down.
There is a lot to consider before getting a new pet. How intelligent they are and how much time you have to dedicate to them is one of those factors. If you are considering a smart dog check out this article from WayCoolDogs.com called, “Beware the Smart Dog“.