Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Empty Nesters

For the first time in our life together we are without our children, no cats and no dogs. It is seriously distressing.

We lost our little chihuahua dog when it got munched at a friend's house when we were out of town. The beloved cat took a midnight stroll and met a similar fate.

Leslie and I have had lots of animals over the years, from horses to dogs, cats and a goat.

Our dogs and cats typically live to a very old age, we have had three cats make it past eighteen and the dogs live to a ripe old age as well. We love them like all get out.

But we have had a bad run of late. Somewhere along the line the chain was broken.

In the old days our old dog would teach the young dog. Show them the ropes. Barfy gave way to Duke, Duke to Adelia, Adelia to Odin, Odin to Max.

It is much harder to have an only child and start cold.

We favored lab and Great Pyrenees crosses. Fantastic protectors and they stayed at home and watched the shop.

We got a crazy yellow lab from an old woman who couldn't adequately care for her and she was never disciplined. When we got Maddy it was already too late. We would get these calls, she was three miles away in some residents koi pond. We eventually found her an excellent home.

When I was younger and semi retired it was easier, when I had to go back to work again I couldn't give the dog the attention it needed. We got a misfit pyrenees named Gable and he didn't work out either.

Kermit was our first little dog. They are a joy but they don't have the equipment necessary to protect the ranch.

Now I have rabbits and squirrels everywhere on our spread, basically running amok. Without a dog protector it is tough to get another cat. Last night I had a mouse run over the bed, freaked me out. Without a cat you get mice and worse. Real quick. I am in a jam.

I know that there are lots of dogs and cats that need a home but we need the right one. Hopefully an older model, but not too old, something that is not inclined to roam.

I looked up smart dogs on my cell phone last night. Before I could say anything Leslie said,"Border Collie." Very smart, maybe too much hair for our heat, weed and sticker situation. Here is the smart dog list, or the top ten from Rover anyway, starting at most intelligent:

1. Border Collie
2. Poodle
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Doberman Pinscher
6. Shetland Sheepdog
7. Labrador Retriever
8. Papillon
9. Rottweiler
10. Australian Cattle Dog

I considered these dogs, poodles are out just because. Too foofy. Papillon a little too cute as well. Bad experience with a rottweiler once. Shetland Sheepdog is neat but too much hair. Always had great luck with shepherds and labs.

I also looked at the dumb list. Petbreeds lists the 17 least intelligent.

I'll give you the bottom ten.

10. Shih tzu
9. Bassett Hound
8. tie Mastiff/Beagle
7. Pekingese
6. Bloodhound
5. Borzoi
4. Chow Chow
3. Bulldog
2. Basenji
1. Afghan Hound
...According to Coren, the top 10 most intelligent dogs only need fewer than five repetitions to understand a new command, and 95% of the time (or better) obey the first command. The second tier of dogs, which he names “excellent working dogs,” understand new commands after five to 15 repetitions and obey the first command 85% of the time (or better). The third tier, which he names “above average working dogs,” understand new commands after 15 to 25 repetitions and obey first commands 70% of the time (or better).
We’ll be looking at the dog breeds that are deemed “fair working/obedience intelligence,” meaning they tend to understand new commands after 40 to 80 repetitions and obey the first command 30% of the time or better. Then there’s the lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence, which only understand new commands after 80 to 100 repetitions or more and obey the first command 25% of the time or worse.
I read this to Leslie and then did the dishes. She told me the last part sounded familiar, staring straight and deep into my eyes. 80 to 100 repetitions, obeys the first command about 25% of the time. Hmmm.Willfully disobedient.

She said that she just wished I was a little more Border Collie and a little less Afghan Wolfhound. I seriously get it but believe that I am probably beyond training at this point in my life.

I actually think the dog list is off. The smartest dog I ever had was Emily, my old english sheepdog of youth. Wonderful dog, understood everything, could do anything. They grade the pyrenees down but they were very intelligent as well. My Arabian horse was smart as a whip but willfully disobedient by nature. Don't think you can necessarily conflate the two properties.

Hoping for new critters soon.


J.W. said...

The Pembroke Corgi is right up there with the Border Collie, however, it, too, has too much hair.

Blue Heron said...

If you know of a perfect dog...maybe a little bit older, mother or father going into a home, we want to rescue a new friend.

Emergefit said...

Stroodle stays with me. Also, I don't trust lists. Good luck.

Douglas Keller said...

My cousin Emily had a Border Colllie. Remarkable dog ("Willie"). I stopped visiting her home for about a couple of years once, and when I finally returned, that dog remembered me, like -- like, I'd been gone for a day. Such a sweet doggie.