Friday, December 3, 2010

A Good Dog: Not Bright, But a Good Dog

Hyperbole and a Half (July 6, 2010)

"A lingering fear of mine was confirmed last night: My dog might be slightly retarded.

"I've wondered about her intelligence ever since I adopted her and subsequently discovered that she was unable to figure out how stairs worked.

"I blamed her ineptitude on the fact that she'd spent most of her life confined to a small kennel because her previous owners couldn't control her. I figured that maybe she just hadn't been exposed to stairs yet. Accepting the noble responsibility of educating this poor, underprivileged creature, I spent hours tenderly guiding her up and down the staircase - placing biscuits on each step to lure her and celebrating any sign of progress. When she still couldn't successfully navigate the stairs at the end of her first week with me, I blamed it on her extreme lack of motor control. This dog is uncoordinated in a way that would suggest her canine lineage is tainted with traces of a species with a different number of legs - like maybe a starfish or some sort of primitive snake...."

"...With so many years of experience behind me, I was sure that training this new dog would be a very simple task.

"I was wrong. Not only is training my dog outlandishly difficult, it is also heartbreaking. She wants so badly to please me. Every fiber of her being quivers with the desire to do a good job...."

Allie does a good job, with text and cartoons, of relating her struggle to train this lovable canine dimwit.

Another sample. She's been putting 'this dog' through a sort of intelligence test.

"...In the second test, I had to put a blanket over my dog and time her to see how long it took her to get out. I threw the blanket over her and started my stopwatch. She made some cursory attempts at freeing herself, but as the seconds ticked by, it became clear that she was not going to pass.

"Still, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that she just enjoyed being under there and could get out if she wanted to. I added an extra couple points to her tally for faith's sake...."

That picture is the last in a series, about the blanket test.

Then there was the time 'this dog' was told to find a treat - that Allie had shown him, when she put it under a cup. He couldn't - or, anyway, he didn't.

The post has over a dozen drawings in it - the Lemming thinks Allie has a good dog. Not a bright dog, but a good dog.
A tip of the hat to , on Twitter, for the heads-up on that post.


Brigid said...

"Not a bright dog..." Massive understatement if the post is anything to go by, but still a very good, sweet dog. That tries so very hard!

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


'E' for effort, right? ;)

I'm glad the dog's current owner recognizes the critter's sterling qualities. And is willing to work with the rest.

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