Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dogs - Intelligent Companions Or Stupid Animals?

It's important that I set my stall out nice and early here; I'm not a dog lover, I'm not really a pet lover of any sort. I tolerate them, I love elephants and leopards and I particularly like chicken, not the skin though, except KFC skin, that's tasty.

But I also don't hate dogs, contrary to popular opinion, I'm just in that indifferent camp.

I look at canines, I observe their and their owner's (or should that be the other way round) behaviour and figure that these four legged furry things have some fine and admirable qualities.

They're usually fine, faithful and loyal companions, except when they sometimes turn on and kill or maim their owner or a child of course. They not called man's best friend without good reason and there appears to be no other animal that can demonstrate the loyalty and sense of duty that a dog will.

But, as nice, devoted and trainable as they are, I firmly believe that dogs, as animals go, rank quite highly up on the animals that are stupid chart. I got into a discussion about this with a friend the other day and she said that I was judging dogs as being lesser than other animals and that was wrong.

Well I'm not. I see it as a passing comment, a criticism and an observation. In the same vein as if I mention that you've got black hair or wear glasses. It's a fact, though you might choose to argue with me, not something that makes a dog a "worse" animal than another. But, they're thick, they're stupid and still many people love their canine to bits.

Some people cite a dog's ability to be trained to do simple tasks, sitting, fetching and rolling over and having their bollocks stroked as examples of their supreme intelligence. No, I say. The fact that just about any dog will run the length of a football pitch to retrieve a mouldy foul smelling stick, that the average fellow can be trained to sit in just about any situation on hearing the command just proves that they're not up there in the gifted league.

Would you or I, after training, respond to these commands by sitting down, then running off feeling quite happy because we've been rewarded with a biscuit, a crappy tasting one at that? No way, because we're intelligent, though I'll do most things if there was a pile of white string hoppers at the end of the rainbow.

Cats, which many people dislike as pets, are quite boring and uninteresting compared to dogs. Well I reckon that's because they're far more intelligent. Try to teach a cat to sit and it will just look at you with that "oh fuck off tosspot" look. They don't need to be taken outside to do their ablutions because they can figure things out for themselves. They can find their way back home whereas the average dog couldn't find its way to out of a wet paper bag.

They (cats) can also jump down from very high places, a feat that must be admired by anyone. Can you imagine a dog attempting to jump form a height of ten or twelve feet down onto a smallish ledge. It would end in tears, broken limbs and that whinging sound dogs make.

It is clear that there are differences in intelligence between the various dog breeds, but fundamentally they're all still down there in the lower ranks. Some dog loving types will say that these Police and Narcotic seeking dogs are examples of high intelligence. I say that the fact dogs can be trained to hunt round a house to find drugs or bombs is proof of their dimness. Any animal with a modicum of intelligence would just adopt a cat like reaction to these situations and stroll off to sleep or relax.

Sheepdogs though must possess a reasonably high level of IQ, or DIQ as it should be called. The way that they can actually round up a herd of sheep and apparently do some thinking must indicate more than an animal merely responding in Pavlovian fashion to commands.

And it does seem to me that a dog lover will rarely admit that dogs are fundamentally a bit slow on the uptake, as if it is a "bad" thing, as if it says something about the intelligence of the owner as well.

I've come to the conclusion that it's the sheer stupidity of dogs that makes them such great animals to have as pets. It's their trainability, their faithfulness and companionship that make them man's best friend.

It's their stupidity that makes them like that in the first place.

And any animal that can lick its own balls has got to get some admiration hasn't it?

What do you think?


Cricket Tragic said...

You clearly seem to have no idea of how clever dogs are.

I had a dog till recently (when I had to give her away to my cousin as I was moving in to a smaller house) and she was the best when it came to dodging the stick. Just as the stick would go over her head, she would quickly bend down in this crazy way, thereby avoiding getting hit.

In addition, I remember something that my uncle told me once. Apparently, for some reason, my grandpa had taken their dog onto his truck and abandoned the fellow nearly 200 km away from their house e.

However, a couple of days later, would you believe it, the dog came back to their house, albeit, a bit ruffled! :)

I did have a cat as well and, though they are nice animals to just pet, they, IMO, are the most stupid creatures, frankly.

I mean, my cat would never ever listen to me. I think that's because they just don't understand anything, rather than a sense of indifference. In addition, have you ever heard of a cat who actually helps humans in their work? No, because they are not that clever.

From your post, I can see that you consider their indifference to the world as being clever. This thinking is tantamount to "I don't give a rat's ass as to whether my neighbour is dying, I'll go and check out what's happening only after I finish watching this movie".

Cat's are more like hermits, while dogs mix more with people!

Perhaps it's our mindset in general which decides our opinions about cats and dogs!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

CT - I think you're right in that the very things that you consider as signs of the intelligence of dogs I take as indicators of their stupidity. I honestly am not sure which of us is correct.

It's an interesting example of the way different people can look at the same facts and come to very different conclusions isn't it?

Thanks for your comment as always.

ViceUnVersa said...

RD you dog! GD Morning...
Dogs are relatively stupid animals but endearing as they are incredibly sensitive and loyal to the point of a willingness to die for their owner.
It also depends on the dog though, the female Dobe that now resides in VA gets incredibly happy when we arrive but then moody in about 30 seconds as she knows we wont stay. When the bags start to be packed she disappears and refuses to even say goodbye.
The one's you talk about of high temperament are usually Bull Terriers bred by their owners to fight. If you hit a dog, sooner or later it will bite you!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Good Morning DD too. I guess it's true that dogs have big differences between the breeds in a way that cats may not. I mean most people think of a cat as a cat whereas a dog is often defined by its breed as well.

My ex cat, who now resides with the girls and their mother would always "sulk" when we were going away and really behave like an upset kid when we returned, though of course his behaviour was far less dynamic than that of a dog.

Cricket T - you may be interested to know that this same cat went AWOL for about 5 weeks only about a couple of months ago, then returned from out of nowhere. My kids and their mother, as well as myself, had given up hope and assumed the cat had died somehow.

This wasn't suppsoed to be a post about cats being more intelligent than dogs but I do think that only an animal of a certain intellect would be able to behave like that.

Anonymous said...


Sam said...

So if we follow the same logic train, aren’t humans become stupider than dogs?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Great comment

Sam - Yes, only if we follow the same logic though. No one says we have to.

niroshinie said...

Look at this way : maybe somewhere along evolution, dogs found out that most humans are suckers for cutesy-furry-tail wagging-puppy eyes. So they decided to take advantage of it..I mean all a dog has to do to make us feed it is to give us that look and wag their tail and try to lick us - So doesn't that actually make them smarter?

Cricket Tragic said...


Actually, quite recently, on BBC, I saw this article where some research concluded that cat's purring is a way they use to take advantage of humans!

In addition, dogs, according to Readers Digest, do get jealous when you don't give them equal rewards...

To be quite honest, if you think abt it closely, dogs resemble humans a lot in behaviour

Cricket Tragic said...

Ah, before I forget, we used to have a cat who liked my dad excessively as he would give as much food as the cat could eat, regardless of the fact that she got extremely sick if she ate too much.

Therefore, when my dad used to return from work, she would wait at the door and follow him all the way to the bathroom and wait outside for him. She would leave his side only after he gave him something!

There are some cats who act really nice, but the large majority are just snobs! :P

Java Jones said...

Mine are 'intelligent companions' - a lot more 'intelligent' and far better 'companions' than a lot of humans I know.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Java - I understand the companionship thing, but do you think that they really are intelligent compared to some Humans?

Sachintha said...

First, a great comment by Niroshinie. I just LOLed.

RD, more or less my sentiments. I too am neither a lover or hater of dogs thought I prefer not to touch them. Dogs that is.

I think, why dogs tend to do whatever we tell them to, as opposed to cats' indifference is perhaps cats are so independent compared to dogs. I wouldn't jump to say that dogs are stupid, but they are not as intelligent as people think they are.

That is also why people love dogs more than cats. We humans, men in particular like to stamp our authority everywhere aren't we? But cats don't give a shit about that while dogs tend to obey us.

Jason said...

It never ceases to amaze me that people get some stupid dog, teach it to go fetch a stick and then brag about how "intelligent" it is.

The next argument is that dogs are "loyal". They are NOT. Dogs do what is necessary to be fed and cared for. All you dog freaks who think your dog is so freakin' loyal, I have a proposition. Have your neighbor start feeding your "loyal companion" hamburger and other good things to eat instead of the processed dog food it gets at home and see how fast it transfers all that "loyalty" to the neighbor.

The only thing dogs are really smart at doing is getting some idiot humans to feed and take care of them.

Dogs are the filthiest creatures on earth -- the only ones besides pigs that will eat human excrement and even pigs won't eat it unless they're starving.

Anyone who gets off on walking around behind some fleabag watching it take a crap and then picking up the crap is suffering from a condition coprophilia.

Anonymous said...

i full agree with jason on this one.

sachintha also makes a great point about men wanting to assert dominance over everything- therefore they like how dogs do exactly what they are told. when i look into a dogs' eyes, i see nothing. there is nothing there- it is full-on unaware of anything.

to me, the worse kind of guy is the guy that simultaneously hates cats and loves dogs. it says a lot of his insecurity and need to be in control that he has such strong feelings about how animals act toward him.