Brody is many things. Beautiful, yes. Feisty, without a doubt. Fun? Every day. Loving? Like a Care Bear. He is all that and more.
Smart, though? Well, I don’t know that I would put him on the Lassie end of the spectrum. He was more refractory to training than any dog I’ve had save Nuke, the elderly agoraphobic irradiated coonhound. It took me 6 months to get him reliably housetrained, despite following my trainer’s guidelines to a T. He just didn’t seem all that concerned with doing things the right way, and really, it isn’t a big deal.
My husband, however, has a major blind spot where Brody is concerned. “Goldens are the fourth smartest breed,” he informed me, despite having a copy of Outliers on his bedside table. “He’s totally smart.” Then he would subtly imply Koa, in contrast, was slightly deficient in her cognitive skills.
The other day, I bought some new puzzle treat balls for the dogs. I ended up going with the more basic ones as neither of them has the patience to deal with the complexities of the more complicated toys. I sat with Brody on the floor for 40 minutes trying to get him to master level one of his Twister Toy, but opening just one little slidey compartment was not something he was in the mood to handle.
He tried, oh, how he tried. I showed him. Over and over. I put the best treats in the house in the compartments. I had my preschooler patiently assist him through the puzzle. No matter, he persisted in grabbing it by the top and shaking it like a big flat plastic squirrel, to no avail.
Even with this, my husband insisted Brody was simply practicing new paradigms to solving the problem. So I decided to conduct an entirely unscientific Dog IQ test to see where we stood. After all, maybe I was underestimating Brody’s problem solving penchant.
Or maybe not.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter one way or another. He’s not here to solve problems for me.
As long as he keeps doing this, he can stay in the back of the class forever.