Pup links!

“Rancho Dobe’s Storm,” Greenwich, CT, 1953. Photo by Peter Stackpole for LIFE Magazine.

Dog-related links from around the Web this week:

Do Unto Others: Intimidation in Dog Training. A thoughtful post about the reciprocal relationship between aggression toward your dog fueling his aggression toward others. This just reminded me that we so often forget the impact of our body language and actions toward our dogs. If only more dog owners could read and know and believe this. (Love and a Six-Foot Leash)

Life List Item #35: Compete with My Dog in Agility. Check! I am so proud of Kristine and Shiva! This is such a fun, exciting post. Warm congrats to you both! I know how hard you worked on this. (Rescued Insanity)

A Lesson in Timing: The Tunnel’s End Nears. Ximena, as always, outdoes us with her seriously thoughtful and sincere approach to training–in particular, timing and how very important it is. Such a good reminder (and not to mention intimidating)! I have already learned, from our first weeks in class, that I am NOT good at timing and it’s really something I need to work on. (Identity: V+E)

10 Top Dog Training Tips You Can Use Every Day. Great, practical reminders from Pamela to improve our day-to-day training regimens. I particularly liked her reminders to incorporate training elements (treats, rewards, other motivators) around the house, so you can’t help but train throughout the day. (Something Wagging This Way Comes)

Fishing for German Shepherds. Jura sent me her lovely photos of this handsome German shepherd swimming in Hanoi. Gorgeous dog! It’s so interesting to see how dogs live around the world. Thanks again for sharing, Jura! (Hound in Hanoi)

Facebook Pup Learns to Herd. Mark Zuckerberg’s puli, Beast, attends his first herding lesson and you can see the photos on Facebook, of course. (The Bark blog)

SilhouPETte Charm Necklaces. I’m not really one to get into breed paraphrenalia/clothing, but I would totally wear one of these pretty necklaces with Pyrrha’s profile. Would you? (Pretty Fluffy)

Dog Shaming. Despite the sound of the name, this is my new favorite dog-centric Tumblr: Photos of dogs with signs detailing their misdeeds. I can already think of a few signs I’d write for Pyrrha… (Dog Shaming)

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On the intelligence of dogs

The smartest of them all? Click for source.

Many people like to cite Stanley Coren’s now notorious list of “the most intelligent dog breeds.” People who have breeds in the top 10 like to remind other people of such and tease those who have dogs who fall anywhere below Coren’s top 10.

Stanley Coren’s Top 10 Most Obedient Breeds

  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

*Cited in his book, The Intelligence of Dogs. Links are to my “Breed Love” posts.

I think the problem with this list is the title. As many before me have pointed out, and as Coren’s own study acknowledges in the fine print, this oft-cited list measures canine intelligence by how quickly or effectively dogs obey humans. His study is a nice measure of obedience, but that’s primarily what it is. A more accurate title might have been “the most obedient dog breeds.”

Hounds rank very low according to this list, but that’s because Coren’s study cannot measure the independent-thinking and creativity that is employed by most hounds, especially scent hounds.

I’ve noticed this with hounds, even in my short tenure as a volunteer at the SPCA. Our SPCA has a ton of scent hounds, because we live in a part of the countryside that is popular with hunters who employ large packs of hounds and then don’t keep track of them if one goes missing. That said, I spend a lot of time at the SPCA walking hounds. These hounds are notably unresponsive to humans. They often seem to look right past you at something else (or, more accurately, at some other, more interesting smell). But this doesn’t mean they’re unintelligent; it just means they’re harder to train. These hounds are rather adept problem solvers. They figure out what they want then they plot how to get it, with or without any human aid.

Sight hounds, in my limited experience, are also very intelligent but prefer to follow their own direction. (The Afghan hound is famously ranked last on Coren’s list, in terms of what he calls intelligence.) When you ask a sight hound to do something, I imagine their internal response to be something like Bartleby the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.” They are independent and self-directed and seem to weigh the pros and cons of following your commands.

Selfishly, I’ve always really loved dogs from the herding group, because these are some of the most human-responsive dogs of all (many in the herding group are in Coren’s top 30 “most intelligent” breeds). My favorite breeds–Australian shepherds, German shepherds, and border collies, to name a few–are incredibly attuned to their people. These high-energy dogs were made to watch human faces, study human body language, and follow human directives in their line of intense work. I’ll probably always prefer these dogs, mainly because they are so easy to train, but I think this just means that I’m lazy/afraid of how frustrated I’d get with a less responsive dog.

But at the end of the day, this list doesn’t matter. Because we know the truth: We all have the smartest dog in the whole world.

Dog jobs I daydream about

Me in my daydream day job... Click for source.

When I’m sitting in my gray cubicle, staring at a computer screen, I can’t help but daydream about what I’d rather be doing instead. Those daydreams usually involve me frolicking in a field with my future dog, or a whole pack of my future dogs. These are some quasi “jobs” that I often daydream about having, even though I’m sure they’re all far less glamorous than they are in my imagination:

  • Reinforcement trainer, a la Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, or Karen Pryor. I daydream about this a lot. I’ve even sporadically browse the CCPDT website to read about their testing requirements, recommended reading, and timeline for becoming a certified trainer. I love watching dogs learn and teaching them–and especially their humans–how to shape appropriate or desirable behavior. I still have so much to learn in this area, but I’m looking forward to the trial-by-fire that will be coming our way this summer.
  • Full-time dog walker/runner, a la Lindsey Stordahl. That is one fit and adventurous woman! I say I want this job now, but in reality, I’m not sure how long I would love it, since it calls for being outside regardless of the weather (I can’t believe she does it in Fargo). Mostly, though, I’m up for it, because hardly anything brings me as much joy as walking dogs.
  • Agility trainer/co-competitor. (What do people who do agility with their dogs call themselves?) I am probably not as competitive as most of these people are, but everyone looks like they are having such a darn good time! I love watching agility trials and it’s a nice daydream to entertain, raising up an agility champion…
  • Shepherd. Or a farmer with lots of dogs, I guess. But having a team of dedicated herders at my disposal is also a nice dream.
  • Volunteer in some dog-based therapy program. Dog-assisted therapy is so moving and meaningful to me. I am especially fond of the programs in elementary schools, whether teaching kids how to behave around dogs or being reading partners. I also love the idea of visiting nursing homes. I wonder if I’ll ever have a dog calm enough to do either of those things…
  • Writing the daily blog from the perspective of Martha Stewart’s French bulldogs. OK, maybe not really, but whatever intern has that job has it made! Just hanging out around her estate, photographing the dogs doing silly things, and then writing about it? Yes, please. I’ll take that job.

Do you entertain any dog job daydreams? Or do you actually HAVE one of these jobs? If so, I envy you… in my imagination…

Pup links!

Bring on the big dogs. Source: LIFE Magazine.

A lot of interesting, dog-centric links from around the Web this past week:

Getting the Most from Dog Training Classes. These are really helpful and insightful pointers about how to get more bang for your buck in a training class. I wouldn’t have thought of many of these things, and I’m glad I read this before signing up for a training class. (Oh Behave!)

Surprise! These (pretty adorable) photos of a border collie pup are proof positive that breeds have strong, inborn instincts. (Alta-Pete Farm Tails)

Wrapping Up the 2011 Budgeting Project–Onward to 2012! If you ever wanted a seriously comprehensive glimpse of pet finances, look no further than M.C. and her Bows. This is a really helpful year overview and it’s inspired me to keep track of my own purchases for my future dog. (The House of Two Bows)

Love ’em and Leash ’em Challenge. Take Paws reviews their favorite leashes, many with flexible uses and purposes. (Take Paws)

Finding a Purpose for a Pup. A success story of a sheep-killing German shepherd turned drug-busting police dog. Just proof that every dog has his proper place, if only we’ll give them a chance to find it. (The Bark Blog)

Happy Birthday, Edith Wharton! A collection of photos of one of my favorite American novelists, Edith Wharton, and her beloved dogs. (Dog Art Today)

A Lovely Being: Heavy Petting. Classic starlets in black-and-white with their pooches. (Honey Kennedy)

The Cookie Look. We’ve all seen this intense gaze before. I love these photos; their bated breath and intensely focused desire comes across so clearly. (Paws on the Run)

DIY No-Bake Healthy Treats for You & Your Pooch. These look like pretty gourmet snacks, but I’ll probably try them at some point, because I’m addicted to oatmeal. (Pretty Fluffy)

Bull City Pet Sitting: A Day on the Job. My favorite wedding videographers (one, sister to our much-beloved wedding photographer) created a video to promote a pet sitting business in Durham, North Carolina. It’s such a fun video and they did a wonderful job with it. What a fun promotional tool! (Inkspot Crow Films)

Intermission: A Dog’s View of Dogs Playing. Another great video! Ever wondered what the dog park looks like to your pooch? Here’s an idea, in high-def, artistically rendered glory. (GOOD)

Pup links!

A young Beatrix Potter and her spaniel. LIFE Magazine.

A collection of dog-related links from around the Web this week:

Set Your New Dog Up for Success: Prevent Accidents and Fights. A great post by Lindsay about two important elements of bringing a new dog home: Setting and establishing house-training rules and preventing and mitigating any potential dog conflict. (That Mutt)

Are Too Many Vaccinations Bad for Adult Dogs? A thoughtful and informative discussion about the controversy over vaccinating our dogs. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, too, and it was nice to read such a balanced and fair article on the topic. (That Mutt)

Pet Fostering Is Tax Deductible! This is great news for those who foster animals. It’s something I’m seriously considering after we have a few years of dog parenting under our belts, and this new tax break is just an extra incentive! (Pawesome)

7 Ways to Make Your Pet’s Visit to the Veterinarian Easier. Simple and helpful tips to reduce the stress of a vet visit. (Paw Nation)

Ryan Gosling and His Dog Have an Announcement to Make. An important PSA from the most popular actor (at least on the Internet meme scene). (Pawesome)

Miss Kate. It is a beautiful thing to watch a border collie work. (BCxFour)

Georgia Fiennes: Dog Paintings. Lovely and whimsical (but not tacky) dog paintings from artist Georgia Fiennes. (Miles to Style)

Gallery of herding dogs

Just a series of photos of some of my favorite dogs from the herding group. Not to pick favorites or anything, but I think I’d have to say that all of my best-loved breeds come from this group of high-maintenance, noisy, difficult dogs. I know. I just can’t get over them. Why this post? Well, I like to look at dog pictures. No apologies. A girl can dream, right?

(Click on each photo for its source.)

Australian shepherd

Australian shepherd

Belgian tervuren

Belgian tervuren

Border collie

Border collie

Rough collie

Smooth collie

German shepherd

German shepherd puppies

Pyrenean shepherd

Pyrenean shepherd

Pup links!

Illustration by Gemma Correll, who is totally rad. Click image for her site.

15 Things to Purchase Before Adopting a Dog. Kristine’s funny, thorough, and honest list about the tools and things one will need when bringing an adopted dog into the home. Definitely writing these down on my shopping list! (Rescuing Insanity)

Pet-Themed New Uses for Old Things. My favorite magazine, Real Simple, provides some great tips for household objects that can be used for daily living with dogs. Some of these things are pretty obvious (duh, use a plastic bag when picking up poo), but some were good to read about. (Real Simple)

10 Signs You Are Matched with the Right Dog. A sweet list that highlights the bond that develops between a dog and its human. (Dog Days)

Balenciaga Dog Sweater. Now this is the classy way for a Crazy Dog Lady to dress. And it’s an embroidered GSD, too! (Miles to Style)

More Dog-Friendly Companies. This makes me wish my office welcomed dogs! I feel like our environment would be so calm and happy if we could have dogs around. (Unleashed Unlimited)

I also found two posts this week about German shepherds who actually herd sheep! Check them out:

Sheepies! Kodiak the GSD turns out to have a lot of natural herding instinct. (German Shepherd Mom)

My GSDs and Sheep. Christine reflects on her experience with herding and Schutzhund with her GSD pack. (Blackthorn Working GSDs)

Pet-A-Likes: Look At Me. The caption is hilarious–and, one believes, probably true. (Awkward Family Pet Photos)