a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Smart Border Collie--Oh, Never Mind

Friday, August 15, 2014

Smart Border Collie--Oh, Never Mind

SUMMARY: Where's your dish?

Boost is really a very smart dog, but some things don't prove it.

If I tell her to "Bring me your dish," or "Find your dish!" she will bring me her dish if it's within easy view, but if it's not, she kind of turns her head left and right and then just shrugs and looks at me.

I've been trying to train her to do better at the search by putting her into a down, clearly picking up her dish, walking into another room, setting it down, coming back, and telling her to find her dish. 90% of the time, she races into the other room and dashes around until she finds it (this is after a few weeks of practice). The other 10%, she looks around the room in which I put her in a down and then looks at me as if, "Well, I have no idea!" Really, she doesn't remember seeing me pick it up 30 seconds ago, carry it into the other room, and come back without it? Sigh.

This evening she showed a particularly dense portion of her brain. She finished eating dinner in the kitchenette. I walked around the counter into the kitchen (all one room really), told her to bring me her dish, which she did, and I put food into it, which she ate. Then I walked back around the counter into the kitchenette and she followed me. I told her to bring me her dish. She went frantic all around me, picking up everything she saw and dumping it at my feet and then searching frantically some more--but never once taking 4 steps to go back around the counter to where she had taken her dish half a minute ago.

My mind boggles.

Anyone else have those odd blind spots in their dog's brain?

I love my border collie. It's probably too much to expect her to be brilliant all the time, but these don't even make any sense. Ah, well.


  1. You think she's already go so much going on in her brain that sometimes it's just too much? Or o you think she's just messing with you? A secret Boost game..."how can I get the Mom to go get the dish herself"

    1. She doesn't strike me as the type to mess with me. Although perhaps her wide-eyed innocence has had me fooled all these years.

  2. Definitely. One of my favorites is if one of them knocks into something (or even thumps his tail against something--ahem, Wiley) to make a sound that vaguely resembles a knock on the door. They'll go ballistic and charge the front door, barking. Even the dog who made the noise in the first place.

    And Flick and the box fan. She hates it when the thing falls over and thuds to the floor. Hates it so much, she'll charge the thing, barking frantically, nipping at it, and hitting it with her paws. Even if she's the one who knocked it over.

    1. Good ones--makes me laugh. Dogs are amazing--and mine make me laugh every day, too.

  3. Oh, and there's that looking at their own rear ends in surprise when they pass gas thing too. Yeah, they're so smart in some ways and not so swift in others.

    Love them anyway.