Welcome to Ginger’s Post. Actually, I write and she edits – she has final say. Therefore, this writing space is named for her. Ginger, as you may already suspect, is a dog. She sits in my lap streaming editorial comments as I write. Most of her comments pertain to cheese, and I must fight her on this constantly. I tell her we will write about cheese another time. She does not seem to care. She wants me to stop writing and give her cheese…okay!
This is Ginger’s entrée into the world of social media. I’m sure someone will be quick to say: dog blogging is so pre-millennial. Is it obsolete? Should we twitter? Ginger doesn’t know. She’s looking at me with watery, Spanish drama queen eyes. Is it because of my uncertainty, or does she want more cheese? Never mind…I know the answer.
This first article is hers because the editor-in-chief insisted – of course. She has something to get off her chest about dog intelligence. She believes people misunderstand. People will argue her point, but it’s not an argument people can win, because people can’t argue about dogs with a dog. She knows that, which gives you some idea of how smart she is.
Ginger says the problem is that people look at dogs through people eyes. She wants you to see the dogs’ perspective. Before we dive in to that, however, a little about Ginger. Ginger is a mutt – part Chihuahua, and the rest is anyone’s guess. Whatever she is, it’s a strange combination. But it has created the most intelligent dog in the world, I kid you not; and that is the point of this article. She wants to set the record straight.
All dogs are smart compared to the average human. Every breed falls somewhere just above the mean of human IQ – no smarter than the average woman, but at least one standard deviation above the average male. We can all agree the debate is over about that – it’s the human perception of relative dog IQ that Ginger says we have wrong.
We see the smartest dogs as the dogs able to do a lot of things. Guard dogs, water dogs, bird dogs, sheep dogs; even lion hunting dogs – Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bred for that. But they are not very intelligent dogs, claims Ginger. A dog can get killed hunting lions.
“Why,” the dogologist asks, “does she say that? Such bravery, comprehension and acuity to the master’s direction is an amazing display of intelligence,” or something to that effect…I’m making this part up.
Well, the reason those dogs aren’t smart is because they work. Sure it takes smarts to do work, but if they were smart about working, says Ginger, they wouldn’t be at the bottom of the employment food chain, working for meals and a chain-link pen. There would be Bill Gates-dogs and Facebook guy-dogs. Googleionaires are popping up all over, but no dogs. And don’t mention Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, or any of those big actors. They got scale wage in Hollywood – the industry with the worst income inequality in the world.
To find the smartest dogs you have to look at lap dogs. Remember, get out of your human head and enter the dog’s world. Trainable dogs seem smart to humans, but training leads to following direction, which leads to work, which we’ve already established dogs are not that smart about. No, trainable dogs are not the smart ones, it’s the entitled little yappers.
Not every lap breed is super smart, either; don’t mistake this. Just like people, there are the successful copycats – oh my, that’s not a good choice of words – the not-so smart, but cunning emulators, such as the Pug and Dachshund, whose refinement is only hide deep. So, one must pick through the breeds like weeds. One must understand how they take advantage and use their intelligence, indeed look into the very workings of their mind, and then it is evident which the smartest dogs are. Watch a tiny lap dog when a big dog is around and you will see what I mean. It’s the little Napolean who is the boss.
The miniature poodle is a good starting point. Extremely smart dog. Notice first, the miniature poodle does no work. This is actually the primary sign of true canine intelligence, contrary to human consensus. Poodles are entirely ornamental. They are useless, except for being cuddly, cute balls of fur with a flicking tongue.
This is intentional on their part. They haven’t just outsmarted working dogs by becoming treasured accessories to wealthy, doting, elderly women who overfeed them and carry them in a purse. They have even outsmarted the cat.
How, you wonder, is this possible – smarter than a cat? Cats are masters of the universe, having enslaved humans to feed, and care for them, so they can do whatever they damn well please. We all know the rat-chasing thing is only for their amusement.
But they live filthy lives, skulking about gutters and eating fishy things. They are utter sociopaths, unavailable for emotional support when you need it, and always ready to give you that haughty look that says you’re an idiot. Their finest display of affection is a dead bird on the doorstep – now just what does that mean? No one depends on a cat. Just watch when the can of tuna is opened. This makes cats…well, dispensable when it comes right down to it. Just leave them outside for the night and let the coyotes do the rest.
Poodles have this figured out. They are there for love at the drop of a hat. Try it. Just drop a hat and they’ll wag their tail. Drop anything and they go nuts. If it’s food they’ll eat it, no questions asked. Get down at their level and they will attack you with love. They make you dependent on them without doing anything except hang around eating snacks and smothering you with affection. That is damn smart.
Step up a level on the canine IQ and you are almost at the pinnacle; the Chihuahua. Chihuahua’s are annoying, yet they still manage to do everything the poodle does, only better. It’s the saucy attitude and single-minded devotion to one true love of their life – you – that makes it work.
Did you know aristocrats used poodles as bed warmers? Oh yes. Now here is where you see frightening intelligence. They do absolutely nothing but sleep in a warm bed and that’s their job. But they aren’t working, because they are asleep in a warm bed. And it’s your bed, and you’re keeping them warmer than they’re keeping you. You see how it works?
I know…it’s scary when you think about it like that. You can see it in their eyes. They face forward like a human’s. They bulge with innocent vulnerability; and are big, and brown, and get dewy and can make you do anything they want. This has been laboratory tested against a control group of Yorkshire Terriers, an accomplished lap dog in it’s own right, and the eyes of the Chihuahua have been found to be more persuasive in nine out of ten cases. That is a statistical slam-dunk – and yes, the hair was brushed from the terriers’ eyes.
Ginger is part Chihuahua, and no doubt her cunning ways are founded in those genes, but she is mixed with other strange canine genetics impossible to determine…she is a mutt. Gone is the nervous jitter of the Chihuahua. Gone is the yapping mouth. Thanks to her genetic mishmash, she has all the favored attributes of the breed without the annoying ones. Instead, she has the attitude of a big dog. Indeed, she is not aware she is not a big dog, while at the same time being very Chihuahua.
As a result, she sleeps in the bed and acts as a reluctant bed warmer – she growls if you roll on her. She eats part of anything anybody is eating, never long between snacks. Amazingly, she stays slim. They say six, small meals a day – she has about eighteen. People let her out the door, and in the door, as many times as she asks. She lounges in the sun and she is taken for walks.
Lots of dogs get those things, you’re thinking. What makes Ginger special? Just look. The eyes of Madonna herself, gazing upon baby Jesus couldn’t be more touching. I have handed over my last savory bite of steak to those eyes many times.
That is why I call her a pirate. I’m writing while she’s in the other room, because she does not like to be called that, but she is a thief and I’ll come back to that later. Between her eyes is her nose, which is a feature of incongruence. It is the nose of a hound, with a slight under-bite, stuck on the head of a Chihuahua. This gives her a regal cuteness that she uses in the most incorrigible way. With her nasal length and under-bite, she can bare her teeth in a crooked snarl by lifting her left cheek, which has the effect of telling you exactly what she wants you to know. In other words, she communicates.
I know, dogs communicate, but I’m talking very specific things here. I mentioned she is a pirate, but she does not like to be called that. If I dare whisper in her ear “pirate,” she bites my nose. Every time I speak that word she will do this. It’s not a hard bite – it’s almost a kiss. But it’s not. It’s a love bite she delivers with a snarl that tells the real truth of her feelings, which is a barely contained dervish-like anger. She then chews my hands.
This childlike cuteness melts butter in my heart and will force me to do anything, which is communication of the highest order, and this is when she shows her piracy. She has carte blanche then…requiring cheese, harassing cats, or she steals a toy from the neighbor dog. She steals a toy everyday. She pees and poops and runs to the neighbors, and takes a great deal of time selecting from the pile of toys they keep on the porch for their dog, Cookie, who is just a puppy, and then Ginger selects the finest, newest item and brings it home. She’ll do this in front of Cookie, when he is just begging her to notice him.
If I attempt to take it away, she lifts her left cheek until a bit of teeth show, and says, “Arghh, arghh!” in a very serious fashion, which stops me in my tracks. She knows she will get away with this because she has already conditioned me with the pirate play-anger. Now, how does this imply great intelligence? Well, I can leave a plate of filet mignon sitting on the coffee table within her easy reach, and leave the room, yet she will not touch it. Now we have already established she is a wanton thief, stealing from her neighbor everyday. So, why does she not take the steak? Because she knows she will be rewarded handsomely for not taking the steak. In fact she will get a pat on the head and a big piece of steak anyway. She understands consequence with such subtlety that I am amazed.
She knows she won’t be scolded for another dog’s bone, but take steak off my plate? Now you get a flavor for what I’m talking about. She is a Machiavellian charmer of the highest order. She is also a critic. She won’t write – can’t with the paws, but she edits with her lip. I read my copy out loud, and she “arghhs,” then I fix it. Which brings us back to the name of this blog, which is Ginger’s Post – not Andy’s Post. Outsmarted again!