Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seals Aren't Smarter Than Leo

One day in Barnes and Noble my daughter, Liz, picked up The Dog IQ Test by Melissa Miller. This book helps you evaluate your dog's intellect and social skills. Of course, the results confirmed that our dog Rosie was extremely intelligent and socially adept, but we were shocked to learn that Leo also scored high.

You see, Leo had been keeping his IQ under wraps with clever tricks to make us think he was dumb. For example, he'd act like a bird dog -- a very, very stupid bird dog -- by swimming through the frigid Puget Sound towards a flock of sea birds floating on the water far off shore. Invariably once Leo was within 10 feet or so, the birds would fly to a new spot. Leo would repeat this act over and over again, day in and day out, to fool us into thinking he wasn't all that smart.

Leo would also bark incessantly at the base of a tree in which a pair of great blue herons nested, as if he expected them to hop down for a visit.


Then there was the waiting room cat. Lord of the vet clinic, he quickly earned the respect of all who entered. Except Leo. Leo lunged, and I, fearing for the cat, lunged after him.


I wasn't fast enough, though, and copious amounts of blood and yelping ensued. Although this ought to have ended Leo's interest in the cat, he continued lunging. To save his life, I fastened his leash to the arm of my chair until our appointment time thankfully arrived. Clever Leo of course knew all along that I'd do this.

One incident stood above the rest, though. Liz and I used to take the dogs to Maple Hollow, a closed Department of Natural Resources park, where the ranger had given permission for the dogs to run off leash. A trail wound through a maple forest and down to a deserted beach. Rosie and Leo would take long detours through the woods and still beat us to the water, running and swimming until they got tired enough to take home. We rarely saw any land animals in the park because they fled for cover when the dogs crashed through the woods. At the beach, however, we'd often see a pair of seals, lolling on a floating raft off shore.

One day the seals decided to swim over and have a closer look at us.

1. The seals came close to shore.
Leo went nuts. The seals turned around and swam away. Leo followed.
2. Leo plunged into the water to pursue the seals.
After swimming out so far that I could barely see them any more, the seals disappeared under water. Leo swam in circles looking for them. "Duh, where'd they go? Where'd they go?"

3. The seals disappeared under water.
Eventually giving up, Leo turned towards the shore. Two seal heads popped up out of the water and trailed him all of the way back.
4. Leo swam back to shore, the seals close behind.
To make a long story short, steps 1 through 4 above were repeated three times. After the third repetition, the seals, apparently bored with the game, disappeared for good. I breathed a sigh of relief, believing that Leo would have become exhausted and drowned before ever giving up the chase. Leo was far too smart for that, though. I just didn't know it at the time.

My sister Jenn used to say, "Leo is all brain stem and no cerebral cortex" and until that IQ test, I thought so, too. Now I know better.

Find out what happens when Leo reads the menu...

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Leo gets high marks on the IQ test, but that doesn't mean he has any common sense.

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2 comments:

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

So much for IQ testing dogs or any other animals. He must have been a great dog though, who doesn't want to have someone even fooler than oneself around every now and then... :-) Great drawings!

Megan Seagren said...

That's a very good point, Liisa! Although I think he still managed to outsmart me most of the time.