Smartest Dog OFF the Record!
Brutus at age 3.
If you read my first story for Medium.com, “My Dad, the ‘Ogre!,’” you “met” our miniature black poodle, Brutus. We adopted him from the wonderful Judith Parker and her equally wonderful daughters, Johnna & Sabrina (friends to this day)!
Dad later said, he was joking about the manifesto about never wanting a dog and how he would never have anything to do with it. Nuh-uh. Even Brutus disagreed that he was joking. Brutus was the smartest dog — the smartest animal I ever met.
I trained Brutus, but I think he was only pretending to let me train him for bonus “buddy” time. I taught Brutus the usual: roll over, scratch to go outside, shake a paw. I also taught him how to give “hi-fives.”
Using his paw, I’d let him choose one of three bags of dog food flavors. He’d scratch at the one he wanted. No, it wasn’t always the same dog food that he would choose. Nor did I put the same dog food in the same location.
But, my favorite trick was teaching Brutus how to communicate. Yes, communicate.
Raising his right paw indicated “yes” or “true.” His left paw “no” or “false.”
Odds are that he — anyone — would answer 50% of such questions correctly. At first, I’d ask Brutus questions to which I knew the answer. His response rate was over 75% correct!
Thinking I might have tipped the answers by the tone I asked the question in or with my body language, I then asked questions to which I didn’t know the answers. His success rate was still over 75%!
And, no, it’s not like Brutus’ dog parents Arrow and Slasher were exceptional or that anyone read to Brutus 30 hours a day, however, Brutus & I did watch a great deal of PBS.
A few years later, I was tempted to take Brutus with me when I took the SATs. I didn’t, but probably should have — if only because I would have aced the exam, and more importantly, he would have been discovered and acknowledged as the smartest dog on the record!
Tell me about your first pet.
Andrew Fumento AKA Andrew Bailey sits on the board of The Desire to Inspire Foundation. He is an award-winning copywriter, and broadcast director. He’s conceived & written more pro bono PSA campaigns (mostly video scripts and either radio spots and/or online ads) than anyone in the multiverse!
Andrew lives in the “Berkshires of Los Angeles” with his young son, George “Georgie” Bailey. You can learn more about Andrew at andrewfumento.com