Calling all Border Collies.


Honored Member
Staff member
That's not at all what this post was intended for.

And no one said other dogs were dumb. In fact many of us pointed out that there are BCs who are hard to train. But you can't argue with facts. The Border Collie is the world's most intelligent breed, you can check any studies in the world and they are all conclusive.

10 year olds can't be expected to handle a Border Collie well. BCs need more experienced handlers and a child is bound to have issues training one.

Nonetheless, indeed mixes are very intelligent(sometimes, lol!). I've never met a truly "dumb" BC, but many hard to train BCs. I've met dumb mixes and very smart mixes. Intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes. This post was not intended to knock other breeds. So please don't knock ours.


Experienced Member
I have to butt in here but when I see studies quoted I want to know which ones? No offence. I am a science nerd. I quote some below and paraphrase a few.

I love bc's so don't get me wrong. The studies do not show bc's are the most intelligent. They do show there is a huge disagreement, so far unsettled, in how to measure intelligence in non-sentient beings. Even human IQ tests are considered a haphazard estimation of true human intelligence.

When you get around to what exactly are we measuring and equating as intelligence in a dog? And should you just measure one quality as they did with Rico or measure multiple? There's logic, cognitive ability, selective imitation, and the ability to read human's which alone could foul the test results because of unconscious predisposed opinions or desires. Personally I think one test is inadequate because it certainly is in humans.

Unless you have a triple blind study, which I can't find, has been done, or a way to qualify and quantify what exactly is it that ur measuring, you aren't measuring anything in any intelligence study except a certain breeds ability to excel at certain things. Could a border collie learn that I have bad days and can't feed his drive? Probably some could, but as a breed - and having owned/experienced a very intelligent ACD for 15 answer no. I don't think my whip smart ACD would or could learn that there are days I can't move well and need to stay home. She used to shriek to wake me up when I had a migraine so I could go out in the 100 degree heat and throw her ball-so she could overheat-so I could get sicker. etc

Then there was the time she was dropping the ball on my poor dead Lab's head wondering why he wouldn't play. They say dogs know death but she didn't. He'd apparently passed quietly away in his favorite shady spot in his sleep. He had a collection of all their toys around him where she apparently piled them during the day. She didn't grieve, miss him, or notice he was gone. My Golden Chisholm really grieved when our Golden boy died and she knew. The fact that I pulled the Lab out of the muddy hole and brushed and blow dried his top half so my husband wouldn't come home and find him all muddy doesn't say much for my intelligence does it? I can laugh in retrospect many years later.

So would I choose a bc based on a few published intelligence studies alone? No. The predominant amount of data suggests we don't know quite how to measure intelligence in dogs or humans yet. I don't think I can physically keep up with a high drive dog (in general). The Goldens I have are fairly high drive but I can also train them that I need to sleep late until my medicine takes effect in the morning and that some days are bad days and no fetch but we can do clicker or easier training. I had no success with that and my ACD. Or maybe she decided the outcome?

I think every person that gets a bc that doesn't do their homework and isn't aware how much drive most of the breed has doesn't think they are so intelligent. When they arrive home and their poor under exercised bc has very smartly destroyed the entire yard the dog doesn't seem very smart. Then comes the question-if they are so smart how come they couldn't figure out that this would end up with them in a shelter? You get back to what kind of intelligence are we measuring.

Is Lance Armstrong any smarter b/c he excels at bicycle racing, or Kenyan's at running fast, or Austrian's at downhill skiing? IMHO no. So in measuring a bc's intelligence--how is that different than looking at Lance Armstrong and equating his success with intelligence or Michael Jordan's intellect with basketball and making millions of $$?

BTW this is not an argument---just food for thought. When I read the breed intelligence listings (which are ALL DIFFERENT based on author) and see some very intelligent dogs at the bottom like Afghan's I wonder. They are among the oldest, and one could infer, most successful breeds yet why are they ranked dirt dumb. Because of what we measure them by today? They used to be vital to the survival of the people that bred them as hunters? So why should trick dogs rank above survival skills?? Are they really the same thing?

Last I could argue that it is infinitely more possible given the restricted genetics of the bc and the more infinite genetics of the mixed breed STATISTICALLY that more intelligent mixed breeds are born on any given day than bc's or any other breed. Fewer mixed breeds suffer from OCD which we know is a brain defect/abnormality/chemical imbalance.

I think it is more within our ability to consider the species dog and it's incredible abilities as an animal and understand that humans altered evolution to produce/enhance certain traits through selective breeding. As pointed out in the forum this week-you breed out something bad and something good goes with it. It might be a little harder to consider that the dog realized our ability to take care of him thousands of years ago and being more intelligent than we are manipulated humans into taking the job with enthusiasm.

My devil's advocate question: Are all dogs really smarter than we are and are we too primitive to know it?

See below for references.


Experienced Member
Scott & Fuller Concluded all breeds exhibit a similar profile when other factors like emotional reactivity and motivation are held constant or factored out. There is a tendency among dog owners to equate intelligence with trainability. But does a dogs trainability or obedience depend on its intelligence? S&F also say that larger intelligence difference exists between individuals of the same breed than between breeds and that a large part of that is attributable to early training and rearing practices than innate intelligence.

E.G. Sarris (U of Hamburg) - on trial and error learning and insight published American Kennel Gazette "Everything originating in the human Umvelt has to be transformed into dog things in order for the dog to grasp and coordinate it.

Fox - trainability...the ability to sit, not a sign of intelligence per se

An Interesting Further Perspective is that researchers are drawn to certain dog's measurable
characteristics this pre-biasing their own results innocently or subconsciously.
Fascinating: bordering on suggesting certain intelligences of owners predisposes them to choosing certain intelligence dogs-and relation to aggression-points on aggression and human bonding.

And to be sure and be fair to bc's : bc's are brightest reference

Many researches maintain that wild wolves are more intelligent than dogs, yet they are unable to do the most rudimentary tasks than dogs do easily when instructed. Could the dog have decided thousands of years ago that we would take care of him very well. Then did he choose to ally himself with us in what has been a hugely advantageous relationship, all the time making us think it was our idea?


New Member
joeymydog;19496 said:
No just border collies are fast learners studies show that mix breeds are more intelligent that purebred. My dog learned 30 tricks in 2 months! So i wouldnt say that. And my dog is the one of the only dogs that actually pay attention and do great. The border collie that's in my class is stubborn and the little boy( well the boy's 10 years old os not 'little') that handles her has to drag her. She's only a puppy! So I wouldnt be bragging about Bc's that's a little rude to other people who dont have them. But anyhow.
It's not a question of how many tricks you can get your dog to do. As for a 10 year old trying to train a BC. Good luck because he will have to have a special talent for that if he doesn't want to drive his dog nuts.

We don't brag about BCs being smarter. Most of us have said it including my trainer to a class full of other dogs. Do not compare your dog to a BC it's like comparing a PC to a Mac. Not all BCs are fast learners and they are extremely intelligent. They are also easy dogs to mess up with.

At Snooks let me suggest a book. The Other End of the Leah by Dr. Patricia Mc Connell. One of the best I've ever read.

BTW I don't claim bragging rights over Jin's training at 7mo. At his age I expect him to do exactly what I want. That's why we start training at 9-10wks. I'll brag his tricks like climbing on a set of monkey bars and sliding down but not for walking through a 24"x100ft tunnel on command since that's his job.

If your dog pays attention to you that's half the battle. As for an ability to learn a trick, and I do not measure success in how many tricks a dog can do, not all dogs are that capable. My Abby takes forever to learn something. That's no reason to disparage her because she's not a BC. It is a reason to give her extra attention.

Want to brag about your dog. Then loose leash walk him/her so that every time you stop moving she sits. Teach her not to cross a street except at a light or when it's safe. Better yet train her to leave a full plate of food untouched while you leave the room. Those are more than tricks. Those can be life savers. Abby won't sit up or beg and I can't train her to even take something from my hand. However she does every thing I've said. There is a difference between work tricks and I don't think all dogs find tricks fulfilling.

Train your dog so you don't have to do anything except issue quiet instructions. Then other people will say, check out that dog. then people will want to know how you will do it.


Well-Known Member
tx_cowgirl;19193 said:
In terms of number of mastered cues, the record is over 300 by a BC. Knew over 300 object names or something like that. I think the sky is the limit, depending on both dog and trainer.

There was a Toy Poodle that supposedly had the largest vocabulary/cues... 1001. Here is a web page that lists what she knew (many can be clicked for photo/video):

Personally, I would consider tricks (something where the dog performs a set behavior paired to a cue), separately from recognized words... both are great and 'worthy' of being measured, but I only think the 'trick' category should be used for getting the number...

Does anyone know if there is more info out on this BC than in the article? I'd love to learn more about how they defined cues for counting purposes. Obviously the dog is extremely talented (and the trainer too, no doubt!), but I don't see that number as being out of reach to a generally smart and interested dog (ANY BREED, particularly an agile individual)... the bigger task is for the owner to come up with 300 commands/cues :dogtongue2:

Case examples with a couple of my Poodles...

I have barely taught Charlie anything new in months due to him being ill and then injured (maybe 10-15 new things since January?). I believe he had been around 130, so lets say he's at just under 150 now. He's only 4.5 years old, so if I wanted to reach 300 I know he could handle it in less than another 4.5 years if I focused on him.
My younger dog, Harmony, is 19 months old and getting close to 100 cues. No doubt she is capable of learning well over 300 - assuming I can think of things to teach her!
For each of my dogs, I only count cues which I have taught to get a specific response - some are captured and put on command ("scratch", "stretch" etc), but nothing like "Want to go for a ride?" = dog runs to the door...


Edited to add - obviously I think my dogs are totally awesome, but in no way do I think that either of these two are unique or in the minority of 'very intelligent dogs'. They are two dogs owned by someone who understands training/teaching methodologies who has had the time to work with their dogs on a regular basis.


Experienced Member
I agree, it's not a question of how many tricks....that was my point. My point is that bc's aren't the smartest breed b/c we can't measure intelligence adequately. In fact the named and referred studies I quoted say that dog's within the same breed vary greater in intelligence than dogs of differing breed if emotional reactivity, motivation, and other factors are held constant.

I've read and own all of McConnell's books. What part of The other end of the leash are you referring to? You don't say what you suggest about reading it. I was trying to make a bit of a tongue in cheek point and quote some research. Jillian is correct-a poodle, not a bc holds the records for largest vocabulary. My point is this is not the ONLY kind of intelligence and that each person dog team has different needs for work.

Early training does help. My pup's litter started from about 1 week olc training; she ended up learning differently than any othed dog I've had. Probably i part to the early training and genetics combined.

I've trained my dogs to walk loose leash and when I stop sit, leave food on tables and floors. This week it saved their lives because a caretaker dropped and left an advil on the floor and they left it alone. I have thinking dogs--not trick dogs, they do help me but they are still just dogs much of the time.

Sorry but I'm confused as to your point. When you say you can't get your dog to beg I get more confused since "begging" is a learned behavior so shouldn't really have a negative connotation to it. My dogs will both sit pretty which is similar to what I see people refer to as begging if I cue with no food.

My dogs do respond only to quiet cues because I trained it. That's why the soft spoken teenager is able to get what she wants. I also trained that because I hope my puppy will be a therapy dog in addition to a service dog for me. All of my cues and directions must be very nice annd quiet esp visiting hospitals. Also my voice is a little impared and quiet so they must listen or watch me for hand cues.

So while I miss your point-and we might agree- I don't compare breeds or believe we can judge intelligence by assigning numbers and tasks was mine.


Honored Member
OH many things i wanna say, but this thread, like i originally said in my very first response, was bound to seem offensive to some dog lovers!!!

One thing i have wondered, DesertRanger, is since on several of your posts you make derisive remarks about dogs doing "tricks" why would you join Dog TRICK Academy? the bulk of this website is dedicated to teaching dogs TRICKS.

Second off, like i said in my first reply, smart dogs come in all breeds!! And mixes!! They are all unique. I'd think most everyone would agree to that!! (by the way Desert Ranger, hope you ever got to notice my reply to your BarbieDogs thread, but it is already off the portal, so you mighta missed it).

My border collie, although mildly obsessive about plastic bags, and squeak toys, can and does notice and respond appropriately to my moods and energy level, and accomodates himself pretty darn well to my circadium rhythm, and habits, and even moods, etc etc. Obsessive can be found in mixes, too. Mmmhmm!!:doglaugh:

My border collie can both be trusted with a hot steak on the floor that i have told him "Leave it" and can also perform a beg to "Wanna girlfriend?" He can drop something out of his mouth on command now. (mmm, most of the time!) He knows to wait before getting in/out of any vehicle or door. He knows lotsa useful things that i learned how to teach by studying this website on how to teach dogs things..
I do not understand the difference in training the two things, "Leave It" or "Beg" either. Both are unnatural reactions that we trained our dogs to do.

If you choose not to train your dog any "tricks", fine! If you do not see teaching a dog to "Leave It" as a "trick", fine!! But why come HERE, to Dog TRICK Academy, to make uppity, superior-sounding cracks about "trick" training to folks who do see trick training as a fulfilling way to amuse and excercise our dog's minds? and as a way to bond with our dogs?

Starting with a rescue dog who knew ZERO words and had an attitude, i can now walk with Buddy either loose leash or off leash, and he stops when i stop, (well, mostly, :msngiggle:i'm working out years of being wild still! plus, my dog was wild, too, =JOKE!! ding ding ding!!:msnohyes:
...but i left out the sit-every-time-i-stop part, cuz i don't want his fanny in the snow and rain and mud, i just don't.

but for the amt of time i've had him, i'm proud! but i don't feel superior, to someone who is just getting here, and i can celebrate another dog owner's acheivement as great, even worthy of admiration as time and love that was well invested, and i do not feel more or less than the others here. Hope you ever get to feel that way too, DesertRanger!!!) and i can call Buddy off a chase in progress if he sees a bunny or deer (happens often)!!!!

Many many dogs here can do the things you describe. PLUS tricks!! People who invest time and LOVE into their dogs tend to train them lots and lots of things!!! Including safety, there are many threads on that one, and good behaviour. Please take a moment to admire the videos of the dogs around here!! THERE ARE SOME STUNNING DOGS HERE!! And i'd bet most of the people here who have excelled at training their dogs do use fairly quiet cues. Some use only signals. I'm betting we do not have a large population of "dog yellers"!!:msngiggle:

My dog knows lots of cues, some that are useful, like 'stand', (i found that one weirdly hard to get across to Buddy for some reason)and "lift foot" and now already understands about corners of streets, (remarkable, as he may have been a ferral dog) and the cue, "cross the street" and he waits for that cue. My dog's recall is now about 90%. AND he can do tricks. Lots of them. I do not think this makes him "less" or "dumb" or "foolish" in ANY way whatsoever!!

Many tricks are useful, i use that "bang!" everytime to dry off his feet. But there is no need to be like, snotty or uppity or :dognowink:anything, cuz you think you have trained different cues than someone else. There IS a competition area to sign up for if you want to !!!!

Re Snook's thread on dog intelligence, i haven't googled any triple blind studies. but i'd hafta agree, intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes. I also agree with Tx, in that almost all non-triple blind studies, BCs and Poodles are always rated first and/or second in "intelligence". I imagine they mean trainability by humans. Not sure. but i hear your point, on a dog who hunts to survive has his own kind of intelligence!!! Which kind is better is a whole other debate!! And again, i think everyone would agree, each dog is unique!!

But I've had brilliant mutts and mixes. We can't strictly lump dogs into rigid catagories. But like i said in my response to DesertRanger's "BarbieDog" thread, there is no weakness in being kind.
Now cmon, lets resume our usual friendly and funny banter!!:msngrin:


Experienced Member
How far u have come with Buddy Tigerlily. Holy smokes I didn't realize he did all that!!! From the dog scared to go off the deck to super dog with call off on a chase. Maybe ur the smartest one here. Hats off to U! Golden snuggles too!!

THIS is a testament to an open mind and heart dog and human.


Well-Known Member
Here is an article just published on the subject of dog intelligence:
Dogs as Smart as 2-year-old Kids | LiveScience

It's a short, easy read, describing how a group of dogs tested compared to human children in various abilities - social, math, emotional...

Top three breeds according to a survey from over 200 obedience judges (says a lot about how they define 'intelligence') are Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherd Dogs.

As an aside... just want/need to get this out, and this discussion is along the lines - feel free to skip over this little blurb... lol, just have to say it somewhere ;)

I've always been curious when 'Poodles' are ranked - I don't think it is done fairly to all breeds. The three distinct sizes - while all very intelligent - should not be considered one breed with one accumulated rank.
I do believe that being in the top few is accurate for what an average member of the breed is capable, but especially of the smaller Poodles I find it quite rare (considering their popularity) that an owner has even tried to help their dog reach their potential... of course this is just my opinion/observation... Toy Poodles should probably be ranked near Papillons, Minis near Shelties, and Standards right around where they are (near the BCs and GSDs...).

Thanks for letting me 'vent' a bit ;)



Experienced Member
Vent away Jillian... 90-95% of the studies I've seen do rank all three sizes together since they rank all other breeds that come in more than one size together. I agree that is a bad assumption to start. We had a miniature poodle as kids that was extraordinarily intelligent and several neighbors with toys that were very very difficult to train to do anything. I always wondered if this was a small dog vs. boisterous kids situation or the breed. The standard poodles I know are much more capable of learning what I teach now, my minature was comparable but not as motivated or focused.

Rico has little written about him except in reference after 2004 while, a recent article in 2009
still has him at 200 words as was in 2004 so it sounds like reference reprinting. The article and dog did spawn the research that proved dogs DO have cognitive ability and are able to out-cognate (my word because I love making up words) chimps which is interesting.

I never was able (and cannot today) verify that some subtle cue, conscious or not, by Rico's owner was playing a role in the success. They did not have other people cue the dog to go get a specific object that I read. It seems sure that someone would have thought to take the owner in another room where she couldn't see Rico going for the toy with the name. So I'll assume they did since that is standard practice today in testing. I am pretty sure that I never saw anybody but the owner cue Rico (so unsure). I did see TV footage of Rico apparently discriminating and picking a NEW toy out of a bunch of named toys. BUT they did not prove/test/say that it wasn't a smell (as in these smell like my house except this new one) thing or if it was visual as in all new toys identical to named ones he already knew with an unseen new one. So to me not a true test.

There just aren't enough results to determine and Rico seems to have dropped off the radar in 2004 though the study continues to be quoted in past tense and no reference of further work. Much like the flawed captive wolf studies that proliferate decades after being discounted.

Clearly the ability to distinguish a new toy from his old favorites is cognitive but not nearly as complex as recognizing each object by name no matter what it's origin. Rico was certainly an exceptional dog but still regarded as exceptional to dogs as a species not to bc's. No other studies of breeds, human exposure (much or none), age, & etc ever produced a repeatable result.

Using PET scans it is easy to prove recognition produces a stronger chemical response in our brains than cognition or inference. So physiologically the dog or a human goes by default go to recognition mode and reacts to pick out unrecognized things rather than going through a reasoning/listing process of all known objects.

There is NO mention I can find as to what happened to Rico who was 9 yo in 2004 or if he was proven/disproven or withdrawn from testing. I usually suspect unfinished/unresolved studies and as a scientist unrepeatable studies as unproved. Repeatability is what we must base science or theory upon because the unknowns or uncontrolled variables are too great otherwise. Extraordinary dog? certainly, but larger differences in the same breed have been proven to exist than differences between breeds. The same reasoning can be applied to Mark Spitz. He is not the physical, racial, archetype of the best swimmer in the world. And no American male swimmers broke his record for gold medals until Michael Phelps.

I find no mention of the poodle on the internet or many other studies. I have seen mentionn only of the poodle on TV a few times. Rico sparked quite a fit of research for a year or two so he may have been a true one in a million that dropped off after he was either withdrawn from observation or passed away. I wouldn't want my remarkable dog studied either. The total absence of this type of repeatable research does make it seem more Mark Spitz than Kenyan (individual specific rather than group representative)

The biggest part of the equation I suspect in all cases is motivation which is a repeated observation common to all of the studies. Bc's do tend to be VERY motivated to work as a breed. Very successful people are often similarly driven. As a breed I do admit bc drive is very very impressive and a joy to behold. The physical dexterity alone is a stunner.


Honored Member
To Snooks two posts up, OH YEAH!! Buddy has come a LOOONNNGGG way, you've been gone a lil while now, too, and i been working with Buddy off and on all day long, every single day!!!
it's been like watching a flower opening up!! Ha, i'd almost forgotten how he would not leave the deck, THAT took MONTHS to get him to understand--that it was A-OK with us if he went off the deck without us. Months. Ha ha! Even as he was learning tricks and cues, and lotsa stuff, he couldn't go off the deck by himself.:dognowink: I think he just didn't understand the rules for one thing--- that is WAS okay, that we WOULD still be right here when he got back? Or maybe he was just afraid of... who knows what? NO one could get over this when they saw it, a dog who won't go off the deck without us next to him, even if he had to pee, he just couldn't go off the deck!!??

We ended up getting some other dog to visit, the other dog of course, ran right out onto the grass and Buddy followed. We went into the house, and after a few rounds of this, Buddy came to understand it was all safe out there on the grass,:dogsmile: even without us next to him. It was another month or two more after THAT breakthrough til he could go off into the grass IN THE DARK without us. Ha, NOW he has his own doggie door and goes out whenever he pleases.:dogbiggrin:

I just got back from walking him off leash, i almost always walk him off leash, all over everywhere, but i carry a leash, and buddy now knows to stay close to curb, not in the middle of street!! and i DO put him on leash for any oncoming humans or dogs. I practice his recall all the way, every time. It is reeeally good now, really good.

I took a long long while to advance to this point. At first, i just had him off leash, like, for even just 10 feet, on very secluded street that i know has zero dogs on it. And so on. Now, is a piece of cake, but i tell you, i am never as alert as i am when i am walking Buddy off leash!! cuz i am listening for any car, or watching for any dog or bunny, etc. some streets, that are busy, of course, i use a leash on those streets.

And i have not yet ever not been able to call him off any chase, every single time, i just call him a lil louder than usual, cuz of he is running away after a deer or something, and he instantly freezes in place--- and there is a 1 second delay.. while he watches that bunny getting away ... and then he runs back to me, quite animated and smiling so big, like, "Didja see that? I coulda had him!" And the bunny is safe. I didn't exactly train this into him, not really, just plain old recall training is all i can remember doing anyway... i am just lucky actually.

I even have him being able to heel now!!! (not when we first go out the door, though, after 1 block i can ask for heel.) And his loose leash came along in one fell swoop, just like, all at once!! :msnhugegrin:After struggling with him on this forever it seemed. I didn't work that hard on that one til spring came, out there in the snow, i was like, whatever!! --Let's get this walk done and get back inside!

Come spring, without all the snow--we got more on that. Turns out, his extending leash seems to have been messing him up---- switching to plain old 6 foot leash, and bam. He could walk loose leash. Well, MOST of the time.:msngiggle:
We're still working on his dog issues,:dogmad: but even that is 75% better!!! But this issue interferes with loose leash. Is only thing that does.

He still pulls if i walk two dogs together. Can't figure that out...? See, the other dog is a huge puller, and buddy reverts back to a puller...


Honored Member
OOh, Snooks, one more huge change in buddy since i got him--HIS EYES. His eyes, are so soft and loving now. I can't even explain the difference, but the glare that was in them so often, it is gone. His whole face, even though scarred up from his gangsta days, looks entirely different. He looks HAPPY now!!

SORRY I DERAILED THE THREAD!! i just had to catch Snooks up to date!! okay, i was bragging...sorry! but it is all true!! i got one lil awesome dog!!


Experienced Member
aww Tigerlily that makes me get emotional (in a good way-cuz I'm a dog sucker) just reading about his eyes. That blank shut down look is just what Nikki had the day I got her. When I saw her eyes light up the first time I knew she was in there waiting to bloom just as you describe. Thanks for sharing that, it does my heart so much good. Anyone that sees such a progression in a dog is truly blessed b/c they never forget. So good to hear about your progress.


Honored Member
Staff member
Ooooh, 1001, neat Jillian!!! Never heard about that one. Very cool.

I'm not saying that in my PERSONAL OPINION they are the smartest breed, just that they are listed generally as the smartest breed. In a GENERAL sense. Canine studies dealing with intelligence are broken down into many categories, and in certain categories they rank highest. I'd have to go back and google again, but I have found these before. You can have the smartest dog in the universe but have terribly low trainability, and you've got a tough dog. As for my dogs personally, Zeke is the smartest dog I've ever worked with. But TOUGH. Mud is VERY smart, and very trainable. But if I wanted to do any scent work with her she'd be hopeless. Poor girl has no nose, lol!!!

As for poodles, I LOVE Standards but really can't stand the small ones. JUST from the ones I've worked with, I've found the big guys have better trainability and are generally just easier to work with and train. The minis just annoy me, lol....again, just the ones I've worked with.

A BIG ditto to Tigerlily. DesertRanger, this IS a site mainly dealing with tricks. There's nothing wrong with trick-training---it's a GREAT way to bond with your dog and keep them occupied. Most of us here don't have to brag about how well-mannered our dogs are in the home, because it's kind of expected. Now if someone is having an issue with general housemanners, we're all willing to help. It seems you're quite proud of your boy Jin and it sounds like you've done a great job with him--and that's great, you deserve a pat on the back. If you don't like trick-training, then there's a simple solution:don't trick train. Search and rescue with any breed of dog is a huge accomplishment in itself with any dog, and you should be proud to be a part of that.

Now then...

Personally, the smartest dogs I've worked with have probably been BCs, Poodles, mutts, and...hmm...a mixture of other things. My most recent BC student was 8-months-old, fairly high drive, but had no personality. She learned VERY quickly and liked learning. She learned things at an incredible rate, but she drove me nuts cause she was just a DOG. No personality at all. She wasn't working for me, really. She was basically just there. And that drove me nuts.

I know a Standard Poodle who is an incredible dog. He's VERY smart, and very trainable. He's an amazing dog to work with....but no enthusiasm. o-o He enjoys everything that is asked of him, but he's so laid-back he just isn't enthusiastic at all. But nonetheless, an amazing student.
And then there's Zeke, my BC/ACD. VERY smart, likes learning, but it's hard to tune him down. I wish I just had a "drive control" button so I could turn him down for some things and return him to normal for others, lol! He's learned many commands and he is great to work with(although he is difficult), but he's enthusiastic 24/7. Which is good and bad.
My boyfriend's boxer drives me nuts. He's very....detached, I guess you could say. You try to teach him something and he's like, "Oh, I get it....SQUIRREL!" Crazy dog. Lol. NO attention span at all, and really no desire to learn.

Anyway...point being, all dogs come in all types.


New Member
yoyopoodle;19577 said:
Does anyone know if there is more info out on this BC than in the article? I'd love to learn more about how they defined cues for counting purposes. Obviously the dog is extremely talented (and the trainer too, no doubt!), but I don't see that number as being out of reach to a generally smart and interested dog (ANY BREED, particularly an agile individual)... the bigger task is for the owner to come up with 300 commands/cues :dogtongue2:

tigerlily46514;19597 said:
One thing i have wondered, DesertRanger, is since on several of your posts you make derisive remarks about dogs doing "tricks" why would you join Dog TRICK Academy? the bulk of this website is dedicated to teaching dogs TRICKS.
I think you misunderstood. I've have not made any derisive comments on dogs that do tricks. In fact I'm pleased as punch that I have a dog that seems to enjoy learning tricks. dogs are like people in that respect. Some like doing tricks others don't. Fopr as smart as Bas and Fuzzer were, both SAr dogs. the only "tricks" they really learned were fetch and retrieve balls and Frisbees. They were really very stoic working dogs. On the other hand Surra and Fuzzy were trick fanatics in fact it was easier to teach Surra how to do tricks than to work.

Some things, call them tricks, work, tasks or whatever have a purpose in a working dogs life. For example tug in a rope. Some work dogs are trained to pull on a rope or take the end pof a rope to another p[lace or person for rigging. The trick aspect comes from playing tug-o-war and fetch the rope. The work aspect comes from "Go therre" and beng sent in a direction. Now which is a trick and which is work.

Why did I join a Dog Tricks forum? Jin seems to enjoy doing trick unlike other dogs I've had. It no becomes as much a mental exercise for him as well as a physical one. BCs like to be kept busy. If I can teach Jin to wash his face or dance as well as finding a lost hiker all for the better.

Ahh! Yes I may have missed more than your response to the Barbie Dogs post. The power went out here for 2 days and it just came back on a couple of hours ago. To escape the heat we left town for the weekend sans computers.

Question, when is it a trick and when is it not a trick?


Experienced Member
desertranger;19709 said:
Question, when is it a trick and when is it not a trick?
I honestly consider any cue that the dog responds to a trick. The dog doesn't know that rollover is less important than sit. Although like you said certain breeds have instincts that they feel more fulfillment in doing, like retrieving, herding, etc. Overall I feel that if I can train my dog to cross his feet than I should have no problem training competitive obedience, etc. It's all about having the attitude that gets your dog to see each task as fun.

I certainly have the upmost respect for service dogs, but I would consider what they do a whole series of tricks for another person. They just learn it, and enjoy it, as a way of life.


New Member
Jin's in training as a service dog. The funny thing is he seems to know a silly trick is just that while waiting at a light or not crossing the street is important. I think he also knows a ball is play and bringing me my med pack is work since he'll want to play "here's the ball but I'm not letting it go right now" yet he always places my med pack in my lap no argument or treat needed.


Experienced Member
partly why i picked goldens and these particular lines & b/c of the way i train/am -- they enjoy all tasks and do them very seriously and really dig perfection. so semantics mean less to me than if my dog enjoys and is motivated to work and play for me but with stucture so i don't get hurt AND has an on off switch if I need it. I think it's very important they aren't working ALL the time so two at home makes sure they have time to be just dogs. the fun is all gravy and has no effect on their work but it sure makes me smile more/live longer.


New Member
I saw a Jack Russel Terrier on TV recently that could do math. I'm not joking. And, it could count the number of people standing in a line, and it counted how many were females. Now THAT is one smart dog!


Experienced Member
:msnblushing: I find it fascinating that they can count. dogs are making monkeys look like punks. LOL I have to admit there isn't much I enjoy more than watching bc's work. the drive and intensity is awesome.