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janbb's avatar

Would you rather have a calm, loving dog or a somewhat problematic but smarter dog?

Asked by janbb (44116 points ) April 8th, 2014

I realized this morning that Frodo understands almost everything I say – that pertains to his interests. He certainly doesn’t yet do everything I want him to, although we are working on it. Gormless Prince was very calm and loving but not as bright. Realizing that in most cases, you get the dog you get, this is a theoretical, mainly for fun question. (And I also realize that there are many smart, but calm and loving dogs.)

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37 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

I prefer a calm, loving dog, as long as it’s smart enough to recognize who is its master and who isn’t and not get kidnapped.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll take whatever I can get. I had two Goldens, a female that was super smart, and a male that was dumber than a brick. It was fun watching her torment him, but when it came to protecting her he was crazy brave.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I love them all. Calm, loving dogs are perfect for cuddling and relaxing. Daisy is calm and loving about 10% of the time. She’s a challenge and she’s got her own quirky personality, which I also love. She’s not even two, so I imagine that she’ll calm with age, but right now she’s hyper and playful and stubborn.

They say animals don’t feel guilt, but all my husband and I have to do is say, “Daisy, what did you do? Look what you did.” in any voice and, even when she hasn’t done anything wrong, she jumps on us and loves on us. Manipulative little shit. :) She’s smarter than we give her credit for. She knows what we want her to do, but she’s only going to do it on her own time. We present a treat and tell her to sit – most of the time she sits, but sometimes she lowers her butt to the ground for just a second, pops back up, and looks at us as if to say, “I sat. Now give me my damn treat.”

She’s a sweetheart, but only dog lovers like Daisy. People think she’s gorgeous, but she’s too rambunctious for a lot of them, and training that pup to quiet down or stop jumping has proven to be nearly impossible. But she’s our Daisy, and we don’t give a hoot what other people think about her.

syz's avatar

My connection is closer to my smart, neurotic dog.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I guess the reason he protects her is because he likes being tormented. Masochistic, isn’t he ~

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I think she was abused some by her former owner. If I had gloves on she would cower when I first got her. Maybe he was too but he wasn’t bright enough for it to bother him. They were very tight.

28lorelei's avatar

As @Adirondackwannabe said, I’ll take what I get… right now I have a Jack-russell who can be very cuddly and loving (not calm though) some of the time, but can also be very hyper… She’s pretty smart though. For now, I think I’ll stick with her, although I may get another dog to keep her company sometime in the near future, probably another Jack.

Mimishu1995's avatar

My Milu was not dull but not bright either. At least he had the minimum intelligence I expected. And I love dogs like that.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@28lorelei After having the two dogs I don’t think I’d want just one dog. They were inseparable. I had to take both when one needed to go to the vet. On the down side when I lost one the other didn’t last 30 days.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe So that’s why no one in my area want two dogs in their house…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mimishu1995 The losing them so close together? That hurt, but they also kept each other going probably a good three years longer than I would have expected. Goldens don’t usually make it to 15 or so years.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe No, I mean the I had to take both when one needed to go to the vet part. Most people here can’t afford to raise two dogs at the same time. Where’s money?

Glad that your dogs get on well :)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Okay. No, when I tried to take one alone the other one slammed into the gate trying to get out to go with us. They had a big fenced in pen. I was worried the other one would hurt themselves trying to get out. Although eventually if one went in for a procedure and had to stay overnight, the other one had to go too. The vet had a policy against this, but they made an exception for these two dogs.

janbb's avatar

I agree that you get the dog you get and as with kids, you for the most part, love what you get. Just wanting to schmooze a bit about dogs and their personalities. I get so frustrated with Frodo at times that I don’t always appreciate how bright he is. He makes up games with his toys and bones if I won’t play with him!

kritiper's avatar

I had a fairly smart dog that, I thought at first, was stupid. It turned out he was much smarter than I thought! He just didn’t want me to know! Border collies are VERY smart but you have to keep them constantly entertained or they will drive you crazy. So a docile dog might be best for some like me. It would help to maintain your dominant alpha dog leader of the pack status if he is smart.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Don’t get frustrated. Look at it as a challenge and see what you can do to engage his personality.

Cruiser's avatar

When we first met Sadie at the shelter it was beyond apparent she was a very loving dog. When we got her home I was convinced she was the dumbest dog alive. She would not even walk 10 feet on a leash and would just lay down. 2 years later and 100 lbs of training treats she is the smartest and most affectionate dog I have ever owned.

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I am working hard with him and have a trainer. It is a challenge, rewarding but also frustrating at times.

Seek's avatar

The best dog we ever had was a brilliant pit bull/rottie mix.

As a puppy – he was friggin’ insane. An escape artist. He once saw a cat walking across the street and jumped through the window (glass and all) to chase it. He used to climb up six-foot chain-link fences by sticking his paws through the links. He ate my husband’s entire house. And apparently he was ridiculously hard to train. And he was my husband’s best friend for 13 years.

I only got to know Bub in the last three years of his life. He was the guardian of our home. At that point, hubs relied on Bub’s judgment – if Bub didn’t like someone, they were not to be trusted.

I’m reminded of a time one of his cousins was visiting. He slept on the couch the first night, and the next morning complained that Bub wouldn’t let him get off the couch. He slept right next to the couch, on the floor, and stood up and watched everything he did. Followed him to the bathroom, then corralled him back to the couch.

Hubby’s response: “Then stay on the couch. He knows what he’s doing”.

Turned out the cousin was in some trouble with the law. Bub just knew these things.

But again, he was a serious pain in the arse for the first few years of his life. He’s been dead for six years come August, but we still talk about him all the time, and miss him like crazy.

Jason says that Russell reminds him of Bub as a puppy. I hope he turns out as well as Bub did, and I hope that my son gets to grow up with a Valiant Guardian in the home, too. ^_^

thorninmud's avatar

Our new pooch is smarter than any dog I’ve had before, and that raises the stakes for all of our interactions with him. For him, life is one big experiment in cause and effect: “I wonder what will happen if I do this? Does life get more or less interesting as a result? Let’s see.” Being smart means that he will not fail to quickly process and assimilate the results of the experiment. Because we have a big stake in the outcome of the experiment, we have to be just as attentive as he is to how it plays out. He won’t miss a thing, and so we’d better not either.

I like this. It fits right in with my own on-going efforts to be more attentive and responsive. He doesn’t let me drift off into reveries. He pulls me out of myself by making me constantly try to intuit what’s going on with him. I have to learn to understand the world as he does. This is great training for me.

My wife is less enthused. That level of constant engagement is tiresome for her. She wants to be able to forget about him every now and then. I’ll see her absent-mindedly set something down on the floor, and I’ll instantly think, “Uh-oh, that’s trouble”, because I’m looking through Raja’s eyes. Then she’ll get agitated when the inevitable mangling comes to pass, so Raja gets dinner and a show. Needless to say, he has a whole different set of behaviors when he’s dealing with my wife. That’s the downside of having a smart dog.

gailcalled's avatar

Jan neglects to mention that Frodo is unusually photogenic (really unusually) and already has agents fightlng for the rights to do next year’s calender. Coming home to that particular face would make me forgive a lot.

(I come home to a similar face and also forgive a lot, but we are still talking about dogs here?)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Just keep in mind dogs are pack animals and make sure he knows you’re the boss.

janbb's avatar

What I do find particularly frustrating is when I feel we’ve got a certain behavior or pattern down – like doing his business outside in a certain spot – and then there is backsliding.

I also find it hard like @thorninmud‘s wife that I can’t relax or fully concentrate on what I want to do because I have to worry about what he is up to. And that is with puppy-proofing the whole house. I have to say that is getting better and having frozen stuffed Kongs to give him buys me a good 45 minutes to watch “Call the Midwife” in peace.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Next Sunday, DVR “Call the Midwife” and tune into Wrestling. Maybe Frodo has different tastes than you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My female is smart & cuddly while my male is young & dumb & hyper. It’s a fun mix.

GloPro's avatar

Well, I’ve had Oda for less than a day, but so far, so mellow. He doesn’t mind the shower, and follows me like he’s on a leash.
I hope he’s smart. He seems to have good situational awareness. But mellow is great, too.

janbb's avatar

@GloPro For a search and rescue dog, you want both. Mellow and unflappable is great! It will be fun to hear how he progresses. Frodo is good at search but not so much at rescue…:-)

GloPro's avatar

Oh, yes, he searches and rescues treats from my pocket regularly already. He likes his crate, which is awesome. Either that or he’s too small/young to figure out how to walk out of it. He sits in it with the door open and whimpers at me.
Maybe he’s an idiot after all.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Dog Schmaug. I would much rather have a kitten.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t know. I always wanted a dog that would stay by my side as I walked on trails. I got two male dogs who dashed ahead. Would I trade them? Never.

longgone's avatar

If I had to choose, calm and loving. I wonder how my next dog is going to turn out…this current one will be hard to top.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

This is a tough one for me, my last dog was calm, loving and pretty stupid while the one I have now is smart girl but she actively seeks trouble. I love them both. I guess for me as a dog person, a dog is a dog is a dog… except when it’s one of those small never-stop-barking oversized rodents.

But in the OP’s case, if I had to choose one, I’d flip a coin. Heads for smart and problematic, Tails for calm loving goofball.

janbb's avatar

@Winter_Pariah Like you, I’ve now had one of each. And I’m not giving Frodo up (only sometimes, late at night, do I fantasize about it…..)

jca's avatar

@Dan_Lyons: Kitten wasn’t one of the choices in the OP’s question.

Leanne1986's avatar

I work with smart but problematic dogs every day. My own dog is not the easiest (although, I wouldn’t change her for the world) so the calm, loving types are often a welcome relief for me!!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have one of each right now.

CocoSmith's avatar

I love dogs, I don’t have much time staying at home. So it is not a good idea to have a dog now.

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