Monthly Archives: August 2010

Pablo the Pug, Marriage Therapist

A recent article by Suzanne B. Phillips, a clinical psychologist, on PsychCentral puts forth that if couples treated each other the way they do their four-legged friends, their relationships would be much healthier. She asks us to consider the following:

Compare the way you greet your dog to the way you greet your husband/wife/significant other when you enter your domicile. Who gets the bigger greeting?

Do you hold a grudge against your cat when she “forgets” to use the litter box? Now what about when hubby “forgets” to put down the toilet seat?

When your dog chews your favorite pair of sneakers or jumps up on you with muddy paws, do you take it personally and assume the pooch did it on purpose? Probably not. Yet when your nearest and dearest breaks your latest gadget or dyes all your jockeys pink in the wash, does it creep into your mind that maybe he/she might have done it deliberately?

The good doctor makes some valid points. Yes, we should all strive to accept our loved ones, flaws and all. However, people, unlike animals, most certainly do have ulterior motives. Those pink jockeys speak volumes, my friends.

The article reminded me of reviews I read of What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage by journalist Amy Sutherland. After watching animal trainers work their magic, Sutherland decided to adapt their techniques to her loved ones, focusing especially on her husband. She was delighted to see her marriage improve and to discover changes in herself as well, as she became less judgmental and more forgiving of others.

As for myself, I’ll continue with What Pablo Taught Me. In a nutshell, for a happy relationship: enjoy your meals, go on long walks together, and administer plenty of belly rubs. Works like a charm!

I'm listening.



Filed under reviews, This and That

One Surfin’ Pug

No, the pug in question is not Pablo. It’s Bugsy, a surfing dude from Hawaii. (Don’t you just love the Hawaiian shirt?) Bugsy was one of six pets featured recently in Reader’s Digest. A friend mentioned the article to me the other night (she subscribes to RD and I don’t). As soon as I got off the phone, I made a bee-line to the computer to see if it was on-line. It was, and it got me thinking. Since it turns out Pablo is a few marbles short of being a pug Einstein, maybe sports is his metier. I doubt he’ll end up a surfer, though. For one thing we’re miles from ocean waves. Perhaps sumo wrestling would be a good match. He’d have to put on some weight, of course, but I doubt he’d mind having to increase calories.


Filed under pugs, Pugs in the news

Blood on Her Claws

While out on parole convicted killer Miss Rita struck again. Last time she caught a bird we were able to save it. This time we—and the bird—weren’t as lucky. The only clue was a drop of blood by the door leading to the deck. There was no sign of Rita. Officer K again performed a search for the felon, but she eluded capture. Whew, we thought. The bird escaped. Then last week I was down in the basement organizing our junk. I moved some box cartons, and there, lying on the concrete floor was the body. Being a complete wuss, I fled the premises, leaving Officer K to dispose of the remains. Miss Rita, when questioned, remained silent on the advice of her lawyer.

So how did this happen? K and I don’t let our cats roam free. We do, however, allow them out on the small deck over the garage. The deck is enclosed with white railing. There is no way for the cats to get off the deck, and, as far as I know, birds don’t land there. Birds do, though, fly overhead. I can only surmise that when a bird flies too low, Rita—who likes to perch on top of the railing—leaps for them.

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Filed under Other critters

What It All Means

Now that Pablo’s IQ test is finished, what are the results? Let’s add up his test scores:

Test #1   5 points

Test #2   5 points

Test #3   4 points

Test #4   4 points

Test #5   5 points

Test #6   1 point

Total:    24 points


More than 25 points     Your dog is a genius

15-15 points    Your dog is smart, but won’t go to Harvard

5 to 15 points     Your dog isn’t too bright, but most likely very cute

Below 5 points   No comment, but check for pulse

Pablo missed being a genius by 1 point!

In conclusion, I have severe misgivings about this test. As others have commented, a lot depends on how motivated a dog is. If  a dog isn’t a fiend for treats the way Pablo is, he/she might not score as high on some tests. Does that mean the dog isn’t intelligent? Not necessarily. Also, Pablo did very well freeing himself from the towel (test #2). But ever since he was a puppy, after a bath we’ve played a game where I chase him and throw a towel over him as he wriggles away. Did this game give him an unfair advantage?

Now that you know your dog’s IQ, do you wonder about your own? After spending a week  testing Pablo’s, I know I question my own intelligence (and sanity). Here’s a quiz from Mensa. While not a valid IQ test, you will still find out how you measure up in the brain department. So go on, what are you afraid of?


Filed under Canine intelligence

IQ Test #6

The last test of the series. And Pablo flunked. Big time.

A test of language comprehension, it requires that your dog have a name. Once your dog is settled about 6 feet away from you, call to him/her. But instead of saying your dog’s name, call out “refrigerator.”


If your dog shows some response to come     3 points

If your dog does not come, call “movies” and if he/she comes     2 points

If after all this, your dog shows no response, call it by its true name. If your dog then comes or shows any tendency to move to you     5 points

If your dog hasn’t moved, call its name again. If he/she comes     4 points

If your dog still doesn’t come     1 point

Pablo was sitting a few feet away from me. I called “refrigerator.” His ears pricked up, registering it, but he made no move to come. I then called “movies.” Again, a flicker of the ear, but he made no other move. Finally I called “Pablo.” This time he cocked his head and gave me his quizzical look. I called “Pablo” a second time, but he remained where he was. Scoring: 1 point

Now I know damn well that Pablo knows his name. He also knows the words “toys,” “breakfast,” and “dinner,” among others. However, Pablo has never been one to come when called (unless his best interests are involved). This is the major reason I never let him off leash when outside, except in a fenced-in area. I can’t trust him to come when called. So to me this was more a test of Pablo’s obedience, not his language skills. And obedience-wise, he’s a dope.

It is a wise pug who knows his own name.


Filed under Canine intelligence, pugs

Pug Park

After five days of testing, Pablo was feeling the strain. K and I decided he needed a day off.  A new pug group was having its first meeting at a nearby park, so we decided to go there and let Pablo unwind. Unlike the last pug group we attended, this one was much closer. It’s a good size with two fenced-in areas, one for small dogs and one for the big guys. Pablo enjoyed meeting new friends, some pugs, some not, and came back well-rested and ready to tackle his final test.

At the watering hole

It's mine, all mine!

Big dogs at play

The grass is always greener

This handsome pug is Pablo's age

Making room on the bench

Pablo being tailed by a new friend

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Filed under Uncategorized

IQ Test #5

This one was a hard test—for me! The challenge was finding the right table. You need one that is low enough so that your dog’s head won’t fit through yet high enough so that his/her paw can get under. You can make such a table using books and a board, but in the end I settled for a coffee table with a lower ledge just a few inches off the ground. You’ll also need a dog biscuit and a stopwatch.

Pablo ready for Test #5

Once you have the table, show your dog the biscuit. Make sure your pooch is watching as you place it under the table, far enough away so that your dog must use its paws to get it. Click on the stopwatch and start timing.


If your dog uses its paws to get treat in under 60 seconds     5 points

If your dog uses its paws and gets treat in 1 to 3 minutes     4 points

If your dog uses its muzzle and doesn’t get treat or if it uses its paws but fails to get treat after 3 minutes     3 points

If your dog doesn’t use its paws and just gives one or two half-hearted tries     2 points

If your dog makes no attempt whatsoever after 3 minutes     Check its pulse. Kidding!   1 point

Pablo must have been secretly training for this test. He got the treat using his paws in just under 5 seconds! What a dog!

Going for the gold

Almost there



Filed under Canine intelligence