Poodle Tricks

Standard Poodles are considered by many dog experts to be the single most intelligent dog breed. I believe it. The Standard Poodles may be no more intelligent in terms of I.Q. than other dogs, however they are most certainly capable of applying that intellect to their interactions with humans, to a far greater extent than any other breed. Thus it is their intellectual interaction with humans that stands them apart from any other breeds.

Get any group of people together who all live with Standard Poodles and within minutes they will start telling stories about the "Tricks" their Poodle Friends play on them. They will all note the shear joy these dogs display while playing these tricks. Most often it takes the humans a few iterations of the "trick" by their four legged friend, before they realize the dog is pulling the wool over their eyes;-)

Example #1: Let's Play Fetch with the Tennis Ball...
Every day Bubba and I would go to the back yard to play fetch with the tennis ball. It was one of his favorite pass-times. I'd throw the ball from the deck and Bubba would run out into the back yard to fetch it. I'd throw the ball again and the process would be repeated until either Bubba or I was tired.

So that this game didn't get too boring - sometimes Bubba would run out into the yard and I'd throw him the ball, other times I'd throw the ball and he would run after it. As a farther variation, I'd make Bubba face me and I'd cover his eyes so he could not see where the ball was thrown - then I'd let him go and every time he would run directly to the ball. He could hear where it landed and he didn't need to actually see it.

Other times I would sneak out the back door when Bubba wasn't there - take the ball off the table that it was normally kept on - and throw it out into the yard somewhere. So when we went out the next time - Bubba would have to search the yard to find it before our game could start. It never took him more than an instant to find the ball. (he could smell it at once;-). You could not hid his ball from him.

At times, my son Carl jr. would come home to visit and of course we would wind up in the back yard playing ball with Bubba. Bubba would bring the ball to me to throw, then the next time he would take it to Carl jr. to throw. Poodles always make sure everyone is involved in playing the game;-). Bubba would do this about five or six times...

Then when Carl jr. would throw the ball that fifth or sixth time - Bubba would run out into the yard and act like he couldn't find the ball. He would wonder around looking at the ground then back up at Carl jr. as if to say, "I can't find the ball"... So Carl jr. would jump down off the deck, walk out into the back yard to show Bubba where the ball had come to rest... Bubba would let him get about ten feet from the ball - then he would dash over and grab it just before Carl jr. got to it...

I observed this behavior about two times before I recognized the "Trick". Carl jr. however did not realize he was being "had" until his third visit, and his fifth or sixth trip out into the yard. Finally as he returned to the deck from the yard, Carl jr. said: "he knew where that ball was". I said, "Yes, he's known it for several days - I was wondering how long it would take you to catch on;-)".

A few throws later, Bubba was playing his trick on Carl jr. again. Carl jr. said, "I'm not falling for that again". I said, "Oh.. just go along with it, he has such a good time thinking he's still pulling one over on you;-)". So for years, when Carl jr. came home to visit, Bubba played his "Poodle Trick" on Carl jr. and Carl jr. continued to go along with it.

Bubba never played that trick on anyone else until Mary Alice was big enough to jump down off the deck and go show him where the ball was;-). She felt so important, so superior when she had to go show Bubba where the ball was -- and she of course never caught on;-). I never told her either;-)... it was just too much fun for Bubba and too much fun for me to watch the two of them;-). Bubba loved the kids so much.

Example #2: "Look At What I've Got"...
Mary Alice has a bunch of stuffed animals - but only a couple that she sleeps with. One is a stuffed dog which she has named "Blakely". Max loves Mary Alice... so whenever he gets the opportunity he runs into her bedroom to see her. On morning while Mary Alice was still in bed, Max grabbed "Blakely" and ran off with him. Mary Alice of course jumped out of bed and chased Max to retrieve "Blakely"... Ah, the game began...;-) Now Max knew how to get Mary Alice out of bed in the morning.

Max will grab Blakely and run off with him - only when Mary Alice is there to scream/yell and chase him. I can, and I have, laid Blakely on the floor of her room when Mary Alice is gone - and Max will simply ignor it. It's no fun to grab Blakely and run off - if Mary Alice or Vicki isn't there to make a fuss or chase him;-).

Max does the same thing with some soft slippers that Vicki has. He will only grab one and run off with it, if Vicki is there to yell at him. When she does, he brings one slipper back, drops it and then grabs the other to repeat the trick;-). Max thinks this is great sport..;-) but he doesn't do it all the time - just when he feels like having some fun;-)

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