Yesterday, Emmett and I were at the vet’s office. We walked into the lobby, checked in, weighed him, and sat to wait our turn. How many treats did I give him through all that? One. To get him to stop wagging his tail on the scale, I stuck one treat against his snout. How many treats would I have given his brothers at that point? Like, a jillion.
The vet got called away for an emergency consult. What did Emmett do? “Well, it’s as good-a time and place as any for a snooze!”
Emmett is a cool customer. Not just at the vet’s office, either: He goes to coffee shops, parades, parks, festivals, and, in his working days, hospitals, libraries, elementary schools, and the county fair. He loves it all and stays collected no matter what he encounters.
Which is why he is terribly trained!
It’s our fault, of course, but we’ve let his personality carry him through, rather than insisting on “obedience.” For almost his entire life with us, we’ve been dealing with Lucas’s behavior issues. Sure, Emmett tagged along to the majority of the training classes we’ve done with Lucas, and he’s picked up a command or two along the way (with a few tricks up his sleeve), but when it comes to responsiveness to our cues… Emmett sort of chooses when he listens and when he doesn’t. And we’ve never insisted otherwise because we’ve learned to trust him to make good decisions all on his own.
Last week, Abby asked the question: How sage is your dog?
I love that question. We’ve always said that Emmett has “street smarts” but Cooper and Lucas have “book smarts.” Emmett is sweet and has an overabundance of confidence, but he is a very slow learner. What takes his brother a couple days to learn will take Emmett weeks. (Barking on cue took years – literally, years – to teach him.) But because his behavior is naturally good, we’ve let his personality lead and not insisted that he learn the repertoire of cues that his brothers have to have.
I consider Emmett sage. He’s wise enough to know that the world isn’t out to get him; in fact, it’s a fun place filled with people who want to pat you and give you treats! He knows which threats require his deep, resonant “WOOF,” but stays calm through others that send his brothers off (the doorbell, the dog barking a mile down the road, squirrels).
He makes smart decisions all on his own, and though he occasionally does something that reminds me that he’s not so strong on his verbal cues (like… snatching the cookie out of the hand of a toddler being pushed in a stroller when I asked him to “leave it” but he did it anyway and made the kid scream his head off), his happy confidence always sees him through.
Do you consider your dog to be more “street smart” or more “book smart”? Do you think there’s a difference between wisdom and intelligence in your pups? For those of you with multiples, do you see these differences in their personalities?
By the way, while we were waiting, he did lift up his head momentarily when the poor little dog in the room across the hall from us started SCREECHING!
But, realizing it didn’t affect him in any way, he went back to sleep. 🙂