Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, by and large. Longtime reader(s) of Quip Tide may recall one anomaly, a somewhat doglike substance, Silver, who appeared with me at the top of the column for years. But Silver was the rare exception that proves the rule.

Dogs are keen observers of television shows, carefully discerning the exact moment when suspense has reached its apex, and insisting on being let out to achieve their most deeply held goals. A phrase that occasionally works on grandchildren, “Can you hold it for another three miles?” doesn’t work with dogs. Thank heaven for the “pause” button on the remote control.

We crunch more numbers than dogs do, but they process much more information than we do, owing to their superior senses of hearing and smell. We can barely recognize a Maltese from a Yorkie, but dogs can identify other dogs from scents left three rainfalls ago, and analyze their diets, health and whatever disgusting things they last rolled in. 

As for hearing, we can hear ravens cawing outside our house at a distance of perhaps 50 yards, but dogs can hear, and thus bark at, creatures playing Pictionary on Neptune.

With this barrage of chemical and auditory information, it is no wonder that dogs lack the bandwidth for human logic. 

A syllogism, a common logical statement, states two terms and draws a conclusion from them. Example: “All dogs are mammals; we have a dog; therefore, our dog is a mammal.” 

Dog syllogisms follow the same form, but don’t quite work as well as ours do. Example: “I live with two humans; they also have two cats; therefore, the cats are evil.” This conclusion is not supported by our dog’s experiences with the cats. When Opal is outside on a leash, one cat, Chaco, rubs against her chin. Evidently, this gesture translates as “Chase me!”

Dogs use dog logic to add new rules to our house rules, especially at meal times and bedtime, when they become dogmatic. 

A more descriptive name for Opal, though trademarked, would’ve been Velcro. Exercising her dog–given rights, add to our house rules Opal’s First Amendment which is that one human must stay in the room while she eats. If we both leave she will walk away from her food and follow us. This is sort of sweet, but not conducive to good digestion.

Her Second Amendment allows Opal to personally say “good night” to Susy before she (Opal) is put in her crate for the night. She doesn’t sleep in our bedroom, an intolerable degree of separation for her unless she gets to say “good night” to Susy by jumping on the bed while Susy is in it.

In dog logic, Opal’s bedtime rule reads, or perhaps smells, like this: “Louie takes me on long walks on days without rain; Susy puts me on the treadmill, watching ‘Pit Bulls and Parolees’ for 30 minutes or so every day; therefore, I must say ‘good night’ to Susy. P.S. Girl Power!” 

What really goes on between Opal’s pointy ears? Dog only knows. hopes Opal will let him continue to tag along on her long walks.

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