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Cheerfully Demented - How do you know if your pet is mentally retarded?
How do you know if your pet is mentally retarded?
Bri here,

I'm not saying this as a joke, and I'm not using the term pejoratively. But, Frank and I seriously think that Kablam might be mentally retarded. 

I've had four bichons now. All of them were pretty similar to Crash in terms of intelligence and personality. Crash can asses a situation and react. If you get the hair brush, he will go hide outside for hours to avoid getting brushed. He's really hard to trick. This is the same dog that leaps over gates to get food, opens cabinets to shred toilet paper and will run for his life if Frank and I even say the word "bath." 

Kablam, on the other hand? Stupid, stupid, stupid. We love him. He's the most gentle dog I've ever had, and he does nothing all day but meekly show affection - but he's really not smart. He just follows Crash along all day long. He doesn't seem to ever understand anything that's going on. He will fall for the same trick 100 times in a row and not get it. He constantly just looks surprised. 

I don't know if he's incredibly passive because he's a beta to Crash's alpha. But, he just does not have the same spark of destructive mischief that Crash has. Does mental retardation exist in dogs? 
frankwu From: frankwu Date: January 1st, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every morning, I send the dogs outside to the porch and (1) give them breakfast and (2) lock them outside for a while so we can do our morning stuff in peace. Every morning, Crash looks up at me sadly, as if to say, Why are you sending me this lovable little bichon into exile? Why? Kablam jumps up and down with the expression of: Yeah! Breakfast!

Brianna does this thing called a "Crash burrito." As a game, she wraps a dog up in the blanket and flips it over. Crash will immediately try to struggle his way out. Kablam just lies there, moaning "Oh well" and just gives up.
kristine_smith From: kristine_smith Date: January 1st, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, there's this dog IQ test:

Not making light of this at all, but over at Hyperbole and Half, Allie blogged about one of her dogs, which she thinks is kind of slow.

I've never had a passive dog, so I don't know how they act. You should probably talk to your vet.

frankwu From: frankwu Date: January 1st, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link to the IQ test.

We tested Crash and he got a 28/30 (anything 25+ is genius).

Kablam didn't do so well - 9/30 (but only with a generous interpretation of the results), which scores as "not too bright" but probably cute. That's about it.

Each test is scored 1 to 5, and his highest mark was a 2.5 on a test we regularly play as a game - freeing himself from a towel thrown over his head. The second best score was a 2/5 on the reaching-under-an-obstacle-with-his-paw-to-get-a-treat, and that, too, was something that Crash taught him to do. And he still didn't wasn't good at it.
jewelsong From: jewelsong Date: January 1st, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was a teenager, we had a lovely (and very smart) dachshund named Elf. We bred her twice. The first time, all went well. The second time, there were complications, the milk didn't come in and 3 of the 4 puppies died. We bottle fed the last one, named her Muffin and kept her.

She was obviously retarded. She also had epilepsy. We think she survived because she was physically the biggest, but she had some kind of oxygen deprivation at birth and also no nourishment for a couple of days. She was a very sweet, loving but retarded dog.
frankwu From: frankwu Date: January 1st, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awwwww. I'm glad you were able to save Muffin. (She obviously had a good puppy parent.) Did she live a shorter than normal amount of time? (I wonder because Kablam, our less intelligent dog, is also a lot smaller - a runt, really.)
safewrite From: safewrite Date: January 1st, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
It does in cats. We have one that they nicknamed "Short Bus" who even has trouble grooming himself. Tigre is very beautiful--I call him the Zoolander Cat--but makes an appliance bulb look, well, brilliant.

As to dogs, my former neighbor had a mentally retarded Mastiff - huge, friendly, and dumb as a post from a lack of oxygen for too long during a difficult birth. She was patience itself with this large, sweet, drooling menace.
melchar From: melchar Date: January 1st, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heck yeah!. Dogs have a different bell curve for intelligence as humans, but there are genius-level dogs and idiot-level dogs. In general it's easier to deal with the dumb dogs - because 'problem solving intelligence' can get a brilliant dog in a -lot- of trouble.
Brianna Spacekat Wu From: Brianna Spacekat Wu Date: January 1st, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe that's why we had such a hard time with Crash as a puppy and such an easy time with Kablam.
alycewilson From: alycewilson Date: January 1st, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Put a blankie over his head and see how long it takes him to remove it. The longer it takes, the dinner he is.
biomekanic From: biomekanic Date: January 1st, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing to add but I strongly suspect that Moose, our German Shepherd/"something with a fat head" (to quote the vote) mix has the dog version of Aspergers Syndrome:
He's very smart about some things (i.e. opening things, knows what it means when I get the lead, etc.), but he's completely clueless about other dogs, to the point where a dog will be aggressive towards him and he winds up getting attacked while he has no clue as to what's going on.

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