Intelligent Dogs

From four O’clock on,  Ton sits next to Lady Astor and Aunty Del , who were very laid back all day yesterday,  he is in whatever field they are – his little black ears like mickey mouse ears sticking up above the long summer grasses. He did this with Daisy too. He knows milking time is coming and his job is to bring the cows in. He does not encourage the cows to come in but his presence tells them it is time. (Aunty Del comes in too- she is a house cow in training – John rewards her with tomatoes).  So when they slowly saunter in he is on task high stepping behind them.  Looking all serious.


Ton is a very intelligent dog. Border Collies are notoriously clever.  Though Ton spends as much time as possible with out looking very clever at all.  Then he will do something that makes us  do a double take.

Here is an example:

When Amanda was here she was working in the garden one day and TonTon brought her a really big stick to throw.  A huge stick. That is TOO big, she said. If I throw that we will break something. Bring me a smaller one.  She went back to the weeding. He took the big stick and moved it closer to her feet.  Then crouched again ready for her to throw it. No,  she said,  it is too BIG TonTon, TOO BIG. Get a small stick.  He tilted his head looking at her. Again he took the big  stick and moved it closer.  No.  A small stick, she said, bring me a small stick, TonTon.  He  cocked his head. Staring straight into her eyes. His head on the side.  He went still and watched her.

OK TonTon,  she said (she told me this story later) . She left her weeding, pulled off her gloves and sat down in front of the dog. (She is a teacher you see).  She picked up the big stick and said, This is a big stick TonTon pulling her hands out wide. BIG . She said, shaking her head. We want  NO big sticks. She shook her head again.  No. Then she put the big stick behind her and measuring with her hands she said –  A SMALL stick TonTon,  bring me a Small stick. Small,  she said, again measuring the small space with her hands.  Small.

He cocked his head again. Went still for a moment. Looked sideways.  And then turned and ran off.

She sighed and went back to weeding.

As much as a minute later Ton was by her side again with a really SMALL stick.

Could this be a coincidence?   She  said to me later? She said to Ton.  Did you understand me? He laid the very small stick at her feet then crouched ready to retrieve it. Eyes flashing. They played with that small stick  for ages after that.  And he never brought her a big stick again.

The Cadet loves Little and spent the afternoon getting the bad sticky seed  weeds out of his pen.

BooBoo is also very intelligent. As I was writing the other night Boo was lying on the floor at my feet.( While Ton watches over the entire farm Boo watches me and lies at my feet until the coyotes call then he is the guard dog. )

Anyway he was fast asleep then suddenly he raised his head in surprise,  looked at me, then turned sharply and looked at his tail. Then his bottom farted. Loudly. Oh. He said. Weird. Then cast his head onto the floor again with a thump and was immediately asleep again. Like I said – Intelligent!


Here is Difficult Bobby. Ton is always  in her stall watching her.  Just in case. She is not better yet but is not worse. And is still eating and drinking like a sailor on leave.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love your friend on the farm





54 Comments on “Intelligent Dogs

  1. The Husband *loves* that story about Ton. He finds dogs much nicer and cleverer than people much of the time, which perhaps says something about the people he as to work with… I’m willing to bet Ton understood perfectly well about a Smaller Stick. Difficult looks better than I feared; she doesn’t have that glazed expression of suffering you get with animals who have given up. And Little has decided to live, I think. He’s engaging beautifully with the Cadet.

  2. You’ve got very good dogs – they had a good teacher! I bet Ton wishes he had a heard of cows to bring in for milking, he could round them up one by one. Boo had me LOL 😉

  3. At least Boo didn’t look at you accusingly 🙂 Dare I say it, those bobby’s have earned you miles of 5 star fencing! Laura

  4. Always love hearing about Ton Ton and BooBoo!! They are quite the joy!! Love the picture of Ton and Difficult – such a caregiver. Dogs and their sticks!! When we were in Lugano by the lake, a guy had his dog with him and he would throw the stick way out in the water and his dog would swim way out and fetch his stick!! Bring it back to his master and ready to swim out again!! And crazy Boo!! Did he say “excuse me Mamma”?!!!

  5. Border Collies are beautiful and intelligent..I had one many years ago , she came from Wales….
    Have you found Camera House? Have you found earring?…Itolf my Friend all about it and I feel sure that they will be found

  6. I love the dog stories. I love stick smart. And fart smart. So clever, they are. My heart always goes out to the Cadet too. She is a girl after my own heart.

  7. I love your dogs. Both of them. Ton is in the perfect profession. Those border collies need to work and herd. I can’t wait to see him herd the piglets. And Nanny Boo needs youngsters to tend–or Celis.

  8. “House cow in training” is a very special expression for Aunty Del. Like it.
    The TonTon story with Amanda is really sweet. So nice to read, feel as if I were in the audience to watch… Kudos and applause for you, Celi. Well done.
    Oh, and so nice the Cadet with Little and with the cats, too. She’s like a professional animal cuddler. So lovely.
    Difficult and Ton both fit so nice together all in black and white. Lovingly caring dog. So glad that Difficult is ok so far.
    Your post today is an homage to your dogs. 🙂 They have deserved to be honoured, haven’t they?
    Have a nice and lovely day, Celi.

  9. Aw, poor Boo….. my beagle Doc would growl and bark at his own farts. Of course, I growled and barked too -> they smelled horrible!

  10. Its very fashionable to wear one earring!…..Keep eyes peeled it will turn up!

  11. aaww us anipals always listen and know what you mean. It’s just at times, we have selective hearing – snorts. Love your stories my sweet friend. Happy Friday. XOXO – Bacon

  12. I think that Difficult Bobby’s name should be something sweet and inviting…..maybe Dear Bobby….or Daring Bobby….or Dearheart Bobby. Each time I read Difficult it seems to be imprinting that very thing. Such dear and wonderful animals and all of you take such good care of them. I especially love the story of Ton and the stick(s). I once took care of a friend’s German Shepherd who wanted in and out and in and out for ages one day. I was in the basement taking care of her other animals and the Shepherd came down and was asking to go out Again. I remember just saying to her ‘I don’t have time right now. Go let yourself out.’ Well, that didn’t even seem possible…..that is until I heard the upstairs storm door open and close and I looked out to see her playing in the yard. She had done just what I flippantly told her to do.
    Thanks for sharing your dear animal family with us.

  13. Someday Miss C, when you are gray and wrinkled and moving ever so slowly and have a much smaller little group of friends living with you stories such as these (and so many more from this blog) must be compiled into book form and/or I envision you as Garrison Keillor-esque with your own version of “The Prairie Home Companion”. We must never allow your words to be lost.

  14. I used to let my Border collie lick my cat’s emptied Fancy Feast cat can. But he’d leave it in the hall when he was finished. Barefoot, I stepped on it once then decided he’d have to bring it to me in the kitchen. He would not. After many nights of stand-offs, I tried the old cookie jar trick. “Bring me the can,” I said, opening the cookie jar lid. He peeked around the hallway wall, picked up the little Fancy Feast can, trotted into the kitchen and tossed the can so it rolled to my feet. “Here’s your old can!” he said. “Now let’s have the cookie.”
    I love Ton and I love Boo!

  15. We have all our pets buried in a pretty little cemetery, Cecilia. We will be taking him there today. I’m so happy to know his tree is growing and grateful you so thoughtfully planted it.

    • I feel with you, Equus. When I lost my second cat, I buried it in a Park, because I had no garden. I know it was forbidden, but I could not stand that law that says you have to throw your beloved pet into a container for an animal cadaver utilisation plant, what I did with my first cat. Had been so sad. And with the Park we did it in the early mornings for not being seen. It was April and the floor still was that hard we could not grave very deeply. – But it felt so awesome and comforted me when I passed this place during my walk arounds through that Park. – It’s long long ago now. Blessings to you and to Arthur.

  16. I love dogs too. We have always had dogs and they can surprise you with their intelligence and they can be very funny, and don’t they know it! X

  17. We had a friend many years ago who had a border collie that created a game. Her name was Murphy and she had a rubber toy newspaper. You had to throw the newspaper past a certain point in the apartment and depending on how you threw it, where it landed and if she caught it before it hit the ground, she would assign points to either her or you. You had to see this to believe it, but it was clear as day what she was doing. And if you made a bad throw, she’d look at you like you were an infant, incapable of understanding. Border collies are pretty amazing. And Boo Boo the the Blue Heeler nanny is like no dog I’ve ever seen.

    • I noticed her great haircut too MPR….and even told the dog. who was not really interested……..funny the different things we notice.

  18. My dog is terribly smart and always at my side. However, when it comes to farts, she’s befuddled. She lets one rip and instantly jumps up like she was bitten by a snake. She has no idea what it was and where it came from.
    Where was Camera House?

  19. My Oliver was our farm dog growing up – beagle, hound, lab mix – sneaky smart too. I trained him and taught him how to trill and he had 3 trill commands. He saved my life during a home invasion. He was suppose to be in the barn for the night. There was no fan in the bathroom, so we would leave the window open a crack. I was in the bathroom and heard him outside the window and then he did the third trill command and I knew there was major trouble on the farm. Luckily we had an apartment on the one side of our house with a separate phone line. If he did not alert me I do not think I would be here today.

    Boo’s fart story made me have a good laugh for the day – ha! Your pups are hardworking, loyal, caring, loving, etc. 🙂

    Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  20. That Ton! Ever watchful, ever mindful, pure intelligence behind those soulful eyes…Those calves must have come from the same dairy farm or at least Little and Difficult did from their matching heart marks. No matter they came from, they sure came TO the right place…

  21. The happiest of smiles today… love the Ton story and Boo’s made me laugh out loud… the picture so clearly playing itself in my mind. And I love the Cadet with her lap of cats 🙂

  22. Not only did Ton know exactly what she meant, he was waiting for that explanation. I’m sure in his mind humans are so silly and simple sometimes. Please tell our cadet that her shorter hair is adorable. And because I’m anti-observant, I just noticed that Difficult the Bobby is actually a “Bobbi?” Little, too?

    • A Bobbi yes and Little is a bull calf. So a Bobby.. I might be buying Bobbi the Difficult so hopefully I will bring her back soon to hang out with Little.. c

  23. What an example of smart teaching from Amanda. Smart dogs need smart teachers. Lovely story.

  24. Oh bother!! Late again to be original . . . you will tell The Cadet we ALL like her new haircut, won’t you, and are so glad you two can share stuff even on the quietest of days . . . Dogs: have found the ones ‘in the family’ have been only too eager to show ‘Yes, I can!’ . . . . the languages we speak may take a wee while to line up, but then . . .

  25. Difficult is pretty, and her eyes are bright. Loved the Smart Dog stories. What a blessing is the Cadet. 🙂

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