Rio, the smartest dog in the world

Labradors don’t have the reputation of being the smartest dogs, but our eight-year-old chocolate lab, Rio, is out to prove ’em wrong. Not only did he figure out how to be rejected by TWO different families as a puppy (for being too energetic) just so he could be found on Craigslist and adopted by us, but he arrived just as our youngest was finishing high school so that he could become the main focus of our attention. Here’s how he demonstrates his intelligence:

  1. He mimics my intonation when I say “Good morning” to people on the running path and does a sort of Scooby Doo “Good morning” of his own.
  2. If we aren’t throwing his ball/frisbee/stick far enough or if we try to do something else when we’re at the beach/park with him, he finds someone else to play with him.
  3. If we aren’t picking up on his body language about whether he needs to eat, go outside, or whatever, he makes us go through a series of questions and will sit down or stand up to show his answer.
  4. If we don’t take the correct exit off the freeway when he thinks he is going to Pt. Isabel, he complains.
  5. When he doesn’t feel like running, he’ll stop to do his business and then turn around and try to trick me into heading home again.

But mostly, he endears himself to us so firmly that we don’t even notice that we plan our weekends and vacations with him in mind.