Way back, before hubby and I decided on a PWD, we had done research on the breed. Lots and lots of research. We knew about the high energy level, the kind of coat they had, their fondness for water. We knew well in advance about their need to have something constantly in their mouth, their agility, and of course, their very playful personality.
We also read up on training. Every piece of literature on PWD's alluded to the fact that this breed was so smart, that you constantly had to outwit them before they outwitted you!! We read that because of their brilliance, you always had to assert your place in the hierarchy, because, if a PWD sensed you were not in charge, well then they'd walk all over you and completely destroy your home and environment.
Well, anyone who's been reading my blog since July, will know the struggles I've faced with this adorable little pup (9 months) of mine. They'll know how I took him to puppy school, gave him lots and lots of toys to keep him from getting bored, and I give him tons of exercise. (I don't know this for a fact but I suspect that dogs that live in the country only get half the exercise of this city pooch!)
So, you can imagine my frustration when, at every turn, this pup constantly outwits me. We've gone through 8 leashes, hundreds of dollars worth of toys, shoes, clothes, bed comforters, sofa seats and cushions. I still can't walk with him without him pulling me down the street (he's over 50lbs), without him jumping in front of me pulling the leash, and without him shredding the leash with his lovely bright white well brushed teeth.
So, like any PWD owner, I turned to a friend who also has one. Hers is older, so I always look to her for advise as to how to break certain bad habits. So there I was, sipping a tea and venting my frustrations over the phone, when I said to my friend, "Well, if I'm going to be outsmarted on a daily basis, at least it's by one of the top 10 smartest dogs in the world!" Hmmm, over the phone I heard a noise that sounded suspiciously like my friend spitting out a liquid, choking, and then laughing hysterically. I did not like the sound of this at all. After she got herself together, she said, "I hate to break it to you, but PWD's are not in the top 10....not even in the top 75"! I couldn't believe it! Everything I had read told me the opposite. Then my wonderful PWD-loving friend pointed out that the only lists or magazines that place PWDs in the top 10 are actual PORTUGUESE WATER DOG MAGAZINES AND LISTS. Fearing the worst, I opened up a couple of links she sent me. There it was, in black and white...every list not sponsored by the PWD association listed Boarder Collies first, followed by Poodles second, etc. down the list it went. List after list, it was always almost the same. Then after about the 6th or 7th list, I went to the PWD site. There it was, in black and white, Boarder Collies and Poodles were always #1 and #2.....but somehow, PWDs had sneaked onto the list at #10.
After the shock wore off, I realized that I was not getting outwitted by a genius, no, no, no far from it. This university educated snob was being outsmarted by a moron (but I mean it in the nicest possible way ;)) All this time, I accredited his wily ways to his smarts. Now I realize that I'm just a bad trainer with a slow learner!!!
Oh well, I'm off to buy him yet another leash and go on yet another disastrous walk. And, maybe on the road I'll stop by a magazine store and pick up a PWD magazine....not to learn anything new about the breed, just to make ME feel better about my brilliant dog that's smarter than me...