Letter to the Editor: There Are No Dumb Dogs

Recently, Paul Burton’s science column branched out into animal behavior. In his column [in volume 23, issue 11], Mr. Burton quoted “dog expert” Kelly Pulley in which she listed the five dumbest dogs. This column is so far off it could be listed as fake news.

Ms. Pulley is neither a dog trainer nor animal behaviorist. Rather, she is a “dog writer.” A review of the webpage cited,, lists titles of some of the articles she has written. They include “Do You Have a Tough Time Finding Dog Lovers To Date” and “I Lost My Husband To His Midlife Crisis, But There Was No Way He Was Taking The Dogs With Him.” By her own admission, she has never worked with dogs; her only experience is through the interaction with dogs she has owned. Living with a few dogs and writing a blog hardly qualifies Ms. Pulley as an expert on either training or behavioral issues.

I have been training and working with dogs for 40 years. During that time, I have worked with more than 8,000 dogs, teaching obedience, tracking, protection, and agility. From this experience, I can assure you that the “dumb dog list” offered by Ms. Pulley is absurd. I’ll go even further to say that there are no dumb dogs. A dog’s ability to learn specific tasks is only limited by breed characteristics and the dog’s human trainer (owner).

It is obvious that Ms. Pulley doesn’t have enough experience to make such an assumption. In the future, it may be beneficial if Mr. Burton were to review the qualifications of his “experts” before disseminating questionable information.

Ron Maloney

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.