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  #11  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:07 AM
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I don't often like to say my dogs have a "desire to please", because I think it sets other dogs up for huge failure, and plays into some beliefs that people need to get away from. "My dog should want to please me" is a regular justification for not using rewards, expecting dogs to do things without actually training them, and punishing dogs who are 'wrong'. People want to believe that all dogs should just want to do everything they ask of them.

Meg will work for a short time with just praise and love as long as the 'work' isn't too scary for her. Gusto will work forever for most types of work, because doing stuff is very self-rewarding for him. That along with pairing my pleasure to rewards makes him come across as a dog who works to please me. I think he's getting a lot of pleasure from it himself though.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:17 AM
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I don't think dogs have a real desire to please because I don't think they understand much beyond what pleases them. If pleasing us brings pleasant things to them, then they learn to please us in certain ways. I don't think dogs are born with an understanding of human emotions, it's something that they learn to read as they spend years living with people. My dad and grandpa used to call older dogs "professional dogs" because they can often read and respond to every little visual or verbal cue we give them, consciously or not.

Everyone says BCs are eager to please, but they're really not any more eager to please than any other dog. They are just workaholics, and bred to be that way. Lots of breeds are. Activity and interaction of any kind is often self-rewarding to BCs, especially if they feel like they're accomplishing something.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:22 AM
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I don't think dogs have a real desire to please because I don't think they understand much beyond what pleases them. If pleasing us brings pleasant things to them, then they learn to please us in certain ways. I don't think dogs are born with an understanding of human emotions, it's something that they learn to read as they spend years living with people. My dad and grandpa used to call older dogs "professional dogs" because they can often read and respond to every little visual or verbal cue we give them, consciously or not.
I was trying to think how to say this and now I don't have to. Thanks for enabling my laziness?
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:54 AM
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I don't think dogs work to please people. I'm not so sure they are capable of the empathy needed to know they are making you feel happy. They can obviously see your behavior change when you are happy, and they might like that, but I don't think they can truly understand how you feel. I do think some dogs find praise and petting rewarding, and some find you getting excited rewarding. I also think some dogs truly enjoy working, they find solving problems fun and enjoy working with people, whatever the task, they find the work itself fun. For instance Tucker was taught to high five, we ask him to high five all of the time, he hasn't gotten a food reward for high fiving in over a year, the most he gets is petting but usually just cheering and good boy! Tucker LIKES high fiving, he finds the action and the excitement around the action rewarding. He also doesn't see it as a lot of work, it's super easy for him to do, he doesn't even have to get up. So there's really no down side to do it. It's also not something that is ever used to prevent him from getting his way like a sit or down or come might be. It's not like he sees a dog he wants to go see and I start telling him to high five, I'd tell him to sit. High five is always low pressure, never difficult to follow. If you had a dog who felt that way about every command or actually enjoyed challenges you'd have one easy to motivate dog.
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  #15  
Old 07-16-2012, 10:36 AM
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I think dogs are more like people than they get credit for. In general I think the human race is a bit egotistical in thinking they have the market on every emotion under the sun and animals have nothing.

Some people are great at reading other people's emotions, others are pretty terrible. Some dogs are great, some don't have a clue. Some people know how to react to the emotions they are reading, some people can read them, but don't know how to react, same with dogs and some are just oblivious to everything going on around them, people and dogs alike.

That said, my last dog could certainly read me, that was probably the tightest bond i've ever had with a dog in my life. but concerning the training we did, she was certainly more concerned with herself than with me. Outside of training for sports or "training" she was on with me and it was kind of weird.

My current two couldn't be more opposite. One is oblivous usually to what is happening and is mostly concerned about herself. She works to get that ball, and when there isn't one, she works in hopes that I give her one from somehwere. My other is in tune on off the field and off, always aware and making me happy brings always seems to be on her list of things to do. I was just starting to think that dogs don't do anything for "us" just for themselves and we manipulate it through training, then I got her and found out I don't give dogs enough credit.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
I don't often like to say my dogs have a "desire to please", because I think it sets other dogs up for huge failure, and plays into some beliefs that people need to get away from. "My dog should want to please me" is a regular justification for not using rewards, expecting dogs to do things without actually training them, and punishing dogs who are 'wrong'. People want to believe that all dogs should just want to do everything they ask of them.
Quote:
Meg will work for a short time with just praise and love as long as the 'work' isn't too scary for her. Gusto will work forever for most types of work, because doing stuff is very self-rewarding for him. That along with pairing my pleasure to rewards makes him come across as a dog who works to please me. I think he's getting a lot of pleasure from it himself though.
Quote:
I don't think dogs have a real desire to please because I don't think they understand much beyond what pleases them. If pleasing us brings pleasant things to them, then they learn to please us in certain ways. I don't think dogs are born with an understanding of human emotions, it's something that they learn to read as they spend years living with people. My dad and grandpa used to call older dogs "professional dogs" because they can often read and respond to every little visual or verbal cue we give them, consciously or not.

Everyone says BCs are eager to please, but they're really not any more eager to please than any other dog. They are just workaholics, and bred to be that way. Lots of breeds are. Activity and interaction of any kind is often self-rewarding to BCs, especially if they feel like they're accomplishing something.
Quote:
I don't think dogs work to please people. I'm not so sure they are capable of the empathy needed to know they are making you feel happy.
You guys make it easy for me. I agree with all that. I don't think dogs are sophisticated enough to think it all through logically...the way they'd have to, in order be cognitively aware of the things we desire, how we feel (empathy and complex understanding. I don't think dogs have the ability) so they can act accordingly.

I do most definitely think they have a much richer emotional life that people give them credit for and love for us. But to do things solely for the purpose of pleasing us....hmmm...no.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:12 AM
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Elsie's favorite thing is making me laugh. I don't know why she loves it, but she does. It sucks, because she'll act up and do ridiculous stuff to get me going, and it works.
I have one of those too. He finds laughter (mine or anyone’s) really rewarding for some reason, and has developed some lovely obnoxious behaviors because of it.

I don’t know that dogs want to please in a purely altruistic sense that they just want us to be happy. I think its that they have figured out that happy mom or dad = good things for them. Some figure this out better than others
It makes sense when you look at how dogs evolved alongside man - those who worked with man got the better food/shelter/treatment and were selected to breed. Those who were in any way “uncooperative” were discarded.

It is a peeve of mine though this attitude that dogs should automatically just want to please us.
A while back a gal I knew from another forum decided to go with some rather questionable training tactics. She noted that after being “corrected” the dog was much more affectionate and clearly was thanking her for finally assuming the role of leader.
Sadly not everyone understands that appeasement does not equal affection.
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2012, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
I have one of those too. He finds laughter (mine or anyone’s) really rewarding for some reason, and has developed some lovely obnoxious behaviors because of it.

I don’t know that dogs want to please in a purely altruistic sense that they just want us to be happy. I think its that they have figured out that happy mom or dad = good things for them. Some figure this out better than others
It makes sense when you look at how dogs evolved alongside man - those who worked with man got the better food/shelter/treatment and were selected to breed. Those who were in any way “uncooperative” were discarded.


It is a peeve of mine though this attitude that dogs should automatically just want to please us.
A while back a gal I knew from another forum decided to go with some rather questionable training tactics. She noted that after being “corrected” the dog was much more affectionate and clearly was thanking her for finally assuming the role of leader.
Sadly not everyone understands that appeasement does not equal affection.

Exactly this.

Yeah, it is such a disservice to dogs and so rampant that people think they should because they "DO"....want to please us and when they don't, the poor dogs get blamed and punished for being less than what they "SHOULD" be.
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"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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  #19  
Old 07-16-2012, 11:41 AM
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IMHO humans who feel dogs or cats don't have a desire to please, probably don't seriously believe other humans don't either. How cynical do we need to be really???

I know when the dog runs to me on the trail with that big doggie grin on her face and plants herself beside me, that we're sharing the moment together. Pleasing someone else is a choice. She could be running through the woods and not even acknowledge me. But she is choosing to sit beside me. I didn't teach her that.

When the cats chirrrrup and reach out a paw or climb up my chest to rub and lick my face that's mutual affection absolutely. They aren't grubbing food and I haven't called them, it's just spontaneous acts of love through the day...that's why we have companion animals
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:19 PM
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It's not being cynical Kaydee. It's about animal behavior and the fact that animals have less complicated brains. No one said they don't like to be companionable or that they don't love or have many similar emotions to humans. But a lot of animal behaviorists/scientists don't see any evidence of the sophisticated, complex cognition that it would take to have the empathy to see and be aware of what others are thinking or feeling. Therefore, it would make it difficult for them to do things for the purpose of pleasing someone else. UNLESS...there is an subconscious, ulterior motive. And that would be self preservation, survival (how dogs evolved etc)...the ones that acted the way humans like, were the ones to thrive, survive and reproduce. Whether or not they see deeply enough into what makes us tick....in ORDER to care about what we're feeling and adjust their behavior accordingly isn't something likely to be proven. But there really isn't evidence of that. In fact, one of the tests they came up with which they think shows an animal has self awareness is the ability to recognize one's self in a mirror. Dogs do not. Chimps do. (for example) At a certain age, humans do, but not at a very young age. So, they think one has to have a sense of self first before they can have real empathy. They may prove something else at some point along the way. And maybe proof isn't all she wrote. We do see things that seem to defy a lot of science. So, who knows what's really in their minds? Maybe more than we think. But I think bottom line: They do things ultimately...to please themselves. It's how they evolved.
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