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Old 10-15-2006, 04:59 AM
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Delisay Delisay is offline
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Smile So much for the '30 second' rule...

It's said that dogs must be told off for a wrongdoing within 30 seconds or they won't know what you are talking about (well, very quickly afterwards anyway). To that I say "Fooey!!" because...

One day I came home from college around 5pm and my mum told me (out of earshot of our GSD) that that morning she (the dog, not my mum) had chased a wild baby bunny up and down the back fence, caught it, and eaten all of it except its head... . My mum, being a softy like me, was not happy about this!!

Anyway... my mum asked me to take the dog down the back as usual to do her number 2s, because we had an area of scrubland beyond the back fence which was her spot. I went half way with her, then stopped, folded my arms disapprovingly, and in full sentence 'human speak', said "I know what you did this morning. I'm not going with you - you can go by yourself!"

Well she went bananas to humble and endear herself. She ran up to me, ears flat, crouching so low and wagging so hard that she practically whipper-snipped the grass behind her butt. This was totally new behaviour for her. You know how it is as a dog owner..??..I have absolutely NO doubt that she knew EXACTLY what I was talking/thinking about, and that I didn't approve of what she had done 8 hours earlier!!

D.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:46 AM
cindr
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It does seem as if they know don't they?

Yrs ago, our dog Pepsi Cola Todd (gsd) rated on the other dogs, Mechien' (gsd) Dutchess (rottie)

The two of them Dutch and Mechein had taken off on a thursday. Early in the morning. I looked every where for them. Dam dogs any way. Well I called the animal control officer if he had heard anything. He said yup! They got into the neighbors rabbits. Hey you know the denial came right out. Oh no not my dogs they would not do that! Well he said they did.

Well we would find these two 3 miles away and boy were they tired, I put them in their crates and that was where they stayed.

Well the next morning Pepsi would take off. I said no not you too? Well she did not go too far. Then ran right back to the house. She was not my dog but my husbands. Well anyhow she had something in her mouth.

Pepsie drop it. Hell no not for you your in denial! She dropped it, the thing in her mouth at my husbands feet. Then turned and looked at the other two dogs in the crate, with a angry look! They did this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well guess what she dropped? Thats right a rabbets head! Boy did I eat 'HUMBLE PIE FOR A WHILE"!
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:07 AM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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I went half way with her, then stopped, folded my arms disapprovingly, and in full sentence 'human speak', said "I know what you did this morning. I'm not going with you - you can go by yourself!"

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Well she went bananas to humble and endear herself. She ran up to me, ears flat, crouching so low and wagging so hard that she practically whipper-snipped the grass behind her butt. This was totally new behaviour for her. You know how it is as a dog owner..??..I have absolutely NO doubt that she knew EXACTLY what I was talking/thinking about, and that I didn't approve of what she had done 8 hours earlier!!
Look at thoes two quotes. You describe your body language and then her's. This is what she is responding to. Your body language is a predictor to her of an unfavorable response from you which she is responding to appeasingly. This has nothing to do with her remembering what occured 8 hours ago or connecting what she did (eating the rabbit) with your displeasure. 30 seconds is way too late for a dog to connect a response to it's behavior. 3 seconds and after that, they're onto something else and will connect the punishment with what is going on at the present time. Reward or punishment needs to come within about 3 seconds. Dogs live in the present. They do not have the ability to move forward and backward through time.

So, when you are seeing this appeasing body language, you are mistaking it for guilt or apology from your dog, attaching human thinking onto the dog. And you're mistaking that the dog has made an association between the behavior of eating the rabbit and your disapproval. It is purely the dog reacting to your body language which is unpleasant to the dog or has in the past been associated with punishment, even though perhaps mild.

It is gross. My Lab use to hunt and kill wild rabbits like mad. She'd bring back these killed or half killed babies. It was awful. Sometimes she'd throw up huge amounts of gross, half digested mess. My friend's dog did the same time. We use to play a game called, "Name that Carcass."
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:57 AM
cindr
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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
Look at thoes two quotes. You describe your body language and then her's. This is what she is responding to. Your body language is a predictor to her of an unfavorable response from you which she is responding to appeasingly. This has nothing to do with her remembering what occured 8 hours ago or connecting what she did (eating the rabbit) with your displeasure. 30 seconds is way too late for a dog to connect a response to it's behavior. 3 seconds and after that, they're onto something else and will connect the punishment with what is going on at the present time. Reward or punishment needs to come within about 3 seconds. Dogs live in the present. They do not have the ability to move forward and backward through time.

So, when you are seeing this appeasing body language, you are mistaking it for guilt or apology from your dog, attaching human thinking onto the dog. And you're mistaking that the dog has made an association between the behavior of eating the rabbit and your disapproval. It is purely the dog reacting to your body language which is unpleasant to the dog or has in the past been associated with punishment, even though perhaps mild.

It is gross. My Lab use to hunt and kill wild rabbits like mad. She'd bring back these killed or half killed babies. It was awful. Sometimes she'd throw up huge amounts of gross, half digested mess. My friend's dog did the same time. We use to play a game called, "Name that Carcass."
Yes you do have a point. I truly never looked at it that way. Thanx for the advise. I too need to learn more. Thanx
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:47 AM
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Well, it is sooooo easy to humanize our dogs because we are so close and bonded to them and have been for thousands and thousands of years. It is natural to project our way of thinking onto them. And its true that they do share some of our emotions according to some recent scientific evidence. (although as pet owners, we don't really need that evidence.) However, their emotions that they share with us (joy, sadness, dejection, jealousy etc) have a twist on them from ours because they have a different way of processing information, different values, a different perspective than we do. They also recognize many of our human signals, bodily and audibly. So, we get a little taste of this recognition and signs of their understanding a lot about us and then we run with it like the Olympian running with the torch. LOL. So, while it is natural to project our way of thinking onto dogs, we need to temper it with learning about what is thought to be how dogs think based on science, studies, observations, experts in the field; applied behaviorists and ethologists etc. Of course, no one can know truly what is in a dog's mind. But there are people who have a better idea than others.....people who make it their career, their life to study this stuff.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:36 PM
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Just a question Doberluv..

Say you come home from work and find..I dont know....toilet paper shredded all over your house....and the dog is "acting" like he knows he is going to be in trouble. Do they know WHY they are going to be in trouble? For shredding paper all over the house? Or is it our reaction when we walk in the house that makes tells them they are in trouble?

I know when potty training, if you find a puddle, it makes absolutely no sense to do the whole "stick their nose in it" and put them outside etc. You have to catch them IN the act and then put them outside. So you just clean it up.

Im not trying to be a smartass or argue, just curious as to your opinion.

Personally I just clean up whatever mess Katie has made (which is very rare), b/c I dont think she is going to know why Im scolding her if the deed is done.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:49 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Its your reaction from how you walk in the house and see the mess that makes them act like they know they are in trouble
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:08 PM
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Or is it our reaction when we walk in the house that makes tells them they are in trouble?
Yes, and even people who come in and give no reaction will often tell stories of how their dog looks guilty and he "knows" he did "wrong." This response from the dog is caused by a history of a lot of use of corrections, scoldings, whatever... or some disapproving message from the owner upon his return home....frequently enough that it has created a predictor to the dog....an association between the owner coming home and a bad thing happening. This is one of the side effects of aversive punishment. It gets misplaced easily and confuses the dog.

I had a boyfriend whose Min Pin got in the garbage can while he was gone among other mischief that dogs do when they're lonely and bored. He'd come home and not always, but often enough see something to his displeasure. He'd scold the dog or be scary in some way to the little dog. It wasn't always harsh, but it was not a pleasant greeting at all. He said that the dog knows she did wrong because she looks guilty and goes away from the area. And she knows she did wrong because she only gets into the garbage while he's gone, never when he's around. So he concluded (incorrectly) that the dog had human morals and knew the difference between right and wrong to our value system. And that since the dog looked guilty and avoided him upon his return, she knew she did wrong.

Here is my take based on my own understanding of dogs: The dog gets into the garbage when he's gone because it is safe to get into the garbage and it's reinforcing because there is food there or some other fun thing. (shredding paper) That's as far as it goes. The behavior therefore is repeated, but only when it's safe. Dogs are opportunists and they do what works. Its either safe (for survival, originally) or it isn't. Period. When he's home, getting into the garbage has proved to be unsafe. So she stays out of the garbage when he's around. He has not taught the dog to stay out of the garbage. On the contrary....she's had many reinforcing rewards for getting into the garbage.

So the dog has not been taught that getting into the garbage is not beneficial. It is. Its rewarding (reinforcing) and safe when the owner is gone. Its not that she has learned to stay out of the garbage period....only when its unsafe. Dogs are not as complex as people sometimes think they are. They do not think like we do.

You have two things here which cause behavior to be repeated....a reinforcer (the garbage) and a safe environment. These outweigh (or work better) than the owner occasionally catching the dog in the garbage and scolding or scolding after the fact, which does nothing for this garbage behavior. Positive experiences, reinforcment is a strong motivator to get in the garbage. It has been timely and consistant. Punishment has done no good because it has come inconsistantly, ill-timed and sporatically.....without any connection to the behavior.

The look of guilt (fear) comes from the dog associating the return of the owner and something perhaps scary about the owner, his body language, his voice, his angry demeanor at having seen the garbage all over the place. She is reacting to this. If it has happened a few times in the past, this sets up a predictor for the dog. Owner comes home equals possible punishment, anger...not a good time. Aversives cause a dog to distrust her owner.

The best thing to do is keep stuff like that out of reach....manage it. If the dog gets into something he shouldn't, just clean it up and perhaps work on a "leave it" lesson. Some dogs aren't ready to be left unsupervised for long periods....they're still learning our ways. Chewing paper, getting into garbage, chewing couches....its all fun to a dog. Period. There's no morals, there's no deep understanding of our values. There's no "right" or "wrong" in the sense that we know right and wrong. There's safe, unsafe, it works or it doesn't (to their advantage) for survival, for just plain having good stuff in their lives.

Its up to us to teach them what they are capable of, managing other situations and behavior and remembering that they don't think like we do. They're smart, but they're not that smart. LOL.

I am through with that boyfriend, btw. He was a jerk all the way around. He put this little dog in the garbage can one time for hours as punishment for her getting into the garbage hours earlier. What a dumb a**.

Last edited by Doberluv; 10-15-2006 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:22 PM
cindr
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Yes what you are saying makes a load of sense. I know that when we work the dogs here, they work on us and our demenor. I guess as a pumped up kid on candy I would say.

Just the other day, Miss Fritzy was strung all up in nots due to hyperness, I realised that it was because of me. I was strung up too.

I brought this subject up to the vet since she has been placed on meds, I told him how hyper she was, and asked if it was the meds. He said the meds were to calm her down and would make her drowsie. No matter I now know I was the benifactor in her behavior.
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Old 10-15-2006, 03:37 PM
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Yes, they do read our subtle signs. But they also have their own individual personalities too just like we do. Some people are more nervous by nature than others or more exciteable. Its probably a little of everything.
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