Can dogs fake behavior?

AliciaD

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#1
Can they learn to fake behavior? (by behavior, I don't necessarily mean a trick, but a communication action- if that makes any sense)

I was just thinking about this when watching movies with canine actors. My initial thinking is just that behaviors can look so similar to the untrained/uninformed eye that it can look like the dog is doing one thing while they are actually doing another. Like, give me a squeaky ball and a camera and I can make Cameron look like a vicious dog about to attack me, but really she's just hyped up and wants the goddamn ball.

But, I'm sure I could also capture and train a yawn, a growl, and a play-bow is trained by a lot of people to a lot of dogs.

When dogs do these behaviors though, do they assign a "feeling" to the behavior. Like if you train a dog to play-bow, does it still feel the same as a play-bow would if they were doing it to initiate play- or do they recognize that doing it on command is different than doing it to communicate?

And do dogs ever fake behavior in order to manipulate other dogs?
 

sparks19

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#2
I don't know about that but I do know they can and will fake having an owie lol.

My old dog Teddy and I were out for a walk and I accidently stepped on his paw. he YELPED like you wouldn't believe and wouldn't put his foot down or anything and OMG I felt so horrible. I had to get him upstairs but couldn't carry him. He took the stairs. hmmm seemed ok.

We got in the apartment and everytime I would look away he would put his foot down but as soon as I looked his way he would lift it again lol. As I was getting him a treat (because I felt bad lol) I looked back at him and he lifted his paw up only this time I noticed he was holding up the wrong foot lol. Very clever... too bad he didn't know the difference between left and right :p
 

RD

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#3
You can capture any behavior. I've captured sneezing, coughing and lip licking and put it on command, but I'm sure you could teach them to fake some more complex behaviors.

It wasn't trained, but I knew a dog who would vomit in order to get attention or be fed. If you didn't rush her meal to her fast enough, she started wagging her tail, got this devious look on her face and puked right in front of you.

Eta: The thing with the play bow... I haven't noticed any of the trained behaviors carry over from interaction with humans to interaction with other dogs. It'd be interesting to find out if anyone else's dogs did, though.
 

Taqroy

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#4
When dogs do these behaviors though, do they assign a "feeling" to the behavior. Like if you train a dog to play-bow, does it still feel the same as a play-bow would if they were doing it to initiate play- or do they recognize that doing it on command is different than doing it to communicate?
I'm not sure if there's a feeling to it but I did teach Mu a play bow and she does it ALL THE TIME. And she hardly ever wants to play. And every dog she's done it around either has a healthy respect for her personal space already (Max and Sadie lol) or doesn't care (Murphy). And I don't remember her doing it before so I don't know if they know that it's different. Basically I'm of no help whatsoever - except to say that Mu throws the behavior all the time and no one reacts. Lol.
 

joce

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#5
No sure if this is what you are going for,more faking illness... but when my ginger who passed several years ago was very young I had stepped on her leg and she learned I babied her. Every time I raised my voice with her she would raise that leg. One time I tried getting her into the lake and she raised that leg up and just stared at me:cool: She did come in eventually but acted pained. Nothing wrong with the leg by the way.
 

lizzybeth727

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#6
When dogs do these behaviors though, do they assign a "feeling" to the behavior. Like if you train a dog to play-bow, does it still feel the same as a play-bow would if they were doing it to initiate play- or do they recognize that doing it on command is different than doing it to communicate?
Yes and no; I think it depends a bit on how you train the behavior whether or not they will learn to do it to communicate.

But I do believe that asking them to do a behavior can change their emotional state. It's the same idea of how if you're feeling sad and you fake a smile, it makes you feel a little better. Similarly, I belive that, for example, cueing a play-bow can make a dog feel more playful.

Luna used to be very DR, and one of the things I did to treat it was to teach her "wave." Lifting a paw is a calming signal for dogs, and I believe that when she was stressed, getting her to lift her paw did make her feel a little better. Other trainers suggest teaching other calming behaviors - I'm drawing a blank and can't think of any right now - but wave was Luna's favorite so that's what we used.
 

~Tucker&Me~

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#7
I think they can definitely fake behaviour... Tucker is the MASTER of pretending to walk casually after he's seen a squirrel (instead of freaking out like he used to) and waiting until he thinks I am not paying attention. Once my guard is down he backs up really suddenly and tries to pull his head out of his collar.

Seriously though, he used to catch me all the time until I figured out the little signs. It's almost like he is being TOO obedient, his ear keeps subtly flicking back and his eyes dart back and forth.... He's so tricky and is completely playing it cool to try and catch me unaware... Jerk.
 

colliewog

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#8
Not really what you're talking about, but an interesting behavior nonetheless.

Dora pretends to pee when I send the group out to pee and she doesn't want to go yet. She knows she can't come in unless she goes, so she squats, looks at me, then comes trotting in. I can tell she didn't urinate because she didn't squat low enough and there was no characteristic tail movement (I checked the sand to verify - no urine). I have to keep sending her out "NO! Go pee!", and after a few more fake squats, she'll finally go. Very odd and have never seen another dog do this before ......
 

Danefied

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#9
And do dogs ever fake behavior in order to manipulate other dogs?
Absolutely!!
Come in to my living room...
Three out of the 4 dogs are snuggled up on the sofas, and between dogs and humans, there's no room left for old man Lunar. He looks around, tries to get eye contact with a human. (We know better.)
He wanders from one sofa to another, nope, definitely no room.
He wanders over to the front window. What's that? A boogey man? In the front yard! Must alert the household!!! Boof, BOOF! Alert, alert!!!

Three dogs jump off the sofas in a rush to go investigate, while Lunar comfortably settles in to a nice, warm, prime sofa spot. :D

He's not my first dog who has done stuff like this either. Had a fox terrorist growing up who would fake out the lab all. the. time. It was hilarious.
 

milos_mommy

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#10
My mom's wheaten terrier faked a sore paw/fake limped...he hurt his paw one time, and we babied him a lot. Then a couple of weeks later, he had a much more minor injury to it, and was holding it up/refusing to walk on it, and we started carrying him around. But when I went into another room, I thought I heard him walking around normally and running/playing, so I creeped back in and peered through the door, and sure enough, he was trotting around perfectly fine, but when he saw me he started limping again.

Then, I sent him outside...a few minutes later yelled "COOKIE" through the open door. I could see him hightail across the back of the house through the window, but when he got to the corner (where I'd usually be waiting by the door, watching) he slowed down and started limping again.
 

NicoleLJ

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#11
The most common manipulation I have seen dogs play on other dogs is when one has an object of desire. In this house usually a ball or bone. Sheena is the master at this. She learned well from her mentor. lol She has done this to every dog ever to come into the home. Whether it was one of her pups, Luka or a visiting dog.

Said dog has a bone(or ball) and Sheena wants it. She will go get a toy or less interesting bone and start playing with it near the other dog. Getting all excited about how wonderful this new object is. Making all sorts of fun sounds. Other dog wonders what is so exciting and leaves their bone to go investigate. Sheena readily hands over her object and then runs over and takes the other one. By the time the first dog realizes what happened Sheena is enjoying her hard won prize.

And no, no other dog but one(when sheena was younger) has ever been able to do the same to her. lol
 

Dizzy

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#12
Dora pretends to pee when I send the group out to pee and she doesn't want to go yet. She knows she can't come in unless she goes, so she squats, looks at me, then comes trotting in. I can tell she didn't urinate because she didn't squat low enough and there was no characteristic tail movement (I checked the sand to verify - no urine). I have to keep sending her out "NO! Go pee!", and after a few more fake squats, she'll finally go. Very odd and have never seen another dog do this before ......
Ahhh ha haha - Bodhi does this :D

Every morning, I let her out with a 'hurry up'... she runs in a circle round the garden squeezes a wee and comes back... I have to say it again and she will go off again and do it properly lol... She proper tries it on though, like a naughty 3 year old would do...

If she really doesn't need to go, she just kind of shoots off, and bounces straight back again lol
 
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#13
Not really what you're talking about, but an interesting behavior nonetheless.

Dora pretends to pee when I send the group out to pee and she doesn't want to go yet. She knows she can't come in unless she goes, so she squats, looks at me, then comes trotting in. I can tell she didn't urinate because she didn't squat low enough and there was no characteristic tail movement (I checked the sand to verify - no urine). I have to keep sending her out "NO! Go pee!", and after a few more fake squats, she'll finally go. Very odd and have never seen another dog do this before ......
Missy does this, but only the first time I let her out in the morning. I make sure she pees before she can come inside, but she knows that after she comes inside, she gets breakfast, so she'll fake-pee to get inside faster.
 

elegy

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#14
Then, I sent him outside...a few minutes later yelled "COOKIE" through the open door. I could see him hightail across the back of the house through the window, but when he got to the corner (where I'd usually be waiting by the door, watching) he slowed down and started limping again.
See, I don't know that I buy that as "faking" but instead think that the reinforcement of the "cookie" call was overriding his awareness of pain.

Luce NEVER limped at the vet's office, through two knee surgeries. I dropped her off for major orthopedic surgery and she wasn't limping. But she limped at home. I think her excitement and anxiety and probably adrenaline just overrode the awareness she had of her pain/injury.

Steve fake pees to get me to stop nagging him, though :rolleyes:
 

Dogs6

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#15
Absolutely!!
Come in to my living room...
Three out of the 4 dogs are snuggled up on the sofas, and between dogs and humans, there's no room left for old man Lunar. He looks around, tries to get eye contact with a human. (We know better.)
He wanders from one sofa to another, nope, definitely no room.
He wanders over to the front window. What's that? A boogey man? In the front yard! Must alert the household!!! Boof, BOOF! Alert, alert!!!

Three dogs jump off the sofas in a rush to go investigate, while Lunar comfortably settles in to a nice, warm, prime sofa spot. :D

He's not my first dog who has done stuff like this either. Had a fox terrorist growing up who would fake out the lab all. the. time. It was hilarious.
Scamp does this when he wants fudges bone. And Fudge falls for it every single time! Fudge could be Lying at the door with his bone and be able to see that there is nothing but he always has to stand up and have that one bark. As soon as he stands up Scamp runs in and grabs the bone because he knows I won't let fudge harass him once he has it lol.
 
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#16
Tallulah does the fake pee thing :rofl1:

Kharma . . . oh that one was jobbing poor Shiva from the very beginning.

There was one favored spot on the sofa, where the sunlight streamed through (and Charley hadn't worn the cushions down to the springs). Once Kharma discovered the whole cow thang, if Shiva had the spot and she wanted it, she'd charge into the bedroom and bark and roar like she did at the cows. Shiva, naturally, would come flying in to see what was going on, Kharma would slip out through the other door and claim the spot.

Once Shiva noticed Kharma was gone she'd tear back into the living room, take one look at Kharma in HER spot, then go back to the bedroom and stand on the bed and bark.

Nothing.

Kharma wasn't buying it, lol.

Shiva would come back into the living room, see Kharma laying there unconcerned, huff, and then go to the OTHER bedroom and raise hell at the window.

Still nothing . . .
 

Hillside

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#17
Not really what you're talking about, but an interesting behavior nonetheless.

Dora pretends to pee when I send the group out to pee and she doesn't want to go yet. She knows she can't come in unless she goes, so she squats, looks at me, then comes trotting in. I can tell she didn't urinate because she didn't squat low enough and there was no characteristic tail movement (I checked the sand to verify - no urine). I have to keep sending her out "NO! Go pee!", and after a few more fake squats, she'll finally go. Very odd and have never seen another dog do this before ......

Saga fake pees, too. It's mostly when it is raining out, but she does it when it is snowy, too. And sometimes when there are squirrels.
 

RD

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#18
This is a super old video, of Eve and my dad's Dakota when I first brought Eve home. Dakota had Eve's favorite toy and Eve realized that she couldn't get it by just running in and grabbing it, so she switched tactics and decided to try to distract him. I wouldn't say she was faking a lot of behavior, but it definitely showcases a penchant for manipulation, even where other dogs are concerned.

 

misfitz

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#19
Sienna has done the fake limping too...weeks after I accidentally stepped on her foot. She wanted to leave the dog park, and I wasn't budging, so she walked around to all of the *other* people at the dog park, holding up the paw, limping pitifully and telling them all about how terrible an owner I am. :D Naturally as soon as we left the park she was doing her normal 3 ft vertical leaps.

I'm trying to capture a sneeze from her - I rewarded it first when we went out the door for a morning walk. So now she sneezes repeatedly *every morning* hoping for a reaction from me. I've lost track of how long this has been going on for, several months at least. She will do it on cue, but only if she actually has to sneeze. No faking that one!

She also does a fake flea scratch, and I know a trainer who works his GSD in movies and TV, who taught a convincing snarl. The dog is playing though - it's the kind of snarl/growl you'd get while playing tug. And the fake pee - leg lifting trick is taught by targeting so I'm sure the dogs don't equate it with actual peeing. I've seen female dogs trained to do that one.
 

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