So much for the '30 second' rule...

Discussion in 'Dog Stories' started by Delisay, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Delisay

    Delisay New Member

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    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... :yikes: :mad:. 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.
     
  2. cindr

    cindr Guest

    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"!
     
  3. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    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." :yikes:
     
  4. cindr

    cindr Guest

    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;)
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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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.
     
  6. moxiegrl

    moxiegrl New Member

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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. :D

    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.
     
  7. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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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
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    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: Oct 15, 2006
  9. cindr

    cindr Guest

    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.:)
     
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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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.
     
  11. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Dunno. But I do just talk to mine. Just like I would to another human being - well, not quite. I expect my dogs to be quicker to understand me than most people I run into ;) It's very rewarding when they work and play in sync with you, often anticipating what you want, even if it's something out of the ordinary. Maybe I take it too much for granted. Its just the way I've always related to my animals :)
     
  12. Delisay

    Delisay New Member

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    Oh dear Doberluv... It's fine to speculate from a distance and thanks for your thoughts, but I have to tell you that you are largely incorrect in this case. I was 'joking' with her and she responded accordingly. I was not angry and she was not remotely afraid of me (then or ever). Yes, body language was a relevant component of the overall communicative exchange. However, she would NEVER normally behave that way at all (because she was feisty and independent - far from humble) and nevermind in response to such a common, everyday human gesture. (If dogs ordinarily responded that way they'd be leaping around all day long responding to every snippet of human gesticulation, just in case it was about them.)

    But even if you were wholly right, such a precise and appropriate one-off response, based on nothing more than subtle variations in body language by a different species, then becomes an even more remarkable act of insight (which many humans I know couldn't pull off!).

    From what I've read of your views I'm sure that I won't be able to 'explain' this story to you in a way which will satisfy you; I just "know" what happened, so we will likely have to agree to disagree. There is no doubt in my mind that dogs are vastly more perceptive and intelligent than you personally give them credit for. The concept that they are mere '3 second reflex idiots' is contradicted both by formal research and by the long heritage of everyday experience by millions of dog owners.

    (Remember as well that "time" is a human conceptual construct which does not exist in 'reality'. We are not actually moving 'forward' or 'backward' in it. Things aint that simple...but anyoldwho...)

    Del.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Point taken. I wasn't there. I was going by words on the page and how I interpretted or misinterpretted them.

    I do not believe that dogs have the same kind of knowlege or our sense about right and wrong and don't know way after the fact that what they did a long time ago is what their owner is referrencing or gesturing about. I do think dogs, to some extent share in a sense of humor of sorts. At least they're very playful and seem to enjoy certain antics and enjoy our laughter and silliness too. The two of us, the two species are both rather paedomorphs. If your gestures brought on a reaction from her which she previously had been reinforced for....more fun, silliness, games, laughing (stuff dogs like) then that too could explain her body language, her perhaps "mock" appeasement, something dogs do in play anyhow.

    From my understanding of behavior, I have come to the shared belief of many behavioral scientists that dogs are not as complex as they are often made out to be (as in Disney's Lassie...that really did a number on peoples' misguided perception of dogs) and in some cases more complex than sometimes thought. However, understanding our morals our value system and drawing a conclusion about right or wrong how we perceive it.....No.

    We do have a conept called time. (this is not the point whether time is a human concept) The point is that we understand and remember and connect things which happened some time ago (some time ago being the way our brains own this concept). We apply things, life experiences consciously to our future. We muse about the future. Dogs, it is thought and demonstrated by science do not.

    I'm sorry if my take on the fact that dogs don't feel guilty hours after the fact or even understand what you meant at that time was not what you meant or wanted to hear. I'll shut up from here on with this thread...but not on every thread mind you. :(
     
  14. moxiegrl

    moxiegrl New Member

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    I love reading your opinions Doberluv...which is why I asked you specifically ;)

    I totally agree with you. Luckily Katie always associates us coming home with LOTS of luvins and attention. Its the highlight of our day coming home and having her SOOO excited to see us. I will say I believe that dogs can miss you while your gone, b/c shes spastic when we come home. (or maybe shes just spastic b/c of the fuss we make over her when we get home)

    Do you think dogs have a sense of time? Every day at the appropiate time, Katie will go to the front door to wait for Aaron to come home. Even on Sunday when he gets off at 3 about 4 o'clock Katie goes to the front door to keep an eye out.
     
  15. Delisay

    Delisay New Member

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    Thanks Doberluv... All interesting and nice to chat with someone with obvious smarts and deep curiosity, even if we currently disagree on a couple of aspects. (...snuck in that little "the fact that..." ...thought I wouldn't notice...? Naughty!;))

    Moxie, dogs have an 'internal clock' like humans and most animals, which can be surprisingly accurate. However, dogs (and humans and other animals to varying degrees) also have a capacity for 'perception at a distance' - the concept of knowing when the owner makes the decision to come home. As a challenge to the mainstream / old school / reductionist / 'suck all the fun out of things' views(!), you might enjoy reading books by the scientist/biologist Rupert Sheldrake, who has studied these things formally and extensively in various animals. It's fascinating and quite uplifting.

    Del.
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    ROFLOL!

    Oh! I have to get those books. I love stuff like that. Yes, its amazing. Not only my dogs know when its meal time and show it, but my horses would come up to the barn at exactly 4:00p.m. (feeding time in winter) and about 6:00 in summer (unless I was riding) They just knew. In the am, they didn't know exactly when they'd eat because it varied a little more. But when I woke up and started milling around in the kitchen, making coffee (the arena and barn were right out back and close to the house) they'd start nickering and standing directly across from the big kitchen window and stare at me. LOL. What a kick.

    It is so fascinating how so many dogs know ahead of time when their owners are coming home, even when its not regular. Now that is a curious phenomenon.

    Oh Moxie! There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that they miss us when we're gone. They are so bonded to us and sociable. They get lonely and depressed and have are richly endowed with emotions.

    Well, glad we cleared up all that. LOL. Sometimes, not only do we all have different ideas and opions, but sometimes we have similar or even exactly the same opinions but we can't read and write on the Internet. At least it appears I can't. I get so many things messed up.
     
  17. cindr

    cindr Guest

    Yes you are right! It all depends on the situation. I know my self I can get hyper and excitable at times. Just like tonight, I could have eat my husband up for dinner. He can for some reason crawl under my skin, and it is not a good feeling. So yeah if a human can rub another human the wrong way, what do we do to our animals? When we are out of contex and or proper deminor?

    I can say this my mentor trainer always instructed us not to ever train when we are angry and or upset. That it just causes the dog confusion, and you can lose everything you taught the dog. With in seconds. Why? When we are angry or upset we may take it out on the dogs, by not realising it.

    I know for fact if this were the case for me, I would not even acknowlege or do anything with any of the dogs here. I, personally would not want to do anything out of the ordinary and take it out on my beloved dog. This is a wonderful topic, and I beleive that we all can learn from this subject. Especially me. It just takes someone to take the time and explain it in a clear and understandable fashion. Thanx Doberluv
     
  18. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Yes, and sometimes even if we don't take it out on the dogs, our being upset can make them uneasy and wonder what's wrong. Something terrible is about, but what. Of course, that's life and I think our dogs are very adaptable to a lot of our weirdness. But absolutely.....when training, its a huge mitake to even do anything when you're in a lousy mood. I too, skip it all together if I'm not up for it. And too, if I sense the dog is not into it at all, I'll just put it off till another time. Training needs to be fun and if its not, it won't work.
     
  19. cindr

    cindr Guest

    Doberluv: On e quick question for you? I have this little female pup. Boy she is a handful, which is good. Now the only serious problem I have with her, and it is intense at that for a 3 month old pup.

    Ckicki ( Chikeria) is seriously dog aggressive. A very strong aggression. So this is the areas I am working on her:

    1) Not feed her with the others, she is food aggressive
    2) When I see her aggression and or attitude I walk up calmly and say Chicki NO. I then take the time to devert her attention on something else.
    3) Never leave her and the other pups together unattended.
    4) I do not put any type of collars on the pups at this age, and refuse to put a choke collar on her or any type of harsh collar. So what would you suggest, as far as a collar?

    Now I have had a load of dogs in my day, and all well bred and trained. I just personally have not seen a young 12 week old pup to be as intense as she is in a dog fight. I have seen an arguement a tuffle but not a fight to want to hurt another dog as Chicki has done already and shown. She is so intense that she does not want to let go. And when she does she struts around and says LOOK at me.

    I know that I will not approach any areas as to promoting aggression such as tug work or rag work. I know that she wants to work and will work on spacific areas such as ob retreive drive, and some puppy tracking. I do not want to bring out any further aggressive behaviors at this point in the game. Chikera is a tough girl and can go a long way. Just want to do right by her.

    So yeah if you have any advise I would appreciate it.
     
  20. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Why don't I get the mod for this particular forum to move this one post to the behavior forum. We can't make duplicates. I think you'll get more responses that way. How much dog to dog socializing has she had? What breed is she? Have you started her in an obedience group class? I think I'd try to talk with a trainer. And one who is up to date with training methods which use the science of learning, one who has a very good reputation and it would be nice to find one affiliated with APDT, but that does not guarantee a good trainer. Ask around. Dr2little belongs and she may be able to steer you right. At any rate, some kind of desensatization process will probably be needed. Its a rather long process and takes a lot of work. But punishing aggression, saying "no" to a growling dog is not advisable. You end up supressing the behavior but it back fires often later on and in a big way. This needs to be worked through systematically. Over the Internet, without seeing exactly what is transpiring, it is difficult to give very accurate advice.
     

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