Does a dog know he "did something wrong"?

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

Does a dog know he "did something wrong"?

This is a discussion on Does a dog know he "did something wrong"? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Scenario #1: You come home and dog has pooped on the carpet. You are angry and/or upset. The dog cowers or runs away. You are ...

User Tag List

Like Tree53Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-15-2013, 09:21 PM
  #1
Senior Member
 
subado's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Does a dog know he "did something wrong"?

Scenario #1: You come home and dog has pooped on the carpet. You are angry and/or upset. The dog cowers or runs away. You are then convinced the dog understands he wasn't supposed to poop on the carpet.

Scenario #2: You come home and the garbage has been knocked over and there is garbage on the floor. You are not happy. The dog runs away, ears back, tail tucked and you think this is a "guilty" acting dog.

On both counts, you would be very, very wrong. Wrong to the point of causing true damage to your relationship if you react.

For the 42,552nd time, an owner told me tonight that his dog "knows" when he "did wrong" although the offense was hours prior.

Folks, dog don't think like this. Dogs don't possess this level of reasoning skill. They've forgotten they did whatever it was just seconds after they did it.

Some will say, "Oh no, that is not true! You should see the look she gives me when she did ________!! She knows!"

No, she doesn't.

She knows you have squinted, angry eyes and stressed body posture. Even if you think you're giving off nothing, trust me -- you are. Dogs are experts in this case and they read you very well. She knows your voice is sharp. She knows garbage on the ground makes you angry, but she does *not* connect the fact that *she* did that much earlier that day. She most certainly does not feel "guilt" -- dogs are incapable of that feeling.

So, please, before you rub your dog's nose in pee, before you punish your dog for an offense that you didn't see occur, just calm down. Can you imagine for a moment how scary it would be to have the one you love the most in the whole world speak harshly, even hit or hurt you, all the while having no idea why they were doing that?

Please don't do that to your dogs.

That was my soapbox issue for today, lol. I'd sure love to hear other owners' takes as well.
subado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 09:30 PM
  #2
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
ZoesMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pollock Pines, CA
Posts: 3,835
Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I have to tell people that all the time.

In addition, dogs do not necessarily associate the "punishment" with their action. In example: Dog A stole Dog B's food, Dog A was yelled at and sent to their bed. Dog A did not associate stealing the other dog's food with the punishment, but did associate Dog B with the punishment and then started getting more aggressive with Dog B to make Dog B go away so that the owner would not act crazy.

Hopefully that made sense.
ZoesMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 09:30 PM
  #3
Senior Member
 
Kat and Guinness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NC Mountains
Posts: 2,459
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
That's what a lot of the kids here on campus do, you can hear it all the time. An angry shout when they return. I've seen them yell and rub their face in it and it's like...how in the world does that teach them a lesson? The deed was done when you weren't around. Yelling doesn't solve anything and neither does rubbing their face in it...ugh it makes me so angry. It really sets me off when the "owner" hasn't been there all day and they expect the dog to hold it until they get back 12 hours later...grr. If I see it I normally shake my head and tell them it's not going to prevent another accident.
Kat and Guinness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 10:00 PM
  #4
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
crock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: NW
Posts: 12,098
Mentioned: 310 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
That would get very tiresome and frustrating Kat....
Posted via Mobile Device
crock is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 10:00 PM
  #5
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 711
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
There was a video I saw long ago - I'm trying to find it but I don't remember what the title was so I'm having some trouble. But basically, the owner left a cookie on the floor in front of her dog, told the dog not to take it, then left the room. While she was gone, the person holding the camera took the treat away. When the owner came back, she started with the, "Did you take that cookie? Was it you? Did you eat it?" and of course, the dog immediately started with the calming signals that people commonly associate with guilt (lowering her head, looking away, licking her lips) even though, of course, she hadn't taken the cookie at all.
TorachiKatashi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 10:12 PM
  #6
Senior Member
 
Rain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,186
Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
One time, while I was at work, Shadow threw up on my bed. When I got home I spotted the mess and said in a surprised tone of voice "Oh, Shadow!" at which point Shadow started with the head hanging, looking away, etc. I wasn't even mad at him and when he did that I immediately started petting him and telling him it was O.K. I wasn't mad. Shadow was simply responding to my tone of voice, which wasn't even an angry tone just surprised.

I really wish that people would stop with the punishments. Most of what a dog gets into (unless it's eating the house) while an owner is gone is the fault of the owner, so maybe us owners should punish ourselves when the dog eats our shoes, gets in the garbage, and tears up the book or magazine collection.
Rain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 10:25 PM
  #7
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
ZoesMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pollock Pines, CA
Posts: 3,835
Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Rain, I had the same thing happen to me when Phoenix got sick a few weeks ago. She was throwing up all night long several nights in a row. (She was under the care of my Vet Boss at work but I was taking her home every night). She wasn't in trouble, but I was exhausted and not happy about getting up every hour to clean up puke. She acted like she was in trouble and it made me so sad. I kept petting her and telling her she wasn't in trouble and that "Mommy is just tired". I felt really bad.
fawkese1 likes this.
ZoesMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 10:57 PM
  #8
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
fawkese1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California...in the mountains
Posts: 22,225
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
thankfully, i haven't had that experience with bodie, so i don't know, but clover is always like that when he is sick in the house. makes me sad too. he used to do the same thing when i would scoop poop in the yard... for the longest time i wouldn't let him out with me when i did because he would get so distressed

on a similar vein, i get really frustrated when people explain to me that their dogs are stubborn or spiteful. right, you are a great trainer, and doing everything perfectly, but your dog is just a jerkface... just doesn't add up
fawkese1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 11:10 PM
  #9
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
ZoesMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pollock Pines, CA
Posts: 3,835
Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Oh no! Poor Clover!!

The "my dog is stubborn" thing frustrates me, too.
ZoesMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 11:12 PM
  #10
Senior Member
 
Kat and Guinness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NC Mountains
Posts: 2,459
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
It's easier to blame the dog than yourself. That's what I think when people say their dog is stubborn.
subado likes this.
Kat and Guinness is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.