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Discussion Starter #1
I was about to take sally for a walk and had her on her leash and from my porch there is the concrete at bottom them one step and my porch one step up.
So we started walking down the one step and sally had gotten down already but i stepped onto the step and fell onto the concrete step :( I skinned up my knee soooo bad and it hurts but then she didnt do anything when i fell.I went inside and got two bandaids after mom cleaned it.
its like sally didn't care.
Is there any way to teach her to help me when i fall or something?
I feel like she didn't care about me.
 

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Oh dear, I'm so sorry that you fell and hurt yourself! At least it's only a bruise and cut, hopefully, and it was not worse. :( I'm glad your mom was there too!

Please don't take Sally's seeming aloofness personally, it certainly isn't that she doesn't care about you! Perhaps she was startled into moving back when you fell and wasn't sure what had happened? I'm sure you don't fall down very often, and she probably wasn't sure what to make of it.

Here's an interesting article that discusses how dogs might interpret human emotion. The telling line was "We in no way claim that the present study provides definitive answers to the question of empathy in dogs." Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's emotion or pain from their perspective. The animal or human places themselves in the other person's shoes and feel what they are feeling. Just like in that study, some dogs will display possible empathetic behavior, and some do not.

If you fall again, remember that something like that may be just as alarming for her as it was for you. Trust me when I say, it'll make both of you feel better if, once you've recovered, call Sally over and reassure her that you're okay. Help her to comfort you by holding her (if she'll let you), or just sit and pet her, talking with her in calm tones about how frightening that was, and that you're glad she was around to help you. :)
 

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Some dogs are more able to decipher human emotions than others.

If you want to teach her to help you up you should get some pads. Simulate a fall and wait for her to come over (don't call to her or do anything, just wait), when she comes. Treat. Repeat.
 

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Back in May I was walking Doris and fell over and broke my right ankle and sprained the left one. Despite staying down for ages, having a woman fuss over me and 2 men having to pick me up, Doris was more interested in laying there chewing a stick. Initially I thought she didn't care either but she proved herself by staying by my side the whole 8 weeks I was off work and laying her heads on my plaster cast.

I believe the shock of me dropping down like a ton of bricks and barely able to talk due to the pain frightened her so she removed herself from the situation until I was back home and was able to fuss her again and therefore reassuring her everything was ok. In hindsight it was the best thing because if she had come bounding over to me, I probably would have yelled at her to keep away as I was in so much pain and didn't know what to do.

I'm sure your dog loves and cares about you lots. Hope you feel better soon.
 

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Your dog might have been very confused by what it saw going on and was at a loss of how to process the information.

Often when dogs are confused by something they go into giving passive submissive signals, probably the most common of which are 'I am going to stand here or slowly give you more space, while being generally quite to avoid notice, and will not make any sort of eye contact beyond the a few glances'

Think of it from your dog's standpoint. You probably flailed your arms and came crashing down with a thud, maybe you shouted out in shock or pain during and after, moved unnaturally afterwards, etc.

It's not like you were just having a stressful day and your dog senses it and gives you comfort.

Nor was it a situation where you'd fallen and couldn't get up, which would be seen as something entirely different to the dog.
 

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My eldest BC, Zorro is a real teddy bear and will always come over and see if I'm OK if I fell, but he's very in tune with my emotions. The other four either just continue doing whatever they were doing, or decide it's a game and mob me for attention. It depends from dog to dog. I don't think the others love me any less, they're just not the fuss over you type
 

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I agree w the others, your dog Sally was probably just confused by what happened and wanted to give you space, after all it's not every day you go tumbling to the ground. I'm sure she cares about you. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Hope you heal up quickly.
ETA: if you want to train her to come to you when you fall, practice falling on mats or pillows w her near you. Have some treats in your hand, wait patiently for her to come to you, and give her a treat when she does. Do this many times over the course of weeks, and eventually remove the treats. She should still be conditioned to come to you by this point.
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Sally probably just didn't understand what had happened. I mean think about it. Dogs don't fall much, and if they do it's rarely bad, so she's probably never experienced it herself. She probably didn't even realize you were in pain, especially if she's never seen anyone in much pain before. I think the few times my dogs have seen me fall, they've just thought I was playing around and being weird or something haha
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok. Thanks alot. My leg still hurts but shes been sleeping in my room.It takes three large bandaids going across and down to cover up my scratch :(
 

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I'm sorry you fell! Hope your knee is feeling better by now.

Maybe it would interest you to know that it's actually totally normal for dogs to ignore their owners falling over. There was even a scientific study about it! People (who had signed up for the study) would walk their dogs through a park and then pretend to have a heart attack -- they'd groan, clutch their chests, and then collapse and drop the leashes. The idea was to see if any of the dogs would go to a nearby "stranger" and seek help. But actually, all the dogs sort of stood around for a bit, then wandered off to go sniff bushes. Well, except for one dog, who went over to the "stranger" and hopped into her lap for a cuddle!

The researchers decided that maybe the set-up was just too subtle for dogs...maybe dogs just don't understand heart attacks? So they designed a second study, where owners would walk their dogs through a building and then pretend to get trapped under a falling bookshelf (it had been rigged to fall so they weren't hurt, and it seemed a lot less subtle than a heart attack!). And all the dogs stood around wagging, and some of them pawed or whined at their owner, but mostly they just acted confused before wandering off to explore the room. Which doesn't mean they weren't concerned, just that the set-up didn't really produce any consistent "seeking help" or "providing comfort" sort of behaviors.

It's not that dogs don't care. It's just that dogs didn't really evolve to offer comfort to a friend who has fallen over...not just your dog, but most dogs! Your dog probably cares about you a lot, but she didn't have the tools to know what to do in that situation. If there's something specific you want her to do when you lie on the ground, you can train her for it. Just decide ahead of time what, specifically, you want her to do, and give her lots of chances to practice with lots of tasty rewards. Like all training, it should be fun!

(The study, which is certainly open to critique: Macpherson, K., & W.A. Roberts (2006). "Do Dogs (Canis familiaris) Seek Help in an Emergency?" Journal of Comparative Psychology 120 (2): 113-19.)
 
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