VeggieBoards banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have a pet that always does things he/she knows they shouldn't be doing, they know it's wrong, they know the owner would be angry....But they do it anyways?

I am very confused right now. My mom has this big plant in her living room and on several occasions we have seen it dug into. Now there are some things that lead me to believe my dog Abby isn't the one who does it. First of all, I don't recall her ever being covered in the plant's dirt. And second, I never see a trail of dirt anywhere. But everytime my mom sees it and flips out, Abby gets all scared and runs away, as if she knows she's in trouble or is guilty. Or perhaps she is just scared. She's not a stupid dog, and she's not even a puppy. She never chews on things she's not supposed to or anything.

I have recently been giving our dog these treats that she sometimes hides around the house. My mom claimed a few days ago that she found one of them behind her couch all covered in dirt. Sure, that could be a clue that she is donig the digging, but then why wasn't there dirt around the plant at the time, indicating that she had just dug the treat up? And why haven't I ever seen her covered in the dirt?

The thing is, I need to figure out how to handle this soon. I have to go out later, and my mom is threatening to spank Abby as soon as I leave. She has already spanked her the last time this happened, and I don't see how it would make a difference this time. I know Abby seems like the only sensible culprit. But some things just don't add up. But if she is the one who is doing it, how can I get her to stop?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
The main mistake dog owners make is in assuming that their dog is as intellegent as a human being and understands everything they say. A dog, while being somewhat smart, has a tiny brain and is really like a goat or pig (usually people dont attribute genius intellegent to their goat or pig, though their intellegence is similar). If dogs look guilty, they are reacting to the tone of your voice when you yell at them then and there, not to something they did in the past. The dog has no idea what it did-- it is not being evil. Spanking a dog will only turn him or her agressive, and it is useless because they have the mind of a 1 year old baby and a memory span of about 5 minutes. The only way to make your wishes clear is to catch the dog in the act-- you need to stake out the plant and catch the dog in the act. And even then you should gently correct it. Certain breeds are more head-strong than others. Certain breeds enjoy digging and hiding bones. To have a plant with dirt in the living room is only creating a temptation that the dog cant resist. Ask your mother to place something like a cut-to-size coconut mat (sold in garden stores) on the top of the dirt so the temptation is gone, or get rid of the plant. To train the dog you need to research dogs, read everything you can on training, and train yourself to train the dog. Puppy school is more than training the pup, it is training the owner. Finally, dont hit the dog. It is cruel and the poor dog usually does not know why you are hitting him (like I said above). If it does something wrong, a spray bottle filled with plain water, or a can of pennies or dried beans ususally gets them to stop. Keep some around the house, ready to go. But only spray or rattle the can when you catch the dog in the act. minutes later, it will have forgotten what it did, and you will only scare it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
You mean to tell me that your mother is scolding the dog for digging in the plant, when she's never caught the dog digging in the plant? I'm sorry but your mom is screwing up your dog and making things worse.

You should never scold a dog for something that it did in the past. For starters losing your temper and yelling at or hitting a dog is never going to help the dog understand anything. But more important, any correction you give to a dog has to be done while the dog is caught in the act, never after the fact.

Dog's live in the moment, and Abby has no clue what your mother is upset about. The poor dog only knows that your mother loses her temper for no apparent reasons and has learned to run off whenever she sees your mom coming.

What makes you think your dog knows she shouldn't be digging in the plant? Because she runs off and acts guilty? She doesn't run off and act guilty because she knows she's done something wrong, she runs off and acts guilty because she's learned that your mother is a mean person that will try and hurt her whenever she first gets home.

Gita's advice is right on. Move the temptation of digging in the plant whenever you can't be right there to watch, and have your mother pick up a book on dog behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for all of that adive Gita. I don't believe in spanking at all, which is one of the reasons I have been desperate to figure out a way to handle this properly so my mom doesn't do it herself.

A part of me still doesn't believe that she does it, though. NOBODY has caught her in the act, nor has there ever been any evidence on her body that she had been digging into anything.

Do dogs really have such a short memory?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
I dunno, but this is what my dog looks like when she's buried something. Although she acts like you have no idea, I think she looks pretty guilty. I find it hard to imagine that a dog is gonna look nice and clean after burying/unburying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychem View Post

Do dogs really have such a short memory?
It's not that they have a short memory, it's that they live in the moment and don't associate current happenings with past events. They don't realize that the punishment they are receiving is for something that they did in the past.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychem View Post

Do dogs really have such a short memory?
I think we over-romantisise what the brain really does. Dogs as well as human beings learn routeens, like little computer sub-programs. You may not remember, but at one time, you learned to walk, and to recognise language. Some routeens are part of what we call instinct. Others, like "dont dig in the plant in the living room" are rather complicated. Dogs can learn fairly complex routeens. What they cant do is store extensive memories. They commit good routeens (those that please you-- their pack) in their limited memory space. They are rewarded by the chemical seretonin (I.E. they feel happy). Some dogs are better than some routeens than others. some dogs are very good at herding, and herding dogs are easy to teach to play frisbee. Some dogs naturally do a lot of dancing on their back legs, and these are good dogs to teach "circus tricks" to. All dogs are really good at getting in trouble in human homes, especially when the house-person forgets that these are only dogs-- not little humans. Terriers love to dig because they are genetically programmed to hunt for creatures underground. Teaching the dog not to dig at all is going against his instinct. he will always dig. What you need to teach it is to dig in the appropriate place. Is there a way to set up a sand box or a digging pit for the dog in your yard (if you have one?). Many owners of dogs who show a tendancy to dig will make a digging area and allow the dog to dig for some time each day-- an hour or so. That way the digging might get out of the dogs system, and he may leave the plant alone. Other than that, removing the plant, or keeping the dog out of the room unless supervised is the only way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,265 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica Alana View Post

I dunno, but this is what my dog looks like when she's buried something. Although she acts like you have no idea, I think she looks pretty guilty. I find it hard to imagine that a dog is gonna look nice and clean after burying/unburying.
I agree. When my dogs dig they also end up with dirt all over their noses and on their paws. When they come in from outside the trail of dirt they leave on the carpet is a pretty good sign too. Gotta love the dogs.


We have fixed the problem by putting fencing around all our fruit trees and garden area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
I have 3 dogs-- they look guilty just about all the time. I think people transfer stereo-typed guilty looks on dogs which is rediculous. Dogs have their own body language. The dog in the picture does not look quilty. guilty would be more submissive-- like cringing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
I wouldn't call submissive cringing a sign of guilt! That's fear. But I'm having a hard time thinking of what guilt would look like in a dog.

I even did a Google Image search for Guilty Dogs, but yeah they didn't look like guilty dogs to me... I agree with you that we do too much humanizing of our pets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
I find it hard to believe that a dog would ever feel guilty. Guilt requires some kind of moral knowledge about right and wrong. If I do something that I enjoy and have no moral issue with, but I know other people think is wrong (like digging in a pot plant) then I don't feel guilty. I don't think dogs reflect on their actions at all, they certainly don't reflect on them in terms of whether they're right or wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
digging and burring things is what dogs do naturally. A dog would never look "guilty" after doing something that comes naturally. The dog might look submissive, scared, doomed, uncertain, wary, or whatever because he or she thinks he's about to be hit or yelled at. Thats not guilt, that's fear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
I'm not sure if it would hurt the plant, but you could sprinkle some cayenne pepper on top of the dirt. Usually when a dog is digging they'll sniff for their spot first. Once she gets a sniff of this she won't want to go back. I had to do that with my couch/loveseat. My new puppy thought they were a chew toy. Did it for about a week. She hasn't chewed them since.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top