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I thought of a new topic to discuss while I was posting in the Dog Whisperer thread......
How many of you feel that your dogs want to please you? That they are eager to please you for no other reason than out of respect?
I hear people refer to this all the time and even while I was quite inexperienced, I never believed that this was what was really going on. I tend to think that dogs are self pleasers. That they do things, not out of respect or eagerness to please, but because the things that they do benefit them in one way or another.
I think my dog, Natalie, might be one described by some as "eager to please". Natalie greatly enjoys interacting with people. Interacting with people is rewarding to her. She is more likely to comply upon request, even with strangers, because compliance gets her more attention.
I certainly won't be offended if anyone disagrees. I'm just curious about how others feel about this.
I think some dogs/breeds are more eager to please than others. I agree that its a matter of what is rewarding (reinforcing) to the dog that determines how it will behave, but I do agree with the idea that the dog must see you as the pack leader to consitantly act in an appropriate way. If that is considered respect than I think respect is a motivator for behavior also. The dog will do what you want because as a dog it's its nature to 'follow' the leader.
(Copied from Dog Whisperer Thread) My opinion (take it for what it's worth) is that if I develop the proper relationship and lifestyle for my dog Elsa, it will be paramount in earning her respect. By carefully structuring everyday interactions so they become subtle demonstrations of leadership, I can gain Elsa's respect and cooperation in a way that I believe is natural and fair to her; a way that encourages Elsa to willingly take my lead in the activites we do together. I liken it to the care of children, where dogs too need to be shown the way to get through life successfully. My leadership takes away the undue stress of trial and error. It's my opinion that if we show our dogs (through reward based conditioning) that our decisions and guidance make a positive impact on their lives, they'll willingly allow us this responsibility. They'll be happier and more confident in our leadership when they realize they no longer have the responsibilities of the world solely on their shoulders. This is respect...this is why I believe Elsa complies, and why she becomes a natural follower. It would kill me if I thought she were only a robot. ...this has been another cubside moment.
I agree that that relationship is important but as a student of behavior in the field of behavior psychology we really believe that even humans are "robots" as you put it. It's the main reason cognitive/behavior psych has come into favor over traditional behavior psych. It allows for the thought process or free will aspect of people. I lean more to the tradition behavioral approach. One of my professors, many years ago, trained his cats to dance. He would tell them to dance and one would turn on the radio and then they would stand on their hind legs and embrace and dance. It would be nice to say they do this because of their relationship with him or out of respect, but in reality it was the result of lots of shaping of behavior and lots of rewards.
I find that certain dogs do want to please more than others. Maybe this means that some listen better, stay interested in the cues longer or simply do better. Whatever it means I know that each and every dog is different in this aspect.
I'm sorry opokki, I was afraid you might make that conclusion. The robots thought was just me thinking of an alternative to my previous thought, it had nothing to do with your opinion/idea. Sorry about that.