Fearful Dogs – Dog Fear Isn’t Funny or Cute

From Champion of My Heart Blog   By Roxanne Hawn

Fearful Dog Behavior Isn’t Funny or Cute

When the guilty dog video first started popping up on social media, several friends sent me links. I hated to be such a naysayer, but I couldn’t even watch the whole thing because it made me sad. Having lived with a truly fearful dog these last (nearly) 7 years, I understood what was really going on.

If not outright afraid of being accused (no matter how tongue in cheek) of stealing the cat treats, the dog was clearly uncomfortable about:

  • The guy’s tone of voice
  • The camera looming over him
  • Having the “evidence” foisted into his face again and again

Indeed this sweet yellow lab, threw behavior after behavior to make the anxiety-producing onslaught stop:

  • He got squinty.
  • He looked away.
  • He licked his lips and flicked his tongue.
  • He even curled his lips for an extended period of time in an appeasement grimace.
  • He lowered his body posture and made his head rounder and less threatening.
  • He moved slowly with a little I’m not-a-threat wiggle.

Everything about his body said, “I’m a good boy. Leave me alone. Why are you acting so weird? I don’t know what you want.”

Dog Behavior Myth: Guilty Dogs

As Kevin from Dog Lover’s Digest points out, dogs don’t do guilt. In fact, this study of “guilty looks” in dogs by renowned animal researcher Alexandra Horowitz found that people saw guilt even when the dog was completely innocent.

In fact, the dogs who did NOT eat the forbidden treat in the study looked most “guilty” after being scolded by their (misinformed) owners.

In other words, Horowitz found that such dog behaviors come in response to the owner’s behavior and NOT any known or assumed misdeeds.

So, the poor dog’s behavior had NOTHING to do with the missing cat treats and EVERYTHING to do with the guy holding the camera.

Personally, I don’t find making a dog feel upset or uncomfortable on purpose funny or cute.

Dog Training Failures

Beyond the fear and talk of guilt or innocence, the video also demonstrates a couple of the most common dog training failures:

  • The dog gets “punished” way after the fact. If he even ate those cat treats, it likely was LONG before the video being shot. For punishment (which we don’t condone) to work, it has to be instantaneous. Otherwise, the dog has ZERO clue what the supposed infraction was.
  • The dog gets sent to his crate as punishment. (Crates are supposed to be a safe zone for dogs … not doggy jail.)

The Guilty Dog Challenge

I speculated early on, and even in a comment to Kevin’s post, that I wondered if the dog had been taught to act this way on cue … mostly as a way to make myself feel better about what I was seeing. (I actually could not watch the whole thing it made me so sad.)

Others dismissed the idea, and they are probably right.

I wonder, though, if you could teach a dog, using a clicker and positive reinforcement, to perform these behaviors — like a trick — where the movement (but not the emotion) happen.

I’ve already taught Lilly to perform a few canine calming behaviors on cue, including:

  • Licking her lips (a trick we call YUM)
  • Sniffing the ground (a trick we call SNOOP)
  • Looking at then away from people / dogs (a behavior we call LOOK followed by WATCH ME, if necessary)

So, I’m going to do a little experiment and TRY to teach Lilly to do these things (without her feeling badly about it):

  • Drop her ears
  • Wiggle her butt
  • Curl her lips

Lilly tends to think of dog tricks as hilarious. For example, look how happy she is while putting her toys away (apart from the frustration barking at the end because the treats weren’t coming fast enough).

A Dog Training Foil to Pop Culture Misinformation

So, that’s my way of trying to foil all the misinformation that gets propagated in the mainstream media. I want to show that you CAN get dogs to do very CUTE things … without having to make them feel upset in the process.

Source:  http://championofmyheart.com/2011/03/29/dog-fear-isnt-funny-or-cute/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+championofmyheart%2FWlSx+%28Champion+of+My+Heart%29

This entry was posted in Dog Behavior and Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Fearful Dogs – Dog Fear Isn’t Funny or Cute

  1. pseuddy says:

    buy cialis online united states I m shook right now and before you can call me a dumbass I am

  2. Asking questions are truly good thing if you are not understanding anything totally, but this piece of writing offers pleasant
    understanding even.

  3. Oma says:

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content
    seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Many thanks

  4. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this
    blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot.
    I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you
    and good luck.

  5. Good day I am so thrilled I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing
    on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like
    to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and
    also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb
    job.

  6. That is very interesting, You’re an excessively professional blogger.
    I have joined your feed and stay up for looking for
    more of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your
    web site in my social networks

  7. I’m curious to find out what blog system you have been working with?

    I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I would
    like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any
    suggestions?

  8. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to
    ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center
    yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.

    I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the
    first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any recommendations or tips? Many thanks!

  9. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and
    I am inspired! Extremely helpful information specifically
    the last part 🙂 I handle such info much.
    I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  10. Excellent post. I will be dealing with some of these issues
    as well..

  11. What you posted was actually very logical. However, what about this?

    what if you were to create a awesome headline?
    I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your blog, however what if you added something
    that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean Fearful
    Dogs – Dog Fear Isn’t Funny or Cute | Loving a Happy, Healthy Dog is kinda boring.
    You should glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create
    news titles to get viewers to click. You might add a related video or
    a related pic or two to grab readers interested about what you’ve got to say.
    Just my opinion, it might bring your posts a little livelier.

  12. Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and detailed information you present.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed
    information. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  13. Hi there mates, pleasant paragraph and fastidious arguments commented
    at this place, I am truly enjoying by these.

  14. I always used to read paragraph in news papers but now as I am
    a user of net therefore from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

  15. Nice weblog here! Additionally your website a lot up very fast!
    What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink to your host?
    I desire my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  16. Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out some additional information.

  17. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something
    informative to read?

  18. Kennith says:

    This post is invaluable. When can I find out more?

  19. I visited various sites except the audio quality for audio songs present
    at this website is actually wonderful.

  20. Mai says:

    Hello friends, how is the whole thing, and what you want to say concerning this post, in my view its really amazing in favor
    of me.

  21. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your web site in internet explorer, may
    test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a huge component to other people will miss your
    wonderful writing due to this problem.

  22. Italia says:

    Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this web site,
    and paragraph is genuinely fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of articles.

  23. Lowthoche says:

    Many thanks, this site is really valuable. Dove trovare vadiral senza ricetta medica a Napoli

  24. Carmen says:

    If you would like to grow your experience only keep
    visiting this website and be updated with the
    hottest gossip posted here.

  25. I delight in, lead to I found exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have
    a great day. Bye

  26. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However just imagine if you added some
    great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the
    very best in its field. Superb blog!

  27. George says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this
    write-up and the rest of the website is extremely good.

  28. Italia says:

    I really like it when folks come together and share
    opinions. Great blog, stick with it!

  29. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I definitely
    enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will be sure
    to bookmark your blog and will come back in the foreseeable future.

    I want to encourage yourself to continue your great posts, have a nice day!

  30. all the time i used to read smaller posts which as well clear their motive, and that is also
    happening with this article which I am reading now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *