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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Turning A Dog’s Behavior Into A Trick | Main | Basics of Dog Adoption 101 »

May 17, 2011


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K9 Cruiser

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

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Never severely punish your canine for their aggressive behavior. Punishment causes the canine to concern you and may be seen as a problem to their dominance. This can actually enhance their aggressiveness. As a substitute, study training strategies that emphasize optimistic reinforcement and rewards for good behavior.

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If your dog is biting out of aggression, he is showing you that he is the top dog. This can be a very risky situation if it is not controlled immediately. The best way to handle dominant, aggressive behavior is steady, regular obedience work, which will stress your authority over your dog. It only take two fifteen-minute sessions a day to make it clear to your dog that you are the boss, and that it is rewarding to do what you say. You can make this fact clear to him by rewarding him (with treats and generous praise) for obeying a command, and isolating him (putting him in "time-out", either outside the house or in a room by himself) for misbehavior.


I think that the interaction between the dog and the people are based on both food and generosity. In this situation food is present and dogs are very focused on food. They will go where ever they think the food is. But, if they were to do this experiment again replacing the food with something else, the dog would still respond the same way. I think that dogs would most likely go to the generous person. Dogs recognize generosity, therefore they would make the decision to only interact with the person that is generous.

Moo Kahn

Well as much as I'd like to think my dogs are higher-thinking and altruistic, couldn't it just be that the dogs were going with the human who had already exhibited they would be a more reliable source of food?

Person #2 - who didn't give up any food would be a poor choice if you were a dog. It's not about "generosity" - it's about an animal based on a wolf going where the food is most likely to be. In my experience dogs aren't very complicated. They like food - the go where the food is a better bet.

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