Research Says Your Dog Only Thinks About Himself - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Research Says Your Dog Only Thinks About Himself



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Yes, dogs are our companions Ė but the ones we own may also may be selfish. Research says that companion pooches are most likely selfish dogs.

Surely youíve seen this before. You go to a friendís house and all your friendís dog wants to do is play with the toys he brings you. When you stop throwing the ball or toy to the dog, he finds someone else to play with and acts as if you didnít exist. Thatís a selfish dog.

Or in another scenario, you always give a certain dog a treat when you see her. On days you donít have a treat, the dog ignores you completely. Thatís a selfish dog.

Certainly there are reports where a dog sees a need to save a life and jumps in without any hesitation.

For example, thereís the case of the blind Labrador retriever named Norman that heard the cries of a drowning girl about a half mile away on the beach.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:50 PM
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Most. Hilarious. Study. Ever.

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Researchers at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom found that there really may be something as a selfish dog. Testing 24 different dogs, they hid an ownerís notebook or stapler in one corner of a room and the dogís toy in another corner.

When the dogís owner acted as if he/she had lost the notebook or stapler, the dog didnít spend more time trying to help the owner out and went for the toy instead. However, in a second study, when there were no toys in the room, the dog did look at the notebook for a half second longer than the stapler when the owner was speaking with her voice high-pitched.
Can't even begin to poke holes in this one

Hey. Maybe it was the exact opposite finding! The dogs knew their owners were upset but said "forget that stupid staple thingy - let's play! That always cheers me up!" ^_^
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 03:08 PM
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This is the kinda crap Brian Hare does at Duke btw. Pretty funny stuff.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 03:19 PM
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I just love it (not!) when reserchers anthropomorphize.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 03:46 PM
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Good grief!!! Wow.. Tax dollars at work.. Yep... So how do I tell the breeder that I want an unselfish dog?? Do I get a refund if it is a selfish dog? :P
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 04:01 PM
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Nothing wrong with self interest in an animal. It's how we train them.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 04:02 PM
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dang. I bet the dogs think we are being selfish. "I don't know how many times I try to tell my hooman that I want to play tug but she doesn't take the toy...she only cares about herself".

Hey, I am all for finding more ways to understand the creatures that share our homes.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Baillif View Post
Nothing wrong with self interest in an animal. It's how we train them.
Not that it's wrong, it's that all good trainers understand this intrinsically and use the dog's want to please itself to our advantage.

So my issues with the concept of dogs being selfish is, one: using the term "selfish" has a negative connotation attached to it that comes from human social values being projected on dog behaviour.

and Two: people who understand dogs know how to use this to their advantage to motivate a dog to change their behaviour in ways that benefit us, the humans - so who is selfish now?

My big issue is using human values of ethical behaviour and projecting them on animals. Bad enough when Joe public use terms like that about when talking about their dog (dog is being stubborn, bad, vindictive, selfish etc), but now we have "official" behaviourist doing the same thing? They should know better, and be able to express the behavioural concepts better than reaching for the lowest Joe Public level denominator.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 05:17 PM
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Hey if they think dogs are selfish. Do a study with my kids. Take their I phone and put it in a corner and then take my stapler and put it in an opposite corner and they won't even look at the stapler. Straight to the phone texting. Or a toddler and slap a chicken nugget happy meal in one corner and my notebook in an opposite corner. It's forget the stupid notebook I want my chicken nuggets.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 05:50 PM
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Was it the researcher that used the term selfish or was it the "journalist/click bait artist" that used the term.
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