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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I often hear that many dogs have a "desire to please their masters." I also hear that there is no such thing as a desire to please without selfish motives on the dog's part (i.e. the dog wil get treats, affection, positive attention, etc. for doing things that are pleasing to its owner) What do you all think about this? Can dogs really have a "desire to please" just because they want their humans to be happy, or are there always selfish motives involved?
 

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becouse if I'm upset (not becouse of CC) she will come and sprawl out ontop of me and lick me till I smile. When Chris's dad past away, she stayed by Chris everytime he got upset, she stayed next to him untill she made him feel better. she does the same thing if anyone is sick too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's really sweet. I wish my dogs did that. :)

I think some people could argue, though, that when you (or others) are upset or sick, good things aren't happening to CC and that she tries to make you feel better because good things happen to her (treats, affection, etc.) when you are in a good mood and healthy. I wonder if submissive wolves do the same thing to their alphas in the pack...try to keep them in a good mood. I have no idea!
 

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I'm not sure, but she doesnt like when the kids fight eather if one says ouch she will block whomever said it. she gets between them so that no one gets hurt, although she usually steps on them and makes them say ouch louder :lol:
 

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Leeann.Bella.Remy said:
That's really sweet. I wish my dogs did that. :)

I think some people could argue, though, that when you (or others) are upset or sick, good things aren't happening to CC and that she tries to make you feel better because good things happen to her (treats, affection, etc.) when you are in a good mood and healthy. I wonder if submissive wolves do the same thing to their alphas in the pack...try to keep them in a good mood. I have no idea!
Hmmm...now you've got me wondering. Never really thought about it like that! :-k
 

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I think they definately do things alot of times with a motive in mind even if it is just a smile or giggle that they hear from you it makes them even happier....with our dogs they feed off of our emotions, if we are happy so are they if we are sad and down then they are real mellow and just lay around if we are scared then they are on alert. I don't think they are 100% selfish in this tho cause like Cookies mom said CC will lay with her if she is upset, I don't think she is doing this because she wants a reward but because she is concerned and is caring for her mommy, basically Cookies Mom loves and cares for CC and she is just returning the favor when it is time. But I will have to say that sometimes they do things and look at you like ok were is my good boy response and if you don't respond they will sit there and stare at you like they are puzzled cause they didn't get the response that they were expecting.

I think it is a good question tho... heck it even applies to my kids....LOL!!! I just wish they were as driven to please as my dogs are sometimes....LMAO!!!
 

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Cookies Mom said:
I'm not sure, but she doesnt like when the kids fight eather if one says ouch she will block whomever said it. she gets between them so that no one gets hurt, although she usually steps on them and makes them say ouch louder :lol:
Zeke does the same thing..LOL!! Even if hubby and I are play fighting he will try to seperate us and he will mouth the hand of who ever is doing the fake hitting...
 

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As much as I want to believe Potato LOVES me I've resigned to accept that she kind of views that its in her best interest that I'm in a good mood or that the household is in balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BosonAu said:
As much as I want to believe Potato LOVES me I've resigned to accept that she kind of views that its in her best interest that I'm in a good mood or that the household is in balance.
This is the opinion that I'm leaning toward, too. When I'm in a good mood, my dogs get more affection, more play time, more treats sometimes. When I'm in a bad mood or unhappy about something, I don't really want them around me. It would certainly seem like it's in their best interest to keep me pleased and in a good mood so that they get good things in return. :) But, I'm still not sure about all of this. It's fun to think about, though!
 

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I think the mothering/nursing instinct comes out in them when we are sick and they want
to take care of us. I do not think this is done for a selfish reason - they are concerned, just like they would be if a pup mate was sick. However, alot of the time, I think they try to please us either because they are having fun learning a new trick or because they do not want to get into trouble. Depending on what we want them to please us with. They stay out of the garbage because they do not want to get into trouble but they learn how to shake hands because we tell them how great they are and it makes it fun for them plus we also give them treats. Sometimes, I think they do try to please us for purely non selfish reasons, like when they bring us a dead lizard, etc just to show us what they did. Or they obey your command just because they know it is what you want. Like the other day when someone's dog here went and got and saved the sandle that was floating down the river. He did that because he knew it was important. Rescue dogs, Therapy dogs and drug sniffing dogs - all do their job becasue they want to please us - not because they are afraid of getting into trouble but because they know it is something important for them to do for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
gazar said:
Rescue dogs, Therapy dogs and drug sniffing dogs - all do their job becasue they want to please us - not because they are afraid of getting into trouble but because they know it is something important for them to do for us.
If drug sniffing dogs and SAR dogs do their job because they want to please us, why are toys used so heavily in their training? I always thought that they view their jobs as a fun game and not some nobler cause. Of course, I very well may be wrong! :)
 

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I seriously think Vito does some things just to make us laugh! Sure, he wants stuff sometimes, but there are also times when he does something crazy for the purpose of entertainment, and once you start laughing, he'll do it some more! Like running around the house like crazy, or rolling on his back and wiggling his legs like a turtle. But he also knows that tucking his lips behind his lower canine teeth guarantees scratches and hugs... maybe a treat, and puffing his cheeks brings on a wrestling match or a little tug-o-war. Anyway, I think they really do want you to be happy. If I'm having a bad time, he may just come up and sit by me, or jump in my lap and lay there for a while (the jumping up part can take the breath right out of me, but it's the thought that counts). I think cats can be the same way... when I get a cold one of the cats always comes and lays on my chest... doesn't do that unless I'm sick (which isn't very often).
 

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Here you are with another very interesting topic Leeann!

I think our dogs want to keep us happy because they know if we are happy they get more affection, treats, etc. Like you Leeann, if I am in a bad mood I don't really want to be bothered with all I have to do for the dogs and I kinda just work thru it without the usual affection that comes with my routine.
 

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Leeann.Bella.Remy said:
gazar said:
Rescue dogs, Therapy dogs and drug sniffing dogs - all do their job becasue they want to please us - not because they are afraid of getting into trouble but because they know it is something important for them to do for us.
If drug sniffing dogs and SAR dogs do their job because they want to please us, why are toys used so heavily in their training? I always thought that they view their jobs as a fun game and not some nobler cause. Of course, I very well may be wrong! :)

I think the toys are used as part of the training process and are considered the "icing on the cake". But when I see the look on those dogs faces when they have found something, it seems that they are proud of themselves and they are not looking into the hand for the toy, they are looking into the eyes of their trainer as if to say, I did it. The trainers may tell us it is just fun and games for the dog, but the dog can feel and sense, it is not just fun and games for us. He can sense the importance of what he is doing. As anything with dogs, we judge by instinct because they cannot verbalize, and for me this just seems to be the way it feels.
 

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I kind of thought Lincoln has selfish reasons, until one day I was choking on something and couldnt breath.. He jumped on me and kissed me and just stared at me with honest concern on his face until I got my breath back.
 

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It seems to me that this is a hard question to answer simply because if they have concern for you, then they are selfish in expressing it. Satisfying a drive is selfish, simply because there is inate pleasure in doing do. Just as much pleasure as getting treats.

It would only be selfless if they showed care for, and tried to please you when in fact they had no internally satisfying desire to do so ;)

So my answer is that they care for you and try to please you because it feels good, and that in itself is a little selfishness.

But then, I'm no animal psychologist ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the insights, lurene! This is the very reason that I would argue that true altruistic charity (in humans) doesn't exist:

lurene said:
[...] because it feels good, and that in itself is a little selfishness.
Most people would say that doing charitable deeds gives them the "warm fuzzies." But I digress. :lol:
 

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:? Good question!
I know Orson is more "master pleasing" than my sheepdog was.
My sheepdog wouldnt do anything if a treat wasnt involved...she
was more into pleasing her belly.
Now Orson, i taught him tricks without even using treats...just by
praise, and that was enough for him. The thought of me praising him
was better than a cookie for him.

Now does that difference boil down to who wanted to please me more,
or is it that Orson is more submissive to me than my sheepie was??
My sheepie thought she ruled the house, so just my praise wouldnt be
reward enough (she thought i should do that anyways)?
 
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