Is this intelligent, or just habit?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 10:18am PST 
I was making chicken salad this morning and was rewarding the pups with a scrap or two. They were all crowded tightly around me. When I was done, I turned on the faucet to wash my hands and they all seemed to recognize that no more snacks were coming and turned around and went to their beds?

Is that smart?
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 1:45pm PST 
I'm not quite sure I understand the question...

They did not see you wash your hands and think, "Well, since she's cleaning her hands to remove the food residue, she's not going to be sticking her fingers back in the food so we won't be getting any more treats."

If all of them wandered off at the exact moment you begin to wash your hands with out you saying anything, then it's likely they've picked up the cue from your routine. I think most of us wash our hands after handling food or treats of any kind, so it's not too surprising that a dog would pick up on and generalize the idea of washing hands = no more treats.

I suppose that would make it a habit. Still, it's something that was noticed, remembered, and applied back to life - that's how all of us learn outside of direct instruction. If you practiced it regularly, you could bring it to a point of being done without thought, but it still requires brainpower to get there.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 5:27pm PST 
Picking up on habits is quite smart if you ask me.way to go

Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 6:24pm PST 
Dogs are very observant. They learn things without us actively teaching them. I would say they observed you with the same routine several times and just learned that you were done. To me, that's smart. applause

Herpaderp-apotam- us
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 6:53pm PST 
Dogs are very aware of routines. Noah knows that when the tv turns off at night that it's time to go to bed so as soon as he hears the beeping noise of the TV turning off, he runs into his crate.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 7:21pm PST 
It's a habit, but that doesn't make it any less intelligent in my book. Mine will do the same thing when I hold up my hands and say all done when we're sharing food, and I think it's really smart.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 8:21pm PST 
I love the little routine things dogs pick up on. big grin

When I am eating something, Farley will sit near me and watch (unless I tell him to go to his bed). Literally the moment I finish the last bite, he turns around and goes to do something else.

Similarly, when I do things like close my laptop, turn my xbox off, or jingle car keys, he runs to the door expecting to go on an outing. laugh out loud

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 9:02pm PST 
Moose has picked up on my habits.

Moose has figured out Saturday and Sunday mornings mean beach visit and I couldn't figure out how he knew. Then I realized that he's caught on to my radio habits.
Monday thru Friday mornings I have my iphone on my kitchen counter playing a talk radio station via iheart radio. On the weekend mornings I listen to music through my regular sound system.
He's figured out that music means beach. Talk radio means normal day. On weekend mornings, before we leave for the beach, Moose is just a whining mess.
So, on the weekend days that we can't make the beach, I set up my iphone on the counter and play any talk station to trick him into thinking it's not a weekend. He seems to buy it.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 9:19pm PST 
Sure, it's smart . . .. they've figured out an association. That's the trouble with dogs is they notice ALL those cues we give off, even when we don't realize what we're doing . ..

For instance, Gus has figured out not to get too excited just because I pick up her leash, because she knows I'm going to wander back and forth like a scatter brain at least 4 or 5 times, remembering to pick up this or that . . .

She waits til she sees the final check list . . . coat?, hat?(sometimes she helps and brings the hat), phone?, purse?, treats?, poop bags? o.k. check, no wait . . . .. keys! o.k. NOW we can go! laugh out loud

Member Since
Barked: Fri Dec 21, '12 1:29am PST 
They probably picked up your routine. That's quite smart if you ask me.
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