Labrador opens fridge door, dines


Jeez. Those goddamn poltergeists are getting sophisticated, framing dogs with their new video editing skills.

I spent a lot of time training my own lab that behind every closed door, and on top of every unguarded counter lurks a scary monster of some kind. Be it mousetraps loaded with tasty peanut butter, or pressure bulb powered sriracha sprayers, or big coffee cans filled with pennies, or booby-trapped hotdogs loaded with bitter apple in their drilled out centers.

It took about 2 weeks, but after the training, we’ve never had issues with him getting into things he’s not supposed to. It’s more effective if the dog doesn’t associate the bad stuff happening with the owner inflicting it. It makes the dog think that it brought upon itself all these punishments, rather than instilling the idea that he can get away with anything as long as nobody sees him do it.


Strikes me as a smart dog that I wouldn’t want.

Negative rewards!

It is starting to feel like an injustice that we don’t give dogs operable hands and ability to speak.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Labradors, it’s that they absolutely love avocados.

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I don’t know about you, but my dog knows too much to ever be given speech. Not talking makes them excellent confidants and listeners. And you know a dog would slip up, they’re so easy to trick that you could count on them letting slip all your secrets and fears for snausages and a belly rub.


Learned too late to try this hint on our cats: in infancy (before they’re able to speak), you put precariously perched metal baking sheets along the edge of the counter. Any attempts to… well you probably get it now.

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Yeah. There aren’t too many animals with introspective ability. Combine that with the dog’s 5 minute memory, and you have quite a challenge in aversion training. Most often people just end up training the dog that you’ll punish them for certain behaviors if you catch them. Trying to punish them after the fact doesn’t make sense to a dog’s mind. It’s much more effective if the dog learns that the behaviors you don’t want are inherently fruitless and unpleasant.

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Well, dogs do have a two part memory system like most mammals and humans. Working memory, and long-term memory as it were. It’s just that dogs have a very small short term buffer, and it takes extreme (by human standards) repetition and stimuli to get dogs to encode into long-term memory. They don’t encode what happened ten or twenty minutes ago as something relevant in their present most of the time.

That’s why punishing your dog for eating the kitty litter fifteen or twenty minutes ago doesn’t sink in as a lesson about not eating kitty litter. The dog’s already smelled dozens of new things, and had his focus diverted from the litter eating event a bunch of times between then and now. Then the dog sees his buddy and goes to say hello, then his buddy’s yelling at him and the poor dog doesn’t understand why. Doesn’t buddy love him? Was it bad to come over and lick buddy’s face? Buddy usually loves that and gives dog attention, what’s going on?

Yeah, yeah, you’re right and all. But I couldn’t resist such a perfect opening for that reference-response. Too obscure?

No, I got it. I just wasn’t feeling in a funny enough mood to just appreciate it. Sorry. I’m enjoying it now though.

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