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Thread: Do dogs have a sense of future activity?

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    Default Do dogs have a sense of future activity?

    I'm involved in a very interesting discussion concerning animal rights proponents. The discussion isn't germaine to this group but one writer makes a very interesting point....

    Do dogs have a sense of their past and future actions? Can they place an action within a stream of events?

    I had not thought of it this way and I know the chap's answer. What's yours?

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Johnson View Post

    Do dogs have a sense of their past and future actions? Can they place an action within a stream of events?

    Eric
    Yes. That was the basis for "hot spot" creation in the early days of e-training.

    Tim
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

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    If I understand your question correctly, the answer is YES to both past and future. Dogs have memory. They can learn by trial and error and that implies the ability to remember the results of past action. Looking forward, they can remember the past, and make decisions about the next immediate action. 'Hmmm, the last time I did that....'

    I don't think they can project much beyond the immediate though. I don't think they daydream about being an FC/AFC and what actions might be required to achieve that. I don't think they remember the past in a way that leaves them longing for the 'good ole days'. That's a human quality, not a canine one. IMHO.

    Snick

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    Yes, yes, yes, yes......

    Angie

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    Kristie Wilder
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    yes...

    Like some dogs get excited when their owners turn in the driveway here, like my dogs bark when we turn on a road about 2 mi from home, no matter where we've been, like they know when you're going hunting.

    NOW, I don't know if they sit there and reminisce like we do. But I think they have an awareness and familiarity with certain things and situations. I do think, on average, at any given moment, a dog is only processing what's going on right now unless it becomes familar (the sound of the food bag rustling for dinner, the shotgun coming out to go hunting) and associated with a particular activity.

    Would be curious to hear what the guy said about it.

    -K

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    Senior Member HuntinDawg's Avatar
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    Basically agree with what has been said here. I can pack my truck to go hunting the evening before a hunt and when my alarm goes off the next morning my dog is bouncing off the wall knowing we are going hunting. He won't even go outside to pee because he is afraid he will miss out. He doesn't do that Monday through Friday. He only does it when I've packed my truck with hunting gear (not work gear) the night before. We are talking about a cue (packing the truck with guns, decoys, waders) that is given 6-10 hours prior to leaving the house and it is on the absolute forefront of his mind for that period of time. If I go deer hunting (leaving him behind obviously) he sits and cries (so my wife says), but if I get up early and leave on business he does not do that. I think this indicates the ability to anticipate future events. Not sure how they look at the past, but they definitely learn (good and bad) from the past as well. Also, along the lines of what Kristie said, my old dog would ride quietly in his dog box in the back of my old Jeep Cherokee for hours if necessary, but the instant we hit a dirt road (any dirt road) he started whining and turning around in his dog box because he thought it meant we had arrived at the hunting destination. I'm sure everyone can attest to similar things.
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    The example given is that of training a dog for a poison bird. Here's what the chap had to say....

    "For example, Poison Bird training. These are set up deliberately to tempt the dog to go there. With training and as the dog gets older he sees the future and knows that the poison bird is delayed till a future retrieve.

    The problem Field Trial trainers have made in the past is training the dog never to pick up a poison bird by having the dog learn it is wrong whenever they do. This makes training very difficult and now it leaves the dog open to a new Judge's trap when the dog is asked to pick it up at the end. In training if the dog is a good boy through the series he should always get the poison bird. The dog now understands that this retrieve is in the future. At a trial the poison bird is a seen by the experienced dog as a future retrieve and if the particular series requires that this one not be picked up the dog will be content with the exception and walk off. However I would bet that a good dog if taken back to the grounds on Monday it would go look for it because the bird is still in his past. "

    What is really interesting is that the this came up is a discussion of the leadership of PETA and HSUS being psychopaths. This is sort of the clinical definition, not the TV version. The clinical definition (it's not really a disease) says a psychopath is one who lacks empathy. He makes the case that Wayno and Ingrid lack empathy and therefore see nothing wrong with killing the animals to achieve their objective.

    It's an interesting discussion and the question of whether animals have any sense of time order just sort of came up.

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Johnson View Post
    The clinical definition (it's not really a disease) says a psychopath is one who lacks empathy. He makes the case that Wayno and Ingrid lack empathy and therefore see nothing wrong with killing the animals to achieve their objective.
    Just a quick point: Wayno/HSUS don't, as I undrstand, condone the killing of any animals while Ingrid/PETA do (but only the ones they deem worthy to die, and only at their hands...)... it's one thing we can be thankful about: the anti's have in-fighting, too!

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    Its obvious when a situation is put in front of a dog that he has experienced before they remember it well. Dogs are also conditioned to expect what is coming next. An example might be getting the leash from the closet. The dog gets excited because he knows or at least think he knows he going for a walk.

    But do they think about that stuff when they are just laying around. Without cues or past experiences being put in front of them I think they are just laying on the couch waiting for whatever it is that will trigger a certain thought.
    So if you go to the closet for his leash he is not thinking about hunting unless you only take the leash out to go hunting and one human behavior leads to another doggy thought depending what human action or posture is exhibited by that human.

    I think they only respond to the now and don't think about the past until that certain thing in the past is presented to them in some form.

    An example would be a dog that is fearful of vacuums. He is not laying on the couch thinking about vacuums until you make a B line for the vacuum closet. Think about it . Put the vacuum away and all of a sudden he shuts off. Just walking past the closet will not trigger the response but a B line to the closset which is an obvious trigger to the dog will cause a response.

    I think it depends on the circumstances and what and how things are presented Other than that I think they live in the present and only think about the past and future when those triggers are presented.

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    Senior Member George C. Tull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Johnson View Post
    I'm involved in a very interesting discussion concerning animal rights proponents. The discussion isn't germaine to this group but one writer makes a very interesting point....

    Do dogs have a sense of their past and future actions? Can they place an action within a stream of events?

    I had not thought of it this way and I know the chap's answer. What's yours?

    Eric

    Absolutely!
    Chris W. Isbell

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