Thursday, May 13, 2010

Do dogs have expectations?

When I brush my teeth in the morning, Ellie goes to her kennel. She's done that since day 1 of bringing her home from Central Arizona Animal Rescue. Somewhere along the way, in the language of dog training, she associated the cue of 'human brushes teeth' to her behavior of going into the kennel.

Is that an expectation?

Once we break out the Camelbaks, Ellie goes into a flurry of activity, back and forth to the door, whining. There's a whole slew of activity that takes place before we get to wherever we are going.

I pick up my keys to drive to teach my next yoga class. Ellie takes herself off to her kennel for a biscuit, some fresh water.

I pick up my keys to run some errands, and Ellie runs to the door. Open the door, she runs to the gate. If she gets to go for a ride, the excited whining starts.

Expectation. Or simple association? Is there a difference?

What do you think, and what actions of your dog drive how you think about it?