Mark's Dog Blog

Mother (Nature) Knows Best!


This is a great example of why when a mother raises her pups, the pups, as they mature, do not suffer from overly anxious and hyper-aroused behaviour, as when they are raised with humans. See how the mother calms her pups; she will not reward and therefore reinforce the pups anxious or overly hyper-aroused state. She sets boundaries and enforces with discipline impulse control to calm them.

Now instead of the pups being anxious for feeding, imagine its a pup (or pups) anxious for attention from humans! How many puppy owners reinforce or reward this type of anxious and hyper-aroused behaviour in their new puppy, believing its cute? From my experience, MOST puppy owners! Even many purely positive puppy preschools are encouraging puppy owners to reward and therefore reinforce this type of "cute" behaviour. Overly anxious and hyper-aroused behaviour is NOT cute, its psychologically damaging!

Teaching a puppy impulse control and respecting personal space is so important for the psychological welfare of your puppy. Without this type of enforcement as displayed by this mother in the video, these pups would end up psychologically unstable and overly anxious dogs that would not be welcome in their social group (pack). She knows this instinctively. We need to learn from a dogs natural instinctive behaviour, if we wish to raise future well balanced and psychologically stable dogs.

No more suckling says mother....

Negative reinforcement (R-) and reinforcing appropriate behaviours
I had a little conversation with a page follower about the mother and pups video. It was questioned why didn't the mother allow the pups to feed, immediately they settled down, to reward the calmer behaviour by the pups? My response was, the mother didn't need too, she removed the pressure she was placing on them ,that was their reward. Unlike humans, animals don't feel the need to offer positive reinforcement, every single time another animal displays appropriate behaviour ,they just set boundaries.
Removing discomfort is in itself rewarding. For example:
  • When a dog applies spatial pressure on another dog to set boundaries, and the other dog backs down/away, then the spatial pressure is removed, the dog doesn't then offer a cookie to the other dog for offering appropriate behaviour. The removal of the pressure is the reward.
  • When a dog is feeling threatened (uncomfortable) by another dog approaching, and displays aggression, and the other dog backs off, the distance its behaviour created is the reward, the dog doesn't need a cookie, to indicate it did the right thing. The removal of discomfort is the reward.
I am not suggesting we shouldn't offer positive reinforcement when we remove discomfort, however the removal of the discomfort is in itself rewarding from the dogs perspective.
The Emotive Based Unreality
Utopia doesn't exist for our dogs