Dogs are intelligent. So would they think this.

Dogs are intelligent and observant.

So do some dogs think that we feed them for the sole purpose of harvesting their shit. They must see their owners quickly bend down and pick their shit.

Therefore would some dogs shit more often to please their masters? :smack:

I don’t know of any research, but it’s very plausible. However that doesn’t require any particular intelligence, you don’t need much to be conditioned. And attributing it to “pleasing their masters” is either unanswerable or very difficult to answer.

We quickly pick up their droppings, but is that in any way rewarding to the dog?

And yes, dog owners will often praise a dog for pooping in an appropriate spot, but at the same time, they’ll also scold the dog for pooping in an inappropriate spot. I don’t think there’s any reason a dog would conclude that the pooping, in itself, is liked or disliked by humans.

My friend’s dog trainer told her to always reward her dog when he pooped so he would poop quickly on walks. It worked but he also poops multiple times on each walk to milk her for treats. It’s about two or three times on each walk and maybe eight times per day. I know one other dog who poops that frequently but she seems to come by it naturally with no reinforcing behavior from her owner.

Leet the Wonder Dog[sup]TM[/sup] knows that the purpose of Nice Walks, or one of them, is for him to go tinkle. Thus, when we were out walking on the Fourth of July and scary fireworks were happening, and he wanted to go home and hide in the closet from the scary fireworks, he understood that we weren’t returning home until he produced. Which he duly did. If “humoring grandpa so we can make a beeline for home” counts.

He thinks he has an iron-clad case whenever he sees me eating something.

[ul][li]Sitting is Good Dog.[/li][li]Good Dog gets treats.[/li][li]I am sitting.[/li][li]Do the math![/ul][/li]Regards,

Part of Guide Dog training is teaching them to relieve on command. It’s done by associating “do your business” with them relieving, so that in a while they will do it when you say “do your business.” Works. On one outing we had 20 dogs all going at once.
But I’m sure that if you rewarded a dog with treats after he poops, he’d poop a lot. When my dog was getting old, I’d give him a treat when he seemed tired during his walk to encourage him to go on. It started every block and soon became every 20 feet.

I don’t believe any dog is able to think that abstractly about their own feces. Dogs instinctively soil away from the den, but they don’t use their feces to mark an area like they do with urine and I don’t actually think they think anything about us picking up their crap any more than they do about watching humans flushing their own waste down the dog’s drinking bowl. They eat poop, dogs don’t find it repulsive.

But I also once had a collie who had been rewarded for pooping down in roadside ditches by her owner. So naturally, on every walk, she’d squat down in the long grass and pretend roughly 28 times an hour so either this dog has dysentry or she’s figured out the game. The treats stopped and her bowels calmed right down.

Do dogs really understand the eating-crapping relationship, though?

Training a dog to go because of an expectation of a future reward is different from what the OP is asking, istm. The OP is asking if dogs, by watching us pick up their crap, will then teach themselves to eat more, so they can produce more shit… and I’m pretty sure the answer to that one is “no, they do not.”

We’d give our dog a treat when he pooped. We’d say “Good boy…you pooped. You get a treat!” I swear he asks to go out more often since we started doing this. And often he’d squeeze out a little tiny turd.

He’s very food motivated.

My dog has an understanding of the drinking-peeing relationship. It’s an incorrect understanding, though: in his perception, one drinks from the bowl and produces urine 20 seconds later. It helps that we usually reward him for peeing in the designated spot.

I think your dog has an understanding of the peeing-reward relationship.

Dogs live in the moment, so JohnT is probably right that the dog does not think “hooman likes it when I poop, therefore I will eat more to poop more”. The “poop and I get a treat” relationship they certainly get.

Leet the Wonder Dog[sup]TM[/sup] gets a lot of those kind of short-term, immediate gratification relationships.
[ul][li]The “Sit -> Get some of whatever you’re eating, Grampa” relationship.[/li][li]The “Grandpa rummaging around in the humidor for a cigar -> Nice Walk” relationship.[/li][li]The “Put on your muzzle -> Go to the dog park” relationship.[/li][li]The “Grandpa is brushing his teeth and it’s night time -> jump up on the bed for combing and brushing” relationship.[/ul]But all those are immediate associations. [/li]
He also gets the [ul][li]The “I am in the car and have my muzzle on, but Grandpa is not making the correct turns for the dog park -> Going to the vet so hide under the blanket in the backseat” relationship.[/ul][/li]

Our Luna leaps out of the car at the vet’s office and pulls me toward the door. While she likes to be outside, she totally understands Humans Go Into Buildings and she wants to come along.

The fact that it’s the vet’s office doesn’t deter her. Luna is a very innocent soul.

I’m not sure about eating/crapping, but our dog understood drinking/peeing. When we left she would stop drinking from her bowl. When we returned she’d drink first thing, and then ask to be let out to pee.

If a dog is pooping 8 times a day, the dog is being over-fed and/or being fed garbage food high in filler.

If you want a well trained dog, do not leave food out for the dog to snack on all day. If you want a healthy dog, feed it decent food in the right quantity. Dogs being fed appropriately will poop 2 or 3 times a day, and that should be about it.

We give our Border Collies a cup of food in the morning each, and we take away anything un-eaten after a few minutes. Tye same happens at supper. This teaches the dog to quickly eat what’s before them.

The same goes for potty training. Take the dog out, give it a command like ‘hurry up’, and give it a few minutes to do its business. If it does, lots of praise and lots of play time. If it doesn’t, either crate the dog for an hour and then try again, or at least keep the dog completely supervised somit has no chance to have an accident.

Never let your dog pee on paper or pee-pads in the house. That will create an association in the dog’s mind that the house is okay for going to the bathroom, and it can be damned hard to break that conditioning.

All this gets much harder if you are over-feeding your dog or letting it graze on food all day. The dog will then drink more as well, and need more bathroom breaks - or it will go in the house.

And for God’s sake, don’t let your dog become obese. Not only is it cruel to the dog, but like people, fat dogs have more health issues and that can cost you a fortune.

When we housebroke our last two dogs, we trained them to do their business in one particular spot in the back yard. We rewarded them for using that spot until it became natural for them. We take them to that spot each time before and after we exercise them.

That being said, nothing we do can stop them from peeing and/or pooping anywhere and everywhere once they’re out of the back yard.

I believe Jerry Seinfeld commented on this question once:

. . . If you see two life-forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?

I don’t understand this part at all. I have never known a dog who didn’t eat everything in the bowl unless they were sick. As far as teaching them to eat quickly, we have gone to some effort to slow ours down as they seem on the verge of choking to death while inhaling their food.

Well, you’re about 1/4 right. I don’t know anyone who free-feeds their dogs. Both of the dogs that I mentioned are fed high-quality food in measured amounts. One of the two dogs is the perfect weight and is very active and healthy at 7 years old. He poops frequently, in small amounts, because he likes to get the treats. The other dog is truthfully overweight even though she is fed only what her vet recommends. I think she doesn’t get enough exercise. I am surprised her vet hasn’t recommended cutting her food down a bit.

Usually Leet the Wonder Dog[sup]TM[/sup] will vacuum up the nummy dog food like he hasn’t eaten in months, but sometimes he just isn’t hungry. I don’t think he’s sick - he’s a lively beast, always up for Nice Walks, not obese - so I just leave it in case he changes his mind.


My half-scientistic investigations indicate to me that some dogs, at least, MY dog, might have a pooping agenda. I base this on the empirical observation that, if we are out walking and some dog insults my dog from inside its front door or picture window as we pass, the next time we walk past that house, that is where he will poop. Not this time. But next time. If he has not already made a deposit on this walk, he might hit this house on the way back though, if we walk that way.

In general, he does not poop on any lawn within two houses of his own. He had a friend a couple of blocks away and he didn’t poop on that lawn for some years after his friend moved away.

(He does have a place in the yard. The one exception to the not-on-my-block rule.)