Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pavlov's Mike and Sarah's dog

Instead of a bell indicating food, and creating a salivating response...

Mike's ring-tone on my phone indicates Mike will walk through the door any second, creating a tense/on guard response in Cole.

This was completely unintentional classical conditioning.

This all started when Natalie was a baby and Mike worked evenings. Mike would walk through the door around 1AM every morning, and Cole would growl, howl, and bark every time. It was madness, we were sick of it, but didn't want to teach him NOT to bark if someone walks in our home unannounced. So Mike started calling my phone when he pulled on our street, and I would meet him at the door with Cole at my side.

Mike STILL calls when he gets home (if he's out during the day) and Cole has learned that when he hears the song "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" (my fantastic ring-tone for Mike) that Mike will walk in the door any second. Thus creating, what we call, Cole's "on guard" status.

This is what he looks like when calm:


This is what he looks like when "on guard" right after Mike called (he's looking at the front door):


Even when Mike just calls to say "hi"...Cole will expect him to be here any minute. If Mike doesn't come home right away, Cole will start crying, barking at noises, and being even more obnoxious than usual.

Oh, and just in case you're curious, this is what Cole looks like when he's being ornery!! (His ears are waaay back)

Just seconds after I snapped this picture, he put his paws on my shoulder and snuffed in my ear!!

No comments: