~“Just because you hear the music…”~

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 09:41 AM.

Well over a hundred years ago, a Russian physiologist started studying his dog, or “a dog.” A physiologist studies the functions of living organisms and how they all link up. As we all know, dogs can teach us a lot.

Ivan Pavlov studied the salivation of dogs, which sounds kind of messy. He figured out that dogs didn’t “learn” to salivate when they saw food; it was a reaction that was hard-wired into their brain. Through his research, Pavlov discovered that dogs would begin salivating when they saw or heard anything associated with food.

In his experiment, Pavlov rang a bell every time he gave the dog food. After doing this for a while, he tried just ringing the bell, and of course the dog started drooling all over the place. This slobbering to the bell was and is still called a “conditioned response.”

The bottom line was the dog heard the bell and started thinking about what it meant. He couldn’t control himself and starting watering at the mouth.

Having dogs, I understand this. The pantry door opens and one of my dogs bolts down the stairs. Dogs can hear the pantry door hinges from outside, even if you have just sprayed WD-40 all over them.

People are the same way. My Standard Poodle, Doolittle, is somewhat of a physiologist. Pavlov had his dog, Doolittle has his man. My dog has me conditioned. Anytime he rings or “bangs the bowl” with his paw, I come running to feed him.

You understand this if you’ve been around dogs. What’s interesting is my other little dog will come get Doolittle if she is hungry. She communicates with him and bosses him around. He rings the bowl for her, I put out the food and he watches as she eats.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top