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Before That | After This

See Emily Play

I have many Ideas about what to post.  I expect I will be a prolific blogger.  In the future I will talk about the Alphabet and Helioparalysis, but today my topic is the game of Fetch.

Fetch is not as simple as the 'human throws, dog chases and brings back' paradigm.  There are many variants.  For instance, there is 'human throws, dog chases, dog fails to find, dog returns without' and its corollary, 'human throws, dog chases, dog fails to find, dog brings back something else'.  There is also 'human throws, dog chases and brings back but fails to surrender' - that is one of my favourite variants because it combines the game of Fetch with another favourite of mine, Tug-of-War (also known as 'Never Give Up, Never Surrender').  These variants on the game of Fetch are the ones I play when I am feeling Energetic.

When I am feeling Clever, the game of Fetch is played differently.  It goes something like this:

I sit on the couch with an item that I am allowed to chew or otherwise consume.  Using my paw or my nose, I throw the item off the couch.  I then look at the nearest human, and wait until the human understands that he or she must Fetch the item.  The human brings the item back, and then I might chew it for a while, or I might throw it again straight away.

This game is a perfect example of how Classical Conditioning can, in fact, work against a human.  I have learned that the human will pick up things for me if I drop them, and I am conditioning other humans to do the same.  It helps that I can look Adorable and Mournful on demand when I have, in fact, sneakily thrown the item rather than having it drop and become too difficult for me to reach.

Humans have discovered that Classical Conditioning is a very simple concept.  They have not, on the whole, realised that it is so simple that a small, funny lookin' dog can learn how to use it against them.

Humans can be obtuse sometimes.


Jun. 24th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC)
Doesn't Helioparalysis mostly affect cats?
Jun. 24th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, but I am a Special Case.