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Is a dog a good role model?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This might sound like a stupid question, but can a cat learn behavior from a dog?

Here's the situation: I have had spunky for 3 years. My parents have had Snickers, a miniature dachshund, for roughly the same time. For the first 2 1/2 years I've had Spunky, we lived several hours away, although we visited regularly. The two animals got along OK - a little wrestling, a little dancing, a lot of chasing.

Back in January, I moved back in with my parents, and Spunky and Snickers became "roommates." The get along fine -- the dog tries to play with her like a dog, and at first she was submissive. But after a couple of weeks Spunky started standing up for herself and they get along OK now. The dog is still a bit aggressive, but she doesn't take any crap from him -- Spunky even starts the games sometimes.

The dog exhibits typical dog behavior when we eat -- he begs, jumps, paws at us, etc. For this, of course he is rewarded. Spunky is very good, though, and just lays on the desk and watches us eat - and seems to have little or no interest in "people food", which is fine with us. Spunky would get her treats in my room, when I was watching TV or working on the computer.

Now, here's the weird part. Until about a week ago, she would walk into the room when I was at my desk, and sit there and look so cute (awwwww) and I would give her a few treats. But now, she walks in, sits there, and if I don't give her a treat within about 10 seconds, she raises up, hits my leg with her front paws, and keeps doing that until I give her treats.

I maintain that she learned this by watching Snickers beg and get food, but my parents (ugh - dog people!) don't think that she can reason out an action like that.

What do you fine folks think? Did she learn this from watching the dog, or is it a random action that I have reinforced with the treats?

Thanks for your opinions.

post #2 of 5
I think kitties are very smart and she is no exception! See what else you can teach her.
post #3 of 5
Sounds like she is kneading. She is using both paws one after the other?
Sorry to say, kneading is a typical cat behavior, she didn't learn that from a dog.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Sometimes with one paw, but usually with both.

I've had her since she was a kitten, and she hardly ever kneads. And when she does, it's several "pokes" in sequence. This is one poke, with either one or both paws, and then back down to sitting. It's just like how the dog begs, except not as persistent or noisy!
post #5 of 5
I think a cat can learn from other cats. So why can't they learn from a dog in certain circumstances? Sometimes animals do things that by using common sense, aren't possible.

My parent's cat Frisky awakened my Mom after my brother David had his tomsils removed. Mom found David hemmoraging, and took him back to the hospital. Frisky probably saved his life. How did she know he was bleeding, and know to get Mom, not the older brother sleeping in the room with David?

Or the neighbors daschund that I was feeding while they were on vacation. Sunday morning, I walked in the front door (as I did every day I cared for her), and found her on the couch (where I always found her). I told her that Larry and Shirley would be home after church. When I got home from my church, I couldn't find her initially. She was in the kitchen, under the table, staring at the back door, where her owners always came in. Every Sunday they told her they would see her after church. But she understood when I told her, that they would be back. Is that possible? Yes, because it happened.

I think Spunky learned from Snickers, then you reinforced it by giving treats!
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