Pavlov’s Dog…gone wrong??

Before Christmas last year I wanted to teach our dog, Kyoto, how to open presents.  Kyoto is an Akita and they are VERY smart.  My goal was to teach him how to rip open the cardboard box and inside I would have enticing treats.  He already showed that he really liked cardboard boxes to begin with.  Usually he would take the cardboard pieces, usually long and flat, and possess them, so he could…possess them. “Mine”, “No wait, that’s mine!” During the past summer he had a favorite cardboard piece and whenever we tried to recycle it he would lay on it and start playing with it.  We’d make sure he wasn’t ‘too-possessive’ over it and pick it up and move it to make sure he’d always be okay with things not being ‘his’ per-say.

His whole interest in them made me wonder if I could not only teach him how to tear open a box, but he could also break down boxes with us.  That way he could feel like he was proudly doing a job too and help us instead of stare at us.  So, he started to really get into it.  When it was recycling day, he’d come over and just start helping us tear the boxes apart.  Any large boxes, he’d attack without resistance.  He loved when it was garage day and a lot of boxes were thrown in the middle of the garage! You can probably tell where this is going by now… if so, continue to play along. For Christmas, he was a champ!  He definitely knew what to do when the box was in front of him ready for tearing open.  Especially when we’d say “Get that box!”


Yes, he learned very well and perhaps a little too well… When we finally took down the tree and put it in the box, we found out that we were out of box tape.  Scott moved the box to the garage and when we next made it to home depot we’d pick up some tape.  Which we did purchase this week…unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough.

This morning it was pouring down rain and usually when it’s raining this hard, we’ll leave the garage door open so Kyoto will have a nice dry place to go. (though, we rarely see him inside as he seems to love the rain and cold-he is a snow dog after all.)  So that’s what Dad did.. he left the door open for the dog and we continued on with our morning rituals.  At some point, while I was making breakfast, Scott went outside and noticed that our dog-son had been busy working on that tree box…

He came back inside and said “Hon, it’s raining outside so I opened the garage door for Kyoto…well, I think you need to see the garage…”
In my mind, I already knew what that dog did.  I said “He got the tree box, didn’t he?”
A few chuckles slipped from his mouth and he said “Really good.  Pieces are everywhere… we shouldn’t get upset though, you know, we kinda trained him to do that.”
I smiled in agreement,  “yeah, sure.. and the tree wasn’t messed up?”
“No, but you gotta see the box, he really got it good!”
I laughed, “What did you say to Kyoto when you saw it.”
His voice quieted a bit with this next sentence, “I said, Good Boy Kyoto!”

Seriously, pieces were absolutely everywhere!

I’d like you to take notice that there’s a perfectly good shoe in the path of this destruction and many other things he could have chewed, but only kept to boxes…

Tree Box Demolished

I couldn’t help but laugh!  It’s true… the dog was doing his job at least someone was!  It was obviously we weren’t!!

He must have been on serious patrol because he even found one by the squat bar on the other side of the Jeep.  LOL!


Well, like the subject of this blog post says “Pavlov’s dog…gone wrong??”

To this I’d answer:  Dog 1: Humans 0.

Does this post have anything to do with Healthy eating or a healthy lifestyle?

Yes and No.  While it doesn’t directly connect to healthy eating, it does have a little bit to do with a healthy lifestyle.  It’s really important to understand the psychological aspect to how we treat the beings around us, especially one’s that are learning from us.  When we think about how we respond to our pets or our children, it’s especially important to remember they respond TO us and we teach them everything.  In a realistic reflection, how we treat others is really how we treat ourselves.  Consciously or sub-consciously, directly or indirectly we are connected to their learning behavior as well as our own.

For example, some people might believe that this dog was misbehaving. In reality he was really following a silent order.  Boxes are meant to be destroyed, see a box, demolish it.

It’s also important to not get angry or frustrated in a situation like this, no matter how challenging it may be.  The best thing you can do is a self-reflecting exercise and the next time you get into a challenging situation (where you may feel even a hint of frustration) stop and ask yourself this question, “what can I learn/gain from this situation?”

For us, there were a few answers to that question.

  1. Don’t leave the garage door open unless we want our little worker bee to get to get a job or two done.
  2. Pay attention to what is left out carelessly.
  3. Take care of tasks as soon as possible.
  4. Confusing the dog by punishing him for a task we’ve assigned him to, will only cause damage to his psyche.
  5. If it angers me or frustrates me, what is causing those feelings within myself?  (Usually it will come down to self-worth.)  If you are feeling those feelings, most likely at some point in your life you learned that frustration was a way of handling a stressful or challenging situation.  It is very challenging to confront those feelings and think about them rationally before reacting to a situation.  However, the more you work on your reactions the easier and more naturally it becomes for you to unlearn those same behaviorisms.  That way when something happens that is a result of life you’ll be able to learn from the situation and keep your emotional state in tact.  You’ll also feel more peaceful and may even laugh at the situation.  The goal is to always be able to laugh at it because ‘shit’ will happen.
  6. Last but not least…Take it with a grain of salt.  It is after all, just a box.  Besides…the hubster wanted a tree bag anyway. It’s actually a WIN/WIN sort of situation if you think about it. 🙂
    (Dog feels proud of a task done well/ we don’t have to tape up the annoying tree box after all.)

Want to learn more about what Pavlov’s Dog means?  Read this interesting article and if you got a few minutes watch the youtube clip.  It’s an interesting educational video-for those who find classic conditioning of value.

Thanks for reading my blog!