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Topic: Would You Rather be a Dog or a Cat?

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warioswoods

21. Posted:

clicketyclick wrote:

They learn through repetition that lying on the bed is pleasurable, but being found on the bed is displeasurable. You can train mice similarly with electrified buttons and food-dispensing buttons and stuff.

False; that's a gross over-simplification of the learning that goes on in dogs, and completely removes the social element. That's always been where there's an enormous lack of intellectual rigor by those that argue for a strictly reductive "classical conditioning" model for learning: you can assert that an a animal connects some stimulus with some action or event, but that tells you nothing about how that association is made, on what level, etc. It's an entirely different event when a dog avoids the disfavor of its owner and when a rat reacts to a bell, etc. The remarkable thing I've noticed about dogs is that, when covering tracks, it is not a matter of simply being punished for being on the bed. Their punishment is generally just a scolding word, which is devastating for a dog in that the dog is aware of the relationship with its owner, constantly observing its owner's approval / disapproval of it (in even the most subtle turns of voice), and hates losing favor for doing something it should know is wrong. It is, indeed, almost like guilt when you watch a dog that has been scolded for going against its owner on a rule it knew perfectly well.

Now, I do think imitation is a better argument, and could open up another angle for showing intelligence in cats. I'd still put say that it's an oversimplification to place imitation above sociality, language, and the need for approval, so far as the history of humanity and advancement is concerned. Prior to and outside of the process of imitation that is certainly important in children, there is the receptivity to learning from others due to a fundamental need for approval, recognition, etc that is more to be found in dogs than cats, and those complex twists in the infant-parent relationship are much more closely paralleled by that between dogs and owners than by anything in cat behavior. Because of that heightened sociality, dogs can indeed learn to recognize a much more complex system of language, gestures, and signs than cats, and I'd still argue that, while imitation is important, language and sociality rank higher if you're looking for an account of human intelligence. But I'll certainly concede that imitation in cats is something to take seriously and could be a real sign of some level of intellect.

@Chicken Brutus

Ah, thank you for that Futurama pick. One of my favorite episodes, manipulative though it may be.

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Vendetta

22. Posted:

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The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind

Edited on by Vendetta

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clicketyclick

23. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

False; that's a gross over-simplification of the learning that goes on in dogs, and completely removes the social element. That's always been where there's an enormous lack of intellectual rigor by those that argue for a strictly reductive "classical conditioning" model for learning: you can assert that an a animal connects some stimulus with some action or event, but that tells you nothing about how that association is made, on what level, etc. It's an entirely different event when a dog avoids the disfavor of its owner and when a rat reacts to a bell, etc. The remarkable thing I've noticed about dogs is that, when covering tracks, it is not a matter of simply being punished for being on the bed. Their punishment is generally just a scolding word, which is devastating for a dog in that the dog is aware of the relationship with its owner, constantly observing its owner's approval / disapproval of it (in even the most subtle turns of voice), and hates losing favor for doing something it should know is wrong. It is, indeed, almost like guilt when you watch a dog that has been scolded for going against its owner on a rule it knew perfectly well.

Dogs are animals that are used to living in packs. They live by the rules of submission and dominance, and dog trainers always emphasise that in their training. I don't think that behaviour you described should be read as anything more socially advanced than showing submission towards the owner, whom it considers as the dominant dog of the pack. The scolding may not invoke in the dog a "devastating" reaction that's "almost like guilt". It may just signal to the dog that this other animal is exhibiting all the signs of dominance and aggression that mark it as the alpha dog, so the dog submits to the alpha dog's will.

Many animals have this social mentality. Evolutionary biologists have had a lot of fun trying to explain why butterflies/moths will give up territory without a fight when they see another butterfly/moth in that spot, why birds will back down from fights when they see more dominant birds, and why certain pigs in a farmhouse become the slaves of other pigs.

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warioswoods

24. Posted:

I agree with the opening point, it is a social mentality that dogs have as a result of their evolution in packs and so forth; but my point is that it is indeed thoroughly social in nature and not really reducible or comparable to simple classical conditioning with stimuli and rewards. I think you agree to that extent. The further consequence is that, regardless of the roots of that sociality, it predisposes dogs to be able to take on much more involved interactions and to be able to get much closer to having language-like communication. That means that they can then learn behaviors that are enormously complex, like herding animals or aiding in hunting, either of which involves a whole lot of awareness of cues and context in order to make the appropriate decisions.

Edited on by warioswoods

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warioswoods

25. Posted:

@Vendetta

Awwww. Maybe the high-brow discussion should end, and everyone can just post pics of cats and dogs until one side concedes defeat by way of overpowering cuteness.

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Vendetta

26. Posted:

Cuteness and badassedness. In the same shot, no less. My favorite.

EDIT: And I've got nothing against cats, especially the ones with the personalities of dogs. I just think the relative independence of cats defeats the purpose of having them as pets.

Edited on by Vendetta

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clicketyclick

27. Posted:

Vendetta wrote:

I just think the relative independence of cats defeats the purpose of having them as pets.

Do you apply that same argument to avoid marriage?

Also...

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OldBoy

28. Posted:

Cat. I love having my cat around never knowing when he'll come and go. I like dogs (when I say dogs I mean proper dogs not these handbag ones that are so far removed from their ancestors as to be considered almost another species entirely) but I do not believe that they should be kept indoors.They are an outdoor animal and should be treated as such. I wouldn't own a dog unless I had a lot of land for it to live and run around because that is what a dog should be doing.I don't have much respect for people who get a dog then leave them at home all day while they are at work ,that is tantamount to cruelty in my book .Plus they are far too much of a burden for me I'm afraid and tie you down i.e holidays etc (no way would I leave them in a kennel !!). When I retire then I will get a Husky or German Sheperd to keep me active and I will have the required time to spend with them.

What's this bit for again?

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Vendetta

29. Posted:

Yikes, Clix... that was a bit rough, don't you think? Assuming I'd hold a wife in the same esteem as I would a pet... wow. Project much? ;)

Cute pics though, I'll give ya that.

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warioswoods

30. Posted:

I'd still rank that shot in 22 way above all the combined cat pics, but at this point we're certainly in subjective territory.

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clicketyclick

31. Posted:

Vendetta wrote:

Yikes, Clix... that was a bit rough, don't you think? Assuming I'd hold a wife in the same esteem as I would a pet... wow. Project much? ;)

Nah. Women are independent. Yet it's still worth it to have one as a companion. Why not cats? They're cuter and can't yell at you.

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Machu

32. Posted:

Vendetta wrote:

I just think the relative independence of cats defeats the purpose of having them as pets.

That's why I love 'em! If you tell a cat 'come here boy', they'll look at you like an idiot then show you their ass. I respect that. :D

I agree with Luigi78, half of my reasons for disliking dogs are more to do with their owners and the fact they shouldn't own one in the first place. They can be high maintenance, and unfortunately most owners can't be arsed.

@CC: They can still scratch your eyes out though. ;) Meow!

EDIT: @Stevie: I like that description. :)

Edited on by Machu

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Stevie

33. Posted:

I am definitely a dog person.

I am of the opinion that a dog becomes like another member of your family where as a cat is like having a cool lodger. That is the difference for me.

Edited on by Stevie

This is good

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Vendetta

34. Posted:

@Clix
Ideally, yes... but let's be realistic, it's far from always that's the case. The independent part, that is... not the having one as a companion part. ;) I've left relationships where one demands the sacrifice of individuality on the alter of insecurity. Maybe I should try cats.

@'Chu
You got issues. LOL

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pixelman

35. Posted:

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I think I've made my point.

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zane

36. Posted:

Hmm would I be a creature that eats it´s own poo, smells and drools... Dog.
or would I be intelligent and agile... Cat.

Like comparing Garfield and Odie.

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fudgenuts

37. Posted:

I would be a kitty.

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Machu

38. Posted:

The demon-cat is scary woah, but that last pic is priceless! :D

pixelman wrote:

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That one's no fair though, the poor thing's just yawning.

Edited on by Machu

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Adam

39. Posted:

Can I be a shroomdog?

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If not, a normal dog would be fine, as long as my owner promises to dress me like this.

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The_Fox

40. Posted:

zane wrote:

Hmm would I be a creature that eats it´s own poo, smells and drools... Dog.
or would I be intelligent and agile... Cat.

Like comparing Garfield and Odie.

Would I rather be an animal that has a history of eating its dead owners and couldn't protect you to save its live....cats
or would I rather be an animal that would protect its owner to the death and is totally loyal...dogs

This is easy to make one look worse than the other!

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