Not F***ing Cheerios, That's for Sure

Yesterday a friend told us a joke.
One night, two boys decide to swear in front of their mother to see what happens. The next morning they come for breakfast and the mother asks "So what would you boys like for breakfast?"

The first boy says, "I'll have some f***ing Cheerios."
"What did you say?  the mother blows up and gives him such a smack that he falls off his chair.

She then asks the other boy, "What do you want for breakfast?"
The boy replies, "I don't know but not f***ing Cheerios, that's for sure."

We laughed—it's a pretty funny joke.

Then I suddenly saw a parallel to dog training.

How much can a dog learn from being punished?

Not only punishing your dog will hurt your relationship—is there any way the dog can actually figure out what they're being punished for?

A human being should be able to reason out what the real cause of the punishment was. Though, let's face it, overall, as a species, we don't learn very well at all.

If the dog cannot figure out what the problem was, how are they going learn anything?

Dogs are very good learners but only when they understand the cause and effect. With punishment, the best case scenario is that they won't learn much of anything. The worst case scenario is that they'll learn fear.

I think we should all mediate on this joke and how it relates to dog training.

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  1. Well put! Thanks. (And I liked the joke too.)

    1. Thank you, Kelley. It IS a funny joke, isn't it? Only a crazy dog person would think of dog training while laughing at it :-)

  2. Good joke and excellent point. I'm afraid dogs don't have the ability to put cause & effect into context - especially after the fact.

    1. There is no way for them to figure it out after the fact. I still remember what Stanley Coren described in one of his books, when an owner comes home to torn up shoes. The dog knows he's in trouble and perhaps might know that it has something to do with the shoe pieces, so he's thinking, "should I have made smaller pieces? "Should I have arrange them further apart?"

  3. That joke is such a perfect encapsulation of why punishment does not work! Unfortunately it took me far too long to figure out with my previous dogs that removing access to the trash (management) was the solution instead of yelling at them when I came home to a garbage party. Thanks for joining the Hop.

    1. Thank you, Lara. You did figure it out, that's what's important :-)

  4. That's my new favorite joke, and a perfect example regarding using punishment.

    1. Thank you, Jen. I thought of that parallel almost immediately. I'm totally gone to the dogs, aren't I?

  5. How clever to tie the joke, which I liked too btw, to dog training. I think positive reinforcement works well with humans too LOL.
    I still come home to a garbage party quite regularly (only the recycling is within the little ninja's reach, sort of). I never punish Kilo of course, but I'm pretty sure he knows I do not appreciate the mess. However the fun of playing with all the plastic bottles etc is well worth any sighs from me. The only solution is to keep looking for better spots out of reach. XS

    1. I'm hoping using the joke might make it easier to sink in.

      Yes, the easiest way to deal with garbage parties is management/keeping it out of reach. I our house, bottles and boxes are allowed; Cookie doesn't steal any but she'll ask when she wants one LOL

      Some days the floor looks like a battle field.

  6. Wow. That video is really impactful. I will definitely share.

    1. Awesome video, isn't it? Poor guy and everybody's laughing. Kind of can't help that.

  7. Oh love this post. I hate it when I see negative reinforcement being used inappropriately. Great info and I like the joke too!

    1. :-) I'm happy not to use negative reinforcement at all, other than clearing of the throat every now and then or a shout to stop a mad dash to some place.

  8. You are so right about punishment! It doesn't really work well for anyone - especially not our pets. Cats don't respond well to punishment either. It can actually set training back a ways. Positive reinforcement is the only thing that actually teaches the intended lesson.

    1. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It's true for dogs too.

  9. Poor Isidro! What a trouper he is to have continued with the experiment. Excellent video, I loved that joke too & how the joke tied in to it perfectly. Having lunch w/ my good friend Barbara today, I'm going to tell her that joke, I bet she'll crack up laughing like I did! Thanks for an excellent post.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Thank you, Cathy, I hope Barbara will enjoy the joke too. And hopefully, it might do some good to the dogs out there.

  10. Punishment doesn't work for our fur children (not really for humans either). Thank you for sharing the information.

    1. Gotta wonder when were finally going to learn that as a species.

  11. Haha very interesting. Love the video as well!!

    1. I think everybody who has a dog should see that video.


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