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Do you believe dogs only live in the moment?


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I don’t.

I just watched Five Flights Up (a great movie by the way). The dog in the movie has a vet stay and the owners console themselves by telling themselves dogs only live in the moment (to ease their concerns that their dog is thinking of them and wants to come home). 
 

I’ve heard this said a lot. How would anyone ever know this? It can never be proven. So it makes no sense to believe it. But I don’t believe it not because it makes no sense; I don’t believe it because if you’ve ever shared your life with a dog in the way I have, you just know this simply isn’t true.

 

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no, and check out "what about bunny?" on instagram, she is communicating with buttons. She talks about wanting to play with her friends, and is told "later". and has worked out morning, afternoon, night and later. It's very interesting.   https://www.instagram.com/whataboutbunny/

 

there was one where a stranger came to the door, she barked and used the buttons "stranger" and "concerned" and then she continued to "talk" about it the rest of the day with the buttons. It was really interesting that the one incident continued to bother her all day, something. you wouldn't know without the buttons. 

 

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Yes, I think they do almost always live in the moment, except that if a dog has a very routine schedule then he will anticipate pleasurable things he knows are going to happen soon like meal times, walks, etc. But in the scenario of the movie you posted about--no, I don't think that dog is sitting around wondering where his family is and missing them. I think it's much more likely his brain is engaged observing what's going on around him.

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the owner posted about this at the beginning and said not to have a food button, they will get in a loop with it. There is a person on instagram doing this with a cat, the cat is Billi, and she did have a food button and the cat was always pressing it.  She finally took it away.  It was interesting, and "on brand" that the cat's favorite button seemed to be "mad" ! The cat is under the name "billi speaks" 

there are some video from a few months ago, where the family with Bunny moved and Bunny talks about her dog friends and is clearly thinking about them and missing them. 

 

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I am deeply madly in love with my dog.  I also realize they aren’t human so I try to keep things in perspective.  But this one…..she is so incredibly smart I would be shocked if she only lived in the moment. How does she remember where she left her ball?  I could go on and on.  

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Hen said:

the owner posted about this at the beginning and said not to have a food button, they will get in a loop with it. There is a person on instagram doing this with a cat, the cat is Billi, and she did have a food button and the cat was always pressing it.  She finally took it away.  It was interesting, and "on brand" that the cat's favorite button seemed to be "mad" ! The cat is under the name "billi speaks" 

there are some video from a few months ago, where the family with Bunny moved and Bunny talks about her dog friends and is clearly thinking about them and missing them. 

 

Oh my! I love Billi Speaks! I’m going to have to watch every single one of those videos. Thanks! 😂

Edited by Indigo Blue
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Considering dogs have been known to travel a thousand miles to find their home, have gleeful reunions with their human that they haven't seen in more than a year, freak out when they recognize they're going to the vet (when they normally like car rides), - mourn the loss of a companion (human or animal) - I think the saying "dogs only live in the moment" is naïve at best.

and if they truly "only lived in the moment" - how would they be trained?

 

ps. --  I don't think i've ever heard that saying before.

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1 minute ago, Murphy101 said:

I don’t think most animals think in the moment. They may lack impulse control, but that is not the same as living in the moment. 

dd has been working on teaching her younger dog to sit instead of jumping on people in greeting.  he's now at the stage where I could see him saying "I'm sitting, see this is me sitting" - when his bottom isn't 'quite' on the floor, and certainly moving back and forth in excitement. and he's staring intently at you to make sure you notice him so you will give him the proper greeting . . . .

and now that we have cat . . . instead of running to see me when they arrive, they run to the cat's dish to finish his food and clean his dishes.

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After my divorce, ex was out of the area for over 2 years. My dog finally saw him when he came back in the area - she went nuts and practically leaped off the deck to greet him. She definitely recognized him. 

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We went out of town for two weeks, and our cats were miserable, even tho we had folks coming in to feed them.  Obama the cat ran away and didn't come back at all the whole first week.  When we got home, he wrapped his paws around my husband's neck and wouldn't stop head butting him.  

I'm quite sure that cats do not live only in the moment.  They anticipate things and get anxious about things.  I think dogs are even more....involved in the human world.  

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3 hours ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I wish I could teach my dogs how to use buttons to talk, but my sweet, loving, wonderful golden retrievers wojld only press the “food” button all. day. Long.

Are you saying Goldens are always hungry or something?

Screenshot_20210731-205915.png

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Dogs are heckin smart; even the dumb ones, lol. Perhaps they live FOR the moment, but they know what’s what. My little pea brained puppers has everyone’s number and has mastered the long game of playing each family member to steer his day the way he’d like it to go.

There are limitations. I mean, I can’t talk about dd coming home on Thursday and have him understand that’s days away. But he does have an understanding of time that’s beyond just meals and day/night. Our cat did, too. Suitcases mean dh will be gone for days. Fire pager sounds mean people are leaving for hours. “I have to go to work” means most of the day. “Jeez, I just need a minute to pee!” means stand on the edge of furniture , tail wagging, ‘cuz they’re gonna come right back but not nearly as quickly as he’d like. “Are you kidding me right now?!?” at 3am (like this morning) means he’d better decide whether or not he really can’t hold it because that’s gonna make or break his day!

We’ve had to do a lot of behavioral work since His Person moved out, and sometimes it stresses him out when she’s here, wanting to revert to trying to eat anyone who isn’t her, but knowing there are new expectations he’s supposed to meet. You can see the conflict in him, but he works real hard to be a good boi while still basking in her presence, knowing she’s only staying a little while.

I’m just rambling because I’ve been up since 3 and couldn’t go back to sleep. He’s cuddled up with dh because he knows he needs someone on his side today!

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My dog is all about the ball……she wants it thrown for her all day.  She has this thing she does when Dh and I are sitting in bed…..she brings  the ball and puts it between us….but she only wants me to throw it.  If Dh reaches for it she puts her paw over it while staring intently at me.  It is pretty cute.  

Edited by Scarlett
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My daughter has been training her 4-5 month old labradoodle to ring a bell when she needs to go potty.  The other day she rang the bell so my daughter got up from the table to let her out.  Then she ran back and jumped on dd's chair to try to get her food!  This dog is going to be a handful!

 

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This thread shows how we all interpret things differently. Many (most) of the examples being given that are supposed to prove that dogs don't live only in the moment say the exact opposite to me.

Memory or making associations is not in any way the same thing (to me) as living in the moment.

Dog is sad when owner is away? Well yes. In that moment the dog is separated from the owner and he doesn't like it. Owner comes back and dog is joyously happy? Yes, of course. The owner is there *right then* and the dog is thrilled. Both are examples of living in the moment.

Dog goes to the vet and shakes, supposedly remembering when she was in pain? Sure. Dogs make associations all the time, and most certainly seem to associate the vet with bad things. But to me making associations is not related to living in the moment. The dog has made an association with the vet and is unhappy she's there *right then.* An example of not living in the moment would be if we could know that the dog occasionally, unprompted by any word or action by a human, thought about going to the vet and had a negative reaction. Or if during the course of a normal day the dog thought "Gee, my human has been home a lot during this human sickness thing. I'm going to hate it when they go back to that office place." But we can't know whether dogs think like that or not.

Thinking that finding a ball or other toy means they necessarily remember where they left it the way a human does? Maybe. But my guess is it's much more likely the dog knows where the ball is because she smells it.

I do think dogs have some sort of inner sense of time, and that if fed/walked/whatever pleasurable thing on a schedule they know when it's about time for that. But again I would argue that's an indication of living in the moment. They know it's about time for that pleasurable thing. They're living in the moment thinking about that thing. Right now. We're very (very) routine oriented here, and my dogs know exactly what time their walk happens (even though the time changes seasonally). And normally they get excited and do the usual "come on, come on, hurry up" stuff starting a few minutes ahead of time. Except they know if it's raining hard the walk isn't happening, and then they don't do the "hurry up" act. They know. But none of that means they're not living in the moment.

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24 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

This thread shows how we all interpret things differently. Many (most) of the examples being given that are supposed to prove that dogs don't live only in the moment say the exact opposite to me.

Memory or making associations is not in any way the same thing (to me) as living in the moment.

Dog is sad when owner is away? Well yes. In that moment the dog is separated from the owner and he doesn't like it. Owner comes back and dog is joyously happy? Yes, of course. The owner is there *right then* and the dog is thrilled. Both are examples of living in the moment.

Dog goes to the vet and shakes, supposedly remembering when she was in pain? Sure. Dogs make associations all the time, and most certainly seem to associate the vet with bad things. But to me making associations is not related to living in the moment. The dog has made an association with the vet and is unhappy she's there *right then.* An example of not living in the moment would be if we could know that the dog occasionally, unprompted by any word or action by a human, thought about going to the vet and had a negative reaction. Or if during the course of a normal day the dog thought "Gee, my human has been home a lot during this human sickness thing. I'm going to hate it when they go back to that office place." But we can't know whether dogs think like that or not.

Thinking that finding a ball or other toy means they necessarily remember where they left it the way a human does? Maybe. But my guess is it's much more likely the dog knows where the ball is because she smells it.

I do think dogs have some sort of inner sense of time, and that if fed/walked/whatever pleasurable thing on a schedule they know when it's about time for that. But again I would argue that's an indication of living in the moment. They know it's about time for that pleasurable thing. They're living in the moment thinking about that thing. Right now. We're very (very) routine oriented here, and my dogs know exactly what time their walk happens (even though the time changes seasonally). And normally they get excited and do the usual "come on, come on, hurry up" stuff starting a few minutes ahead of time. Except they know if it's raining hard the walk isn't happening, and then they don't do the "hurry up" act. They know. But none of that means they're not living in the moment.

Yes I think I agree with you completely.  I am amazed that my dog runs out in to the yard where she left her ball but she probably is just smelling it.  

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27 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

This thread shows how we all interpret things differently. Many (most) of the examples being given that are supposed to prove that dogs don't live only in the moment say the exact opposite to me.

Memory or making associations is not in any way the same thing (to me) as living in the moment.

Dog is sad when owner is away? Well yes. In that moment the dog is separated from the owner and he doesn't like it. Owner comes back and dog is joyously happy? Yes, of course. The owner is there *right then* and the dog is thrilled. Both are examples of living in the moment.

Dog goes to the vet and shakes, supposedly remembering when she was in pain? Sure. Dogs make associations all the time, and most certainly seem to associate the vet with bad things. But to me making associations is not related to living in the moment. The dog has made an association with the vet and is unhappy she's there *right then.* An example of not living in the moment would be if we could know that the dog occasionally, unprompted by any word or action by a human, thought about going to the vet and had a negative reaction. Or if during the course of a normal day the dog thought "Gee, my human has been home a lot during this human sickness thing. I'm going to hate it when they go back to that office place." But we can't know whether dogs think like that or not.

Thinking that finding a ball or other toy means they necessarily remember where they left it the way a human does? Maybe. But my guess is it's much more likely the dog knows where the ball is because she smells it.

I do think dogs have some sort of inner sense of time, and that if fed/walked/whatever pleasurable thing on a schedule they know when it's about time for that. But again I would argue that's an indication of living in the moment. They know it's about time for that pleasurable thing. They're living in the moment thinking about that thing. Right now. We're very (very) routine oriented here, and my dogs know exactly what time their walk happens (even though the time changes seasonally). And normally they get excited and do the usual "come on, come on, hurry up" stuff starting a few minutes ahead of time. Except they know if it's raining hard the walk isn't happening, and then they don't do the "hurry up" act. They know. But none of that means they're not living in the moment.

Curious at how you interpret the word mat that was linked above?  

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34 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

This thread shows how we all interpret things differently. Many (most) of the examples being given that are supposed to prove that dogs don't live only in the moment say the exact opposite to me.

Memory or making associations is not in any way the same thing (to me) as living in the moment.

Dog is sad when owner is away? Well yes. In that moment the dog is separated from the owner and he doesn't like it. Owner comes back and dog is joyously happy? Yes, of course. The owner is there *right then* and the dog is thrilled. Both are examples of living in the moment.

Dog goes to the vet and shakes, supposedly remembering when she was in pain? Sure. Dogs make associations all the time, and most certainly seem to associate the vet with bad things. But to me making associations is not related to living in the moment. The dog has made an association with the vet and is unhappy she's there *right then.* An example of not living in the moment would be if we could know that the dog occasionally, unprompted by any word or action by a human, thought about going to the vet and had a negative reaction. Or if during the course of a normal day the dog thought "Gee, my human has been home a lot during this human sickness thing. I'm going to hate it when they go back to that office place." But we can't know whether dogs think like that or not.

Thinking that finding a ball or other toy means they necessarily remember where they left it the way a human does? Maybe. But my guess is it's much more likely the dog knows where the ball is because she smells it.

I do think dogs have some sort of inner sense of time, and that if fed/walked/whatever pleasurable thing on a schedule they know when it's about time for that. But again I would argue that's an indication of living in the moment. They know it's about time for that pleasurable thing. They're living in the moment thinking about that thing. Right now. We're very (very) routine oriented here, and my dogs know exactly what time their walk happens (even though the time changes seasonally). And normally they get excited and do the usual "come on, come on, hurry up" stuff starting a few minutes ahead of time. Except they know if it's raining hard the walk isn't happening, and then they don't do the "hurry up" act. They know. But none of that means they're not living in the moment.

 

6 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Curious at how you interpret the word mat that was linked above?  

Oops. I have my answer in the other thread. Thanks. 

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6 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

Dogs are heckin smart; even the dumb ones, lol.  

I don't know - we used to have the dumbest dog I've ever come across on this street.  He'd sit in the middle of the street and refuse to move for cars.  Not enough room to go around.   we'd lay on the horn, and he'd just look at you.   the owners said he frequently hit his head on a table when he'd go underneath it . . . I was happy to see they dog move away after a few years . . . . .

1 hour ago, SanDiegoMom said:

My daughter has been training her 4-5 month old labradoodle to ring a bell when she needs to go potty.  The other day she rang the bell so my daughter got up from the table to let her out.  Then she ran back and jumped on dd's chair to try to get her food!  This dog is going to be a handful!

 

more lab than poodle?    1dd's older austrailian labradoodle only thinks of food.  he will stare at you so you will be sure to see his pinched cheeks (he's on the heavy side).  She calls him "secret agent ___" because he's a real opportunist and even though he's medium sized, will steal off the counters (or anywhere else) if it's within reach. (and he thinks he can get away with it.)

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2 hours ago, SanDiegoMom said:

My daughter has been training her 4-5 month old labradoodle to ring a bell when she needs to go potty.  The other day she rang the bell so my daughter got up from the table to let her out.  Then she ran back and jumped on dd's chair to try to get her food!  This dog is going to be a handful!

 

I've seen this type of behavior in other dogs, even one of my own. Our previous dogs were a beagle and a Brittany. Usually the beagle would sleep on an old chair we had in the bedroom (we kept it just for her) and the Brittany would sleep on a dog bed. But occasionally the beagle would decide she wanted the dog bed, so she'd come over and nudge me until I woke up a little and started petting her. The Brittany couldn't stand to miss out on any attention, so he'd get up to get his share of petting. And then the beagle would promptly go settle on the dog bed. She was a very smart dog, but thankfully she used her intelligence mostly in benign ways. 😉 

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I suspect that dogs are similar to young children, in that they can remember and anticipate certain things, but basically they live in the Eternal Now.

I also suspect that we adult humans wildly overestimate our capacity to NOT just live in the moment.

 

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1 hour ago, gardenmom5 said:

I don't know - we used to have the dumbest dog I've ever come across on this street.  He'd sit in the middle of the street and refuse to move for cars.  Not enough room to go around.   we'd lay on the horn, and he'd just look at you.   the owners said he frequently hit his head on a table when he'd go underneath it . . . I was happy to see they dog move away after a few years . . . . .

Dogs’ brains can have issues just like humans’ can, too. When I think about dumb ones, I’m thinking goofy, not impaired. Like, I assume the owner was dumb for letting their dog in the road, but I suppose they could be too impaired to keep a dog safe. 🤷‍♀️ 

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30 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Dogs’ brains can have issues just like humans’ can, too. When I think about dumb ones, I’m thinking goofy, not impaired. Like, I assume the owner was dumb for letting their dog in the road, but I suppose they could be too impaired to keep a dog safe. 🤷‍♀️ 

The owners were of normal intelligence.  foolish maybe, but not impaired.

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5 hours ago, Scarlett said:

My dog is all about the ball……she wants it thrown for her all day.  She has this thing she does when Dh and I are sitting in bed…..she brings  the ball and puts it between us….but she only wants me to throw it.  If Dh reaches for it she puts her paw over it while staring intently at me.  It is pretty cute.  

Back when poor Chip could see or hear the ball, if he couldn’t convince any of us to keep playing ball 24/7, he would take it upstairs just to drop it either down the stairs or over the rails to the living room so that he could go chase it. He would do that repeatedly.

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