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Maslow's theory applied to dogs

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Maslow's theory applied to dogs
  • Does Maslow's human hierirarchy of needs apply in some form or another for dogs.  Maslow's model does give an understanding of motivation, training, and self devleopment but I seem not to see the 'need' element in training methods applied to dogs.

    http://www.businessballs.com/maslow.htm

     

  • There's a lot of problems with Maslow's theory, at least in how it applies to humans.  I don't really consider it when training dogs.  I don't use "needs" to train dogs, they are a given (meals, shelter, social time, interaction with other dogs/people).  I do not withhold those things or dole them out as training rewards.  For training, I use something very specific that the individual dog really enjoys.  For example, Kenya loves the "ok, up!" game.  This is obviously not a basic need of a dog, but I use it for motivation and reward.  Coke's current reward of choice is string cheese, again, not a "need" for any dog.  The rewards I use for training during the behavior are low to medium value.  I would think a basic need is pretty valuable, thus it would never be an affective reward for the way I train.

  • DPU

    Does Maslow's human hierirarchy of needs apply in some form or another for dogs.  Maslow's model does give an understanding of motivation, training, and self devleopment but I seem not to see the 'need' element in training methods applied to dogs.

    http://www.businessballs.com/maslow.htm

     

     

     

    I think it might apply somewhat to all animals, however I don't see how it applies in training.  To apply the theory would necessarily mean withholding one of the "needs" to use as a reward.  Since these are all basic needs, withholding one or more would be abuse, in my estimation.

     

     

    The top two on the pyramid from your link, don't really apply to dogs at all.  But the bottom three, as I stated, are basal survival needs. 

  •  Well, IMO, training leads to a fulfillment of the "esteem needs." And I do believe that dogs have this, though not quite in the same way as people.

    One well respected idea in child psychology is that while a child needs to know that it is loved and has a "safe base" with its family, real, healthy, "self-esteem" is best created by setting up situations in which the child can succeed and then rewarding the child for doing so. Not just rewarding the child for no apparent reason, because that can lead to unrealistic self-views.

    IMO, this applies very well to dog training. Of course we provide love and "belongingness" to our dogs, regardless of what they do. I still love my dog after he chews up my shoes. This gives him a "safe base" with me and allows for a trusting relationship between us. He knows I'm not going to boot him out on the street if he misbehaves, and that he can trust me even if he knows I'm upset.

    However, I want to build his own self-confidence and "self-esteem" (at least the doggie equivalent - feelings of satisfaction, perhaps?) by letting him know what behaviors I want from him and then rewarding him for doing them. Potty outside? Goooood boy. You picked up your squeaky toy and left my dirty laundry alone? Goooood boy. I do think dogs can feel some sort of pride, or at least some sort of feeling of being pleased with themselves for something they've done.

    I think it's debatable whether or not dogs are capable of "self-actualization" (heck, sometimes I wonder if people are :-p). However, I think by setting consistent, clear expectations for our dogs and then rewarding them for fulfilling those expectations we certainly encourage feelings of "achievement" in our dogs. And since there can be no achievement without challenge, training is IMO the best way to accomplish that.

    ("Training" doesn't have to mean just "tricks," however. At least not to me. It's also teaching a shy dog how to play nicely in a group, or teaching an aggressive dog to calm down, or a stressed dog to relax a bit. In my definition, "training" is working to modify the dog's behavior in any way.) 

  • Xerxes

    The top two on the pyramid from your link, don't really apply to dogs at all.  But the bottom three, as I stated, are basal survival needs. 

    Thank you Xerxes.  If you know my postings, I think taking this pyramid into consideration is the basis to my approach in behavior modification (good and bad) and how I train a dog in basic obedience.  I think everyone agrees that OC and Learning Theories explains the how and why a dog learns but also I think *knowing* the dog and identifying what needs are being filled, influences the approach to BehMod/training.  Of late, I have seen a lot of postings using the word "basic needs" and my definition of "basic needs" is the lowest rung on the pyramid because that is what is physically needed to sustain life.  Interesting you consider the bottom three where I consider two of those as essential but relate to quality of life.  We have talk about the top two wrungs here especially being the root cause of a lot of behaviorial problems. 

  •  I also consider the bottom 3 to be essential, basic needs. I know my dog would rather go without food than go without human companionship, for example. Heck, me too, for that matter.

  • yup. One provides the bottom three rungs to dogs before you even consider thinking about behavioral modification. And many, but not all, so-called behavioral problems simply disappear if you do properly meet the needs as described in those bottom three rungs.

  • The question was "Does Maslow's human hierirarchy of needs apply in some form or another for dogs."  From the postings, it is recognize that all the needs listed are essential to the dogs to have a happy and fulfilled life.  Some posters lumped together the last 3 rungs on the ladder and called them basic needs.  Does that response say the theory does not apply?  Maslow's theory categorizes and orders these needs and says the lower needs have to be satisfied first before the higher level needs are to be addressed.  He distinguishes the needs into two categories called the deficiency needs and the growth needs.  I also think that the drivers that motivate will change depending on what need level is addressed. 

    So food as a motivator would be associated with behavior to fulfill a Biological and Physciological need.  Affection would be the motivator that satisfies the belongingness or social need of the dog.  The Belongingness and Esteem needs is where behavior modification and training are at.  Just my thinking and why I have a different view to training approaches than most. 

  • DPU
    Interesting you consider the bottom three

     

    If dogs weren't social animals the "need for belonging" wouldn't be a basic need.  Dogs can survive without interaction, but I feel that interaction and the "need for belonging" is essential to the survival of canis familiaris, our companions. Without that need for belonging all this debate about "pack structure this" and "pack structure that" would be meaningless.

  • So food as a motivator would be associated with behavior to fulfill a Biological and Physciological need.  Affection would be the motivator that satisfies the belongingness or social need of the dog.  The Belongingness and Esteem needs is where behavior modification and training are at.  Just my thinking and why I have a different view to training approaches than most. 

    no, most motivators used in training are "dessert". The dog is well-fed and has no biological need for that smelly bit of liver- but boy, does he want it. The dog gets 6 hours of petting and affection daily and belongs 24/7 to his "group", so he has no unfulfilled needs there, but hey, it always feels good to have your ears scratched and be told how wonderful you are. The dog gets formally exercised and played with daily, and has no biological need to chase the frisbee, but hey, it's fun to do anyway. Many dogs also appear to actively enjoy the training process and enjoy performing the behaviors; many dogs, for example, simply LOVE to run agility and happily do it without any external motivators at all.

  • mudpuppy
    happily do it without any external motivators at all.

     

     

    The key is enjoyment.  If behaviors, such as agility, are ingrained as being enjoyable and pleasing, then the rewards are intrinsic.  So the behavior itself becomes the reward.

     The same general association can be made by the dog that barks or chews out of boredom.  The behavior of barking or chewing is very rewarding.  This is why management of the environment is crucial to ensure that unwanted behaviors are never given the chance to appear.
     

     

     

  • mudpuppy

    Many dogs also appear to actively enjoy the training process and enjoy performing the behaviors; many dogs, for example, simply LOVE to run agility and happily do it without any external motivators at all.

    Hmmm, I have never seen any of my dogs go through the agility course in my backyard without me being present and cheering them on and waving affectionately on the sideline, as their very own nonedible motivator.  A higher level need being matched by a higher level motivator.

  • really? mine do. Seen them run whatever course is set up while I'm inside.  I think you're taking the shape of the pyramid a little too literally- just because it's higher on the pyramid doesn't mean it's a "higher value" motivator; in fact, the opposite. I think the pyramid just means that someone who is starving is unlikely to motivated by concerns about self-esteem or be motivated by wanting to belong to the group.

  • Not that they are higher or more valued motivators but they are a matching or more appropiate motivator for a higher level need.

    I really need to see a video of your dogs working the agility course on their own without a human being present.  Only then would I believe.  Well, may be if others would confirm your experience it would also get closer to be more creditable.

  • DPU

    mudpuppy

    Many dogs also appear to actively enjoy the training process and enjoy performing the behaviors; many dogs, for example, simply LOVE to run agility and happily do it without any external motivators at all.

    Hmmm, I have never seen any of my dogs go through the agility course in my backyard without me being present and cheering them on and waving affectionately on the sideline, as their very own nonedible motivator.  A higher level need being matched by a higher level motivator.

    I have twice................my agility ring is also not in my backyard.  It is about 250 ft from the house and is fully fenced.  One day I couldn't find Petie in the house but was still looking for him inside (he likes to sleep in odd places like the shower)

    As I happened to walk past a closed window I located my dog, he was in the agility ring, flying along making up his own courses and having the time of us life.  Now that I knew where he was, I watched from indoors, very curious as to which equipment he would choose and making bets with myself as to what he would choose.  He also didn't run the sequence that we had been training 3 days prior (unless he did it when I was't looking)  Nobody outside the only thing near him was my horses.  Turns out, he has slipped out the door when someone went outside for a moment, they were later read the riot act for not noticing him.