Dogs and apples are such good buddies that sometimes they can be like Siamese twins. One of them (probably the dog) is guarding their prey at all times. The other one (probably the apple) is licking it so well that the little hole at the bottom of the apple is untouched by its eager little tongue. The result is delicious and a nice treat for the owner.
In our modern media saturated world, this idea has been made into a song. The character of Fido from “The Simpsons” is actually singing it.
Here’s a real life example. It is not so unusual to see a dog not showing their affection towards their owner because they are thinking of the reward that would be experienced if they successfully find their prey.
Consider this: Dogs are large predator of smaller prey species. They usually do not eat anything that is not a competitor in the food chain and they will attack anything that they think is a threat to their food source.
When they get too full from eating their larger prey species, they tend to ignore their smaller prey species until they are simply starving. That is when they become much more prone to aggression towards people and other animals that might be perceived as a threat to their survival.
So you see the scenario is almost always that dogs will try to protect their small prey species and even become quite aggressive towards humans who are perceived as a threat. It’s a human flaw called “hyper-aggression” – attacking a person who is perceived as a potential threat.
It is a critical component to maintaining your dog’s health and well being and is why we never wish for our dogs to be unappreciative of our loving care. It can happen and it will happen if the dog is taken away from us. This doesn’t mean we should hurl abuse or any of the other things that we may do if they are allowed to outgrow this phase of their development.
Dogs that were bred for hunting in the wild could be excused for being afraid of humans at first. But with proper training and exposure to people, their fear should eventually subside. It is only once the dog realizes that they are a partner in the greater quest of survival that they will begin to become somewhat socialized with humans.
Dogs are naturally intelligent and sensitive and can make great friends and companions. As long as the owner has enough patience and understanding to show their dogs how to keep their emotions in check while handling people, then these friendships will continue to grow and blossom.
Now if we assume that a dog that has been eating an apple and is found licking the bottom of it, the next question is; “Do they like the taste of the apple or do they prefer the bite?” Both will affect how the dog responds to the reward and as we’ve learned, they can have an enormous impact on the overall well being of the animal.
Therefore, if a dog is doing a good job of finding its prey, then the reward is not nearly as important as whether the dog enjoys the reward or not. If the dog is already accustomed to being affectionate towards his owner because he has been taught to associate the reward of finding his prey with him licking the apple and as a result is already licking the entire fruit, then the reward of his owner’s approval or even love is a secondary reward.
Just remember, dogs are people too and humans are also capable of making mistakes and getting overly affectionate. If you can relate to any of the above, then I have faith that you too can effectively teach your dog to be a good friend and companion in the best way possible.