What Motivates Dogs?

I read with great interest this article from the NYT about dog behavior: dogs responding positively to stimulus will wag their tail predominantly to the right, whereas dogs unsure or hostile will wag to the left, and this is tied to left and right-brain activity. When we tried to duplicate the results at home, we were stymied by the fact that our dogs were born without tails. Chico has a little stump, but instead of wagging back and forth, he does a counter-clockwise rotation, like a helicopter blade. However, my innovative research partner took the project in a new direction, and armed with snacks and a cellphone camera, researched a dog’s willingness to enter gainful employment for treats.

Dogs will work for Lil’ Smokies beef sausages.

These dogs offered to sit, stay, dance, wash a car, and complete tax forms (the E-Z, not the 1040) for the Lil’ Smokies that they were offered. The little one offered to write the sequel to Wild Hogs, the John Travolta motorcycle movie.

Dogs will not work for an apple. Please note the total lack of interest.

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