Dog Training

The woo. It hurts sometimes.

On the one end of the spectrum you have people who try to accept that the animal in question knows what it is doing and is buying cookies with a leaf. On the other end of the spectrum you have people who reject that the dog is buying cookies with a leaf and how can this be real.

Language . . . plays an enormous role in the structuring of a human mind, and the mind of a creature lacking language — and having really no need for language — should not be supposed to be structured in these ways. Does this mean that languageless animals “are not conscious at all” (as Descartes insisted)? This question always arises at this moment as a sort of incredulous challenge, but we shouldn’t feel obliged to answer it as it stands. Notice that it presupposes something we have worked hard to escape: the assumption that consciousness is a special all-or-nothing property that sunders the universe into two vastly different categories: the things that have it . . . and the things that lack it. . . . While the presence of language marks a particularly dramatic increase in imaginative range, versatility, and self-control . . . these powers do not have the further power of turning on some special inner light that would otherwise be off.

Daniel Dennett

This kind of behavior is easy to train, even by accident. Like the football dog in a previous story, the dog in the image above was given a treat for a leaf at some point. The connection was made and the dog thinks it can get food for leaves, reinforced every time someone gives him food in exchange for leaves. He doesn’t just go to this one place. I’m sure of this. And not to everyone, either. He’s going to favor people and places where reciprocation has occurred before. It’s not even a stretch of a dog’s mental ability, depending on the dog.

ABC NewsThe Dog Who Knows 1,000 Words | CUTE ANIMALS (Episode 5) – Feb 9, 2011

To summarize. The dog doesn’t know he’s paying for anything. He trades leaves he can’t eat for food that he can eat. Leaves that are available all over the place. He does this with people in places he knows will give him food for leaves. It is truly amazing what dogs can do, but we need to be careful not to anthropomorphize their behavior. Because they aren’t people, they are dogs.



Tips are not gifts. Apparently most people do not understand the concept that tips are not gifts. Waitstaff are underpaid to a degree that should be criminal. The average wage for waitstaff in the US is just a little over $2 an hour. This means that your tips are the vehicle that allows your waiter to do the job they do. If you stiff a waiter you are forcing them to work for free.

 A tip is at its heart a bribe. You gain a reputation for being a good tipper at places you frequent, and you get better service the next time you come in. This entire structure is a hold-over from the days when waitstaff were essentially indentured servants or members of the owner’s family who made no money of their own. It was a way to signal to the waiter that you understood the value of their work, even if the owner of the establishment did not. When wage laws were being passed, tipping was a thing that restaurants and other places that had wait staff wanted encoded into the wage laws, because it was a way to externalize the costs of doing their business. Profits are made and lost on externalizing business costs.

Because of this business pressure, tipping became a thing that we do in the modern world. It probably shouldn’t be a thing anymore.

Freakonomics Radio – Should Tipping Be Banned? (Ep. 129) – June 3, 2013

New research from Harvard Business School’s Magnus Thor Torfason finds a strong, positive correlation between tipping behaviors and corruption. Countries where tips are more frequent tend to rank higher on the Corruption Perceptions Index, which academics use to measure national differences in corruption.

Businesses should simply pay their staff enough money that they can live on it in the first place and that way everyone’s wages in the business reflect their contribution to the end product, whatever that product is. Rent seeking (activities like tipping) should be stamped out wherever it is discovered. In the meantime continue tipping your waiter anyway. No need to add another injustice to an unjust system.

Facebook – Snopes