Animal training is, simply put, the manipulation of behavior. We teach them to respond to specific conditions or stimuli for various purposes, such as companionship, protection, and entertainment. Sometimes, however, the roles get reversed.
Last week, Reddit user Bb345687 asked other people on the platform "What has your pet accidentally conditioned you to do?" The post went viral immediately.
"I actually asked the question in response to another question I had seen the same day, 'What have you accidentally conditioned your pet to do?'" Bb345687 told Bored Panda. "These kinds of role-reversal follow-up posts are pretty common, though usually, the initial post asks a question of men or of women and the follow-up post will ask about the other binary gender. I just thought it'd be funny to include the voices of our pets in the conversation."
From changing the water in a pet's bowl to waking up early, the responses have been pouring in, and as of this article, there are over 11,000 of them. Looks like our pets have gotten pretty good at getting us to dance to their tune.
(The photos used in the article are stock images and not from the people who commented)
I talk in a very feminine voice to my dog, she was a abused rescue and was scared of men... so being a man, I just change my voice when I would talk to her.
Bb345687 said they've definitely had pets condition them to do different kinds of things in the past as well. Accidental or intentional, they can only guess. "The example that comes to mind is that once I was trying to train my cat to scratch her scratching post instead of my carpet, so I'd give her a treat every time she used her scratching post. She learned to expect the treat, though, and even after she was consistently using the scratching post, she'd come get me to get her treat," Bb345687 recalled. "Now I just instinctively move towards the treat bag whenever I hear her using her scratching post."
I will stay in bed a extra hour or so every morning, doing work on my phone, purely so Gypsy can get in some prime snuggles.
When my alarm goes off, Gypsy comes running in and announces her pleasure of having an awake human to give her pets. We spend 10 minutes doling out lovies before she finds a spot to snuggle against me. Then I stay here. Don’t move. Don’t disturb the kitty.
She always looks disappointed on the days she doesn’t hear my alarm and I meet her in the livingroom instead.
Bb345687 said the attention their post has received was super overwhelming, definitely not something they had expected. "I didn't find the 'disable inbox replies' button until really late in the game, so I got a few thousand notifications throughout the day," they explained.
The upside is that they get to read through a lot of the responses. "I'd say I learned that it's crazy how similar and yet so different our pets can be. So many people had hilarious or cute stories of the ways in which their pets are quietly manipulating them, but each one was unique and often heartwarming.
"It really highlighted the kinds of important roles our pets can play in our daily lives."
My cat has helped me with my ptsd. We had an armed home invasion a handful of years ago where they busted the door in and so whenever I hear loud banging, or noises in the house that I dont recognize, then it can make me go into a full on panic. Knowing my cat can hear way better than I can and will always go to the door is she hears someone outside of it, I've started looking at my cat to see if she is concerned about the sounds before my anxiety is ramped up too badly.
It has vastly improved my mental wellbeing.
Whenever my cat does something bad I hiss at her (not aggressively, just enough so she'll understand not to scratch the couch, jump on the table, etc.) since she doesn't understand the concept of no. We got a kitten about a month ago, so I've started to need to discipline him more often.
Anyway my friend was annoying me the other day and out of pure habit I hissed at him. The people around me just turned in my direction and I felt like a psychopath lmao
My cat has 3 legs so he can’t bury his poop. I now follow him out when he poops to cover it for him or he gets very anxious. I’m not sure exactly when this started, but I’m officially a sh*t shoveler.
Calm down when I start to lose my temper or get frustrated. Whenever he hears me sigh or swear, he runs to me, rests his chin on my arm or leg and looks up at me with concern. This has made me so aware of how my energy can impact those around me and I have really gotten my anger under control since he started doing this. He's one of the goodest boys and I am grateful for him every day.
I've shared this before, but I got my dog Snoopy when I was 10 years and ever since he was a puppy he had this weird love for lettuce. He would go absolutely nuts for it, so whenever I had a sandwich or a burger I would give him some of my lettuce.
Over the years it became a ritual that whenever I prepared any food for myself that involved lettuce, I would grab some extra lettuce for him, so I could toss it to him as I ate.
He passed away 5 years ago after nearly 17 years together, but I still find myself grabbing that bit of extra lettuce for him. It's kind of funny that his little quirk has still stuck with me for all these years and I honestly never want it to go it away, because it's a little way for me to remember him.
One of my dogs has several barks: a play bark and a squirrel bark and other dog things that are normal dog barks. He also had what we call his “emergency bark”. The emergency bark is what he does when he thinks there is serious danger. It is EXTREMELY loud and makes us jump every time. He usually reserves it for things like the time I fell down the stairs and he scream barked for my husband to help, or when someone is in our front yard, or when he cornered a possum in the backyard.
However, since my husband started working from home this dog barks his emergency bark at my husband if he tries working past 4pm. My husband now has learned to stop working at about 3:50 every day to avoid that jarring sound.
My mother's dog tells her when it's time for her evening meal. As in my mother's evening meal. The dog knows she eats after my mother, so when she starts to get peckish she goes and bugs her to start cooking.
When I go back to visit, we'll be sitting chatting and the dog will sidle in and become A Presence In The Room for maybe 30 seconds until my mother casually looks at her watch and says "I suppose we better think about eating". She's completely unaware of what triggers her decision.
when I come home, my dog comes to the door all excited, wagging her tail, making this “woowooowowoo” sound. it’s not quite howling, but it’s not barking either.
I started to “woowowooowo” back to her, because it amused me.. but now if I don’t, the sound she makes will turn into barking (which is very noisy and unpleasant).
so basically she’s trained me to have this dumb “woowoowoo” conversation with her, in order to keep her from yelling at me.
Haha I say "stop" or "don't even start your sass" and my dog gets this shocked look... Then stomps her paw. I started the foot stomping thing when she was a puppy to show her I was serious if she ignored me and she quickly picked up on doing it back. She's now taught it to my toddler, who groans and stomps right back at her.
My wife just got out of the cat’s chair on our front porch after he strolled up and meowed. Crazy thing is, it’s not our cat.
My cat sleeps under the blanket snuggled up to me. Even when Im at a hotel I instinctively raise the blanket a bit so he can crawl in.
My parents cat prefers to drink water directly from the tap before. Every night before bed he’ll hop onto their sink and meow until someone turns on the tap for him, then when he’s done he’ll meow again until someone turns off the tap and carries him to bed.
Before I run in the morning I usually scarf down a banana. Ever since we got my sweet dog, I scarf down about two thirds of my banana and he gets the last part. It’s become our little thing, an unspoken agreement
Me and my cat have a nice little system going
If she sees me approaching in the dark, she lets out a little meow. Then I have to say 'it's ok!' to acknowledge I know she's there. If so she will just stay where she is, and let me clamber over her
Tossing bits of food on the floor. I actually found myself, a grown ass adult, throwing a piece of turkey on the floor OF MY OFFICE because I am so used to having two dogs under my feet at all times. Thankfully I realized what I’d done quickly and cleaned it up, but my coworkers probably thought I lost my mind for a minute.
I open the tinfoil as quietly as possible. My cat loves tin foil balls, and whenever he hears it he runs over and looks at it longingly (despite him having at least 24 tin foil balls already). You can't call him with a treat bag or tin, he only comes for the foil.
Last summer my cat had seroius health problems, he had to spend some days in the animal hospital. My place was so empty without him and that was the time i realised basically i adjusted every aspect of my life to please/don't scare/don't hurt him.
I only open the windows to let fresh air in, if the cat is closed in a different room. I always watch where i step. I hurry home from work, so he won't vomit on the carpet from stress and loneliness because he thinks i left him alone to starve to death. I always check the washing machine, the dishwasher, the oven before turning on. And so on, i'm checking literally everything and i do everything carefuly.
I really can't imagine what will i do if he leaves me forever. I'm so used to his sweet fluffy presence : (
I must leave the door to the toilet open for my dog. He follows my every step. Was a bit awkward in the beginning but got used to it.
I've read here it's to protect me, so that's even better. He's the best boy.
He also guards me when I shower.
When I get up to go to the bathroom I stand in the door and wait for my elderly cat to come in before I close the door. He likes to keep me company. If he doesnt come in right away I'll call for him and if still nothing I'll start walking around the house looking for him
Sleep with my legs a cat-length apart. She likes to sleep in between them.
Sleep with my hand off the edge of the bed cause my dog will come boop my hand when he’s ready to go out in the morning.
Shuffle my feet instead of walking when it’s dark so I don’t step on my small, black cat.
My cat Kevin loves to drink water out of the sink, so every morning when I get up I fill up the bathroom sink with an inch or two of water. He also loves to 'bat' things into the sink, so I grab a couple of Q-Tips and set them next to the edge so he has something to skooch in there.
My kitten has taught me this new trick. If I’m using the toilet or having a shower, I have to call her in.
With my financée, she runs from any part of the house to watch him pee.
She’s quickly received the nickname toilet attendant.
When we eat at the table, my cat sits in a dining room chair and paws the table until someone gives him food. He sits with us for the whole meal.
Make kissing noises at things. I used just to do it to get my cat’s attention, now I accidentally do it at everything I want. Sometimes that can include people.
I have a long haired cat who sleeps on the bed and always chucks up a hairball in the wee hours of the morning. I have gotten to the point that when she starts to heave I instantly awake, put my hands under her mouth and catch the furball and vomit, drop the lot in the toilet, flush, wash my hands and go straight back to sleep. Better than having to change the bed linen.