Monday, April 23, 2007

Pavlov's Humans

I've always known dogs were dumb (no offense to those dogs reading this...although I am pretty sure dogs are too stupid to read). But, this weekend, I discovered how ridiculous and easily-manipulated humans really are.

Considering Kukka doesn't allow me to date, using our wedding vows as support for her argument (although, she doesn't seem to be bound by vows), I usually have quite a bit of free time on weekends. Typically, I spend a few hours on Saturday disinfecting my favorite sleeping areas, replenishing my latex booties next to the litterbox, and obsessively touching every horizontal surface I come across 7 times. This Saturday, however, I felt I was in need of some mental stimulation. I decided to browse Wikipedia.

First, I did a search for me: Brach Lee. Curiously, nothing had been written about me. Nothing about my fascination with Harry Potter. Nothing about my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Nothing about my dependency on Xanax. Nothing about my marriage to Kukka. Nothing.

Next, I searched for Kukka-Maria. I found nothing, which made me giggle. Don't you dare tell her I told you Wikipedia is devoid of all-things-Kukka. For my own safety, I will deny, deny, deny!

Finally, growing tired of fruitless searches, I decided to look up "dogs." I can't help it! I have a preoccupation with dogs! For me, they provide equal parts fear and intrigue. The way I figure it, the more I know about them, the less power they have over me.

Anyway, one article that popped up was about Ivan Pavlov and Pavlov's Dogs. Apparently, Господин Pavlov (Mr. Pavlov) ran extensive experiments with dogs to collect, analyze and measure their saliva in response to food as a stimulus. Using bells, whistles, metronomes and tuning forks, Pavlov would indicate the arrival of food. He found that, while initially the food made the dogs salivate, they eventually began salivating at the sound of the food alarm prior to the appearance of the actual meal.

This inspired my own set of experiments on the human in the house.

As she watched TV, I went to work. Leaping onto the back of the couch, I indicated to her that I wanted her to pet me by gently tapping her with my paw, repeatedly, until she responded to the stimulus. After a solid 2 minutes of ear scritching, I leapt down. About 10 minutes later, I jumped up again and tapped her repeatedly. Again, ear scritches. After about an hour (and 7 more scritching sessions), I jumped up a tenth time. Before I could even tap her, she began scratching the top of my head. I tried making important notes about my discovery at that very moment, but found it difficult...with my eyes closed in ecstasy.

To make sure the subject did not suspect she was being studied, I enlisted the help of Kukka for this one. Walking by the resident human, Kukka suddenly flopped on her side on the floor. Without missing a beat, the human reached down and scratched her belly. I was a little irritated that the experiment wasn't going according to plan. Kukka was supposed to flop down and whine for belly rubs. She didn't whine; however, the human still rubbed, so the analysis was not for naught. To Kukka's credit, the human had been adequately conditioned by the time the experiment occurred.

Morning and night. Morning and night. The collective feline goal in our home is to obtain treats by any means necessary. Considering this experiment needed a controlled environment, I had to prep Kukka. "Please don't indiscriminately beg. When I give the signal, rub against her leg once and offer up the most pathetic whimper you can. Don't exaggerate. Don't expound. One whimper and one rub." As the human entered the domicile, Kukka sprung into action. Rubbing against the human's legs, flopping down on the kitchen floor, begging incessantly, rubbing against the refrigerator door...I was stunned at her uncontrolled behavior. She hadn't followed directions at all! My dismay didn't last long, as snacks were thrown on the carpet and my tank was full within 1 minute.

All in all, it was clear to me that we own our human. How pathetic is it that, when moderately provoked or inspired, humans are so weak that they submit to our every need?

How sad is it that...WHOA! I hear the treat jar shaking! I've got to run! The shaking treat jar means there will be snackth disthributed on the carpeth. Wow. I can hardly thalk with all this droolth.

Pavlov would be so proud of me.


The Meezers said...

Dr Brach - you is furry furry smart! those is good 'speriments. I will haf to try and come up wif some of my own. As a way to impress Kukka.
Good to hear from you dude!- Miles

Derby said...

Brach that was excellent research. And you proved it out with your going for the treats.

Renee said...

I can attest that some dogs are very smart and others are dumber than dirt. But I don't think that any are able to read. Lilly usually dictates her posts to me, which is why she doesn't have her own blog.

I find your research on humans fascinating. Please keep us posted on further developments.

amanuensis said...

Brach, you deserve a Nobel Prize for this important piece of research.

Cheysuli said...

What excellent research you have their Brach. You'll be happy to note that most of your experiments have been successfully replicated in our home.

Rufus said...

Wait a cat-gone minute there Brach. You married your sister Kukka? Where do you live? Is it legal there? I'm going to puke thinking about it. Says right there "Nothing about my marriage to Kukka." and then in your left nav bar it says "About the Brother". eeehhhwwwww. ack ack ack

p.s. yes, all 3 methods mentioned for treats and loves work great don't they!

Lady Jane Scarlett said...

Wow Brach, I never knew how smart you were! Great experiments! :)

Kim and Oscar the Puppy Cat said...

Now that was good! You should submit your research to the medical community.

My Mommy, who's quite old (38), loves all things Harry Potter! How sick is that! At least you're youthful and exhuberant!

NOLADawn said...

You have got yourself a fully trained human!! Congratulations!