Will Your Goldendoodle Forgive You For Hitting Them?

We love our Goldendoodles! As most of us treat our Goldendoodles as a part of our family, we spend so much time with them, developing unique connections to a point where we romanticize them and their every little action.

When we hit our Goldendoodles accidentally or lash out at them due to frustration, we may wonder whether they can forgive us. While dogs indeed remember and feel, they don’t think the same way that people do. You may like to believe that your dog forgives you for beating them, but a dog is unlikely to understand what forgiveness even means.

A farmer had an elderly blue-tick dog who he constantly screamed at and shoved out of the way. The dog was never untied by the farmer. It spent the entire year on the back porch, a rope around its neck. Here’s when it gets very interesting. With an enthusiastic bark and a wagging tail, that dog never failed to enthusiastically greet the farmer every time he passed by. That dog was definitely one-of-a-kind.

 Goldendoodle dog resting on couch

Do Goldendoodles Remember When You Hurt Them?

Goldendoodles do not recall every time they are hit, but they will respond in such a way that it appears like they do. How true that is is a matter of debate, taking into account the passage of time.

Claudia Fugazza claims that her research at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest entitled, Family Dog Project, proves Goldendoodles have memory and can recall events throughout their life. That is, they are able to recall a person’s conduct toward them.

That remembrance, however, is fleeting, lasting only an hour or two. So, if a dog recalls when you injured it and has to forgive you, it will persist for around one hour.

Pavlov’s studies of stimulus-response also show that Goldendoodles have better associative memory than episodic memories. In this approach, a Goldendoodle associates a stimulus (a ringing bell) with a reward (being fed). The relationship is so strong that the reaction (salivating) will occur whether or not the expected reward (meal) is present.

The stimulus (being hit by you) must be repeated over a lengthy period of time for this to occur. Nonetheless, the Goldendoodle is unlikely to remember you striking it. It will link everything that occurs at the same time as the hitting, such as your voice tone or you picking up a rolled-up newspaper. It associates the stimulus with a fear or anger reaction (the fight/flight response).

Do Goldendoodles Understand When You Apologize?

Don’t you wish you could go inside a Goldendoodle’s mind and solve problems like this? The intricate workings of the human brain remain a mystery to us. How much do we truly know about the brain of a Goldendoodle?

Take, for example, one of my pets. He gets carried away when we play and nips me a bit too hard. When I call out, “Hey!” he comes to a complete stop, lays down, rests his head on his paws, and makes the most miserable wailing sound. He appeared to apologize to me! Right?

Let’s pretend I have a bad temper. I whack my Goldendoodle when it leaps on me. I can be a little too hard on it at times. I say, “Oh, honey, I’m sorry,” with a sad tenderness. I massage its ears, rub its stomach, and promise that I would never, ever do that to it again. My Goldendoodle wags its tail and kisses my palm as if it understands my apologies. Right?

The common and attractive conclusion is wrong in both circumstances. My Goldendoodle learns rewards based on its response (my attention and continuing play). When I yell, “Hey!” the stimulus is connected to the rewards, and the stimulus-response (whimpering) remains even if there is no nipping. Yes, I can yell “Hey!” and it will fall to the ground and moan for no apparent reason. It makes no difference if you apologize.

Hitting a Goldendoodle is a terrifying experience for humans, yet it goes in one ear and out the other for the Goldendoodle. The Goldendoodle responds in response to my attention and tone of voice, not because it accepts my apologies. It gets what it wants by leaping on me: my attention. Second, the calming calmness of my speech reassures my Goldendoodle.

Can A Goldendoodle Forgive You For Hitting It?

You’re undoubtedly noticing that what we like to think about our Goldendoodles and what really occurs to them are extremely different. Their memories work differently, and their acts aren’t always what they appear.

To forgive, I must own that you have injured me. Why should I forgive you if you haven’t done anything to me? To feel wounded, I must recall a moment or occasions in my life when I was hurt. It bothered me that you didn’t greet me last week. “I apologize.” I don’t have any ill will toward you.

A Goldendoodle can’t recall being hurt after one hour. Assume you state a Goldendoodle has the ability to forgive someone for an hour. It will not return a week later and say, “I’ll simply forgive you for hitting me last week.” It has no concept of forgiveness and sees no need to extend it to others.

How Can I Make My Goldendoodle Forgive Me?

If what I’ve said so far is accurate, you can’t make a Goldendoodle forgive you. You can’t force it to do something it doesn’t know how to accomplish or comprehend.

Then someone stands up and shares their experience. Every day for a year, a guy tosses pebbles at a dog. When the dog sees the man, it snarls and barks. The man ultimately stops throwing rocks after a year, but the dog continues to growl and howl whenever it sees the man.

“That dog will never forgive him for hurling those pebbles,” a neighbor adds. Is that correct? Another year passes without the dog snarling or barking at the guy. “I was incorrect,” admits the next-door neighbor. “I guess he could forgive him after all.” What is the reason behind this?

For the first two years, the stimulus-response paradigm is employed. Dogs bark in response to what a man does. The reward is unpleasant, like to being hit by a rock. Even when the reward is gone, the stimulus-response cycle continues. Because I don’t believe forgiveness, or the lack thereof, has anything to do with it. So far, so good.

However, after two years, the dog stops barking, so it’s tempting to think the dog eventually forgiven the guy. The fact is that the man’s associative memory of being hit by rocks, as well as an aggressively protective response, has faded with time. This instinct has vanished with the passage of time. The dog hasn’t forgiven anyone, but it has forgotten the link between the two.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to state that time cures all wounds.