How does spitting into a dog’s food make him love you?

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | March 12th, 2020

A Caucasian dog was previously brought to the clinic with a very bad cut wound on his leg that we had to take care of surgically. After 6 months the same dog was brought back with massive tick infestation and very bad body condition. We did our examinations and treatment then recommended the dog be brought back for vaccination after 7 days when the dog has fully started eating and active. 7 days later the owner called me to do a home service to give the necessary vaccinations.

I got to the house and asked the security guy to help me muzzle the dog because the dog can be unpredictable and everyone sitting with him busted into laughter. I was wondering what was funny in my statement. One of the guys started to explain their laughter which is because the guy I was asking to muzzle the dog is terribly afraid of the dog, the dog has beaten him twice. The security guy told me he could try to muzzle the dog so I gave him the muzzle to try but ended up helping him to muzzle the dog myself.

After the vaccines were administered, I asked the guy to give the dog food which I recommended to the owner – I actually brought two bags of the food along to be mixed together before serving. After he mixed the food as I directed him, I fetched a portion of the dog food to show him the quantity he should always give the dog. I was heading towards the dog to pour the dog food only for the security guy to rush towards me and carried the food off my hands and started to spit inside like 5 times before he poured it for the dog. I was seriously disgusted and asked him why he did that. “I do am make the dog like me” he said, meaning that he did it to make the dog start to like him.

The image of his action could not leave my mind up until the moment of writing this article.  I have heard of that African Myth which justified his actions when I was young but I thought we have grown far beyond that kind of action. I have tried to think of the scientific basis for a thing like that but my mind cannot figure out the logic. Dogs sniff things and remember the smell much later but I can’t remember dogs eating your saliva and liking or loving you.

I know that sniffing things help dogs to store information about the smell of the object or person in their memory because the sense of smell is directly connected to the brain being the storage organ. Eating food, dogs tend to store the taste of the food in their memory so that they can remember the taste of the same food later and associate it with edibility and not likability. So the logic behind that is still very difficult for me to understand.

I don’t know if you, the reader has any experience of a dog that came to love someone after the person spat into his food for a number of times. Please tell me in the comments below.


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    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

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