Dogs love any extra attention their owners can spare, but could this pup have discovered a way to get his owners to stay home from work and spend the day with him? It sure seems that way!
Sully faked being sick to get some additional love and attention from his owners, and his brilliant plan definitely worked!
Sully’s owners, Kennady Longhurst and Alex Salsberry, noticed that Sully was making a strange coughing noise. Throughout the night, he seemed fine. But then right as it was time for them to leave for work, the cough started again. Convenient, right?
The worried pet owners decided to take the day off from work and take Sully to the vet.
“They gave us some antibiotics just in case it was a bacterial infection, but he didn’t have a fever or any symptoms,” Longhurst told Buzzfeed. “So the doctor was confused.”
After checking back in with the vet later, Longhurst said, “He told us sometimes animals fake sick or limp for attention or treats or special privileges.”
And they’re convinced that’s exactly what Sully was doing! “We decided to take him to the vet in the morning and after $85 our vet told us OUR DOG WAS FAKE COUGHING FOR ATTENTION,”@kennaughty wrote in an Instagram post.
“We’re pretty sure he knows that we know he was faking it. So he is just a naughty faker who wanted some extra attention, and boy, did he get it,” she told Buzzfeed. “We baby him so much he probably learned that if he acted weird or different someone would spend the day with him.”
And as Kennady shared on Twitter, her husband even stayed home to look after Sully.
She also clarified that Sully is rarely left home alone for extended periods of time, so it’s not a matter of needing more attention but simply wanting it:
Her tweets kicked off a flurry of responses from other people whose pets displayed similar behavior.
Twitter user @Chromastatnry shared that her own dog stopped walking, but it turned out to be nothing serious:
My dog did similar. He stopped walking, I rushed him to the vets. £36. Nothing wrong, he just didnt like the feel of something on his paw.
— Self-Employed Sass (@selfemploydsass) November 4, 2017
Meanwhile, @XoKatana also said her dog once faked a paw injury:
This is my life, except my dog faked a paw injury when I left to a pool party. And became better $200 later right after we left the vet
— muther of WULVES (@XOKATANA) November 4, 2017
Is This Behavior Common?
Faking sickness as a learned behavior would definitely make sense. Richards Dr. Pitcairn, author of “Natural Health for Dogs and Cats,” says this is a fairly common scenario, according to the animal communication blog Wild Insights:
“Say your dog is feeling lonely because you went back to work and just don’t have as much time for him as you used to. Before long, he develops a minor symptom — a cough — that worries you. Every time he coughs you rush over, pet him, and murmur comforting words … Pretty soon the dog gets the idea that every time he coughs he gets what he wants—your loving attention. What incentive is there for him to get well and stop coughing?”
Animal communicator Sarah Messina also confirmed she personally knows animals who have used “‘sick symptoms’ to their advantage.”
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Faking It
According to Messina, there are a few ways to tell if your dog could be faking it. First of all, your dog would be exhibiting a cough or a limp because this is something an animal has some control over. If that’s what you’re noticing about your dog, also check to see if your dog continues to cough or limp if they think you’re not looking.
Of course, always go to the vet to rule out any actual illnesses or injuries. But do know that dogs can sometimes pretend to be a little under the weather if they want you by their side. You’ve got to admit — it’s really very sweet!
Has your dog or other pet ever exhibited this type of behavior?