Kaiser never dwells on the neglect that he suffered in the past when he was nearly starved to death―for him, it's all about today!
Well, for starters, we don’t see many dogs or wolves climbing trees
or walking around on their hind legs. But how about what’s on the
inside? Specifically, what’s going on inside that canine brain that
might be different from what’s inside our primate noggins?
Many dog guardians want to treat their dogs just as they would a
human best friend. That does sound warm and fuzzy and appealing to us,
but unfortunately, our dogs don’t always enjoy that role because of the
way their canine brains are wired. Of course, each dog is different,
but in general, dog psychology dictates that every dog pack, which can
also include humans, has to have a leader (even a pack of two). A dog
without a leader feels anxious and unprotected and thus takes steps to
try to become the leader in order to fill that void. This can take the
form of aggression, obsessive barking, inappropriate urination, and
domination, among other things. Now, I don’t know about you, but as
much as I dearly love my dogs, I don’t want them to be the boss of me
anyway. So that means that I have to be the one to step up and fill the
role of pack leader in order to fulfill my dogs’ psychological needs.
The appealing thing about having a pack leader, from Fido’s point of
view, is that the leader provides protection as well as structure,
boundaries, and rules―all of which make dogs feel secure. Does that
sound familiar? That’s because children crave the exact same things.
A second big difference between canine and primate psychology is
that whenever anyone gets scared or hurt, we primates jump in to
comfort and console and make a fuss―that makes us all feel better,
whether child or adult. However, with dogs it’s different. If Fifi gets
frightened or hurt and you freak out, showering her with comfort and
caresses, it will have the effect of highlighting and bookmarking the
trauma, thus validating her fear, so that she will end up becoming even
Instead, whenever there’s a mishap, even a serious one, the best way
to react is to be calm and upbeat and confident. Say cheerful things,
like, “You’re doing great, Fifi!” This will help her feel calm and
confident too. Of course, get her to the vet if needed, but even then,
do her a favor and avoid giving in to sobbing or hysterical
exclamations of “My poor little BABY!!!”
Another thing that distinguishes canine thinking from primate (or at
least human) thought―and one that makes dogs so endlessly appealing to
us―is that they really know how to live in the moment. They are true
Zen masters. But too many dog guardians, especially those who have
rescued a dog from a terrible situation, inadvertently force their dogs
to live in the past by not ever letting go of Bowser’s tragic
beginnings. If, every time we gaze upon him, we think, “My poor sweet
angel―you’ve been through so much in your life!” it will inevitably
lead to permissiveness (lack of boundaries, rules, and structure―see
above), way too many treats (can you say “obesity”?), and a general
atmosphere of sadness and uneasiness.
We need to let go of the past and be here now―for our dogs as well
as for ourselves! Regret has the effect of stealing our present moment
away from us. Dogs don’t go there. They don’t dwell on the past and
they certainly don’t worry about the future. They just take the present
moment and make the most of it. So let’s learn from Bowser and forget
about his awful past experiences. Just see him for who he is right now and treat him accordingly. He will be thrilled!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.