"Your dog does not love you!"
That is the number one comment I make that surprises many of my clients, and many even become upset that I would even suggest such a thing about their dog. When I am with clients where I can see that they are allowing emotions to affect their relationship with their dog, and therefore clouding their judgement, I explain this to them. Some refuse to listen, however many have a light bulb moment and suddenly it all makes sense as to why their dog is behaving the way it does.
We are seeing so many videos of dogs doing instinctive or learned behaviours, and people interpreting them as the dog doing the behaviour out of love. An example is the video I have included below, of the dog apparently trying to save the fishes life.
The comment on this video states:
~ Cute Dog with a Heart of Gold ~ Dog Trying To Save Dying Fish Will Remind You Dogs Are Better Than Humans..! While we evil humans force a fish to inhale toxic fumes, this dog tries to save a fish’s life. He knows that a fish needs water to survive, but what he doesn’t know is that the amount of water he desperately flicks in the fish’s direction probably won’t save it. I have to admire his perseverance, though. The dog truly doesn’t give up. Another interesting thing is that the fish looks like it’s about twice the size of the dog, so I’m surprised the dog’s first reaction wasn’t to be a little frightened. Nope, the dog just went ahead and tried to save the fish anyway. I guess it goes to show that dogs are way more sympathetic than humans. There's so much we can learn from animals, yet we human delude ourselves somehow we're more superior than other animals.
Now tell me that is not a person observing another compassionate person trying to help a fish to not suffer, and not a dog that acts directly by instinct? This person is projecting their own compassion on to the dog, and therefore clouding their rational and objective reasoning on what the dog is actually doing, and not even realising it.
Dogs will only carry out behaviours that are instinctive, or learned behaviours that are rewarding or create pleasant consequences, but never out of pure love. Many don't realise how much they are being anthropomorphic in regards to their dogs by attributing complex human emotions and reasoning ability on to them. And this is why so many in society are conflicted in regards to administering physical punishment. "Why would you physically punish a dog that loves you?" And yet on a daily basis, we see dogs physically punishing each other, mothers punishing their pups, and all with no adverse effects. And yet, physical punishment we are told, "will destroy your relationship with your dog", "will make your dog become fearful of you", "will make your dog aggressive", and my personal favourite, "but if I punish my dog, my dog will not love me anymore".
Now of course, I am not for one moment suggesting that we shouldn't love our dogs, or that we shouldn't respect them, or that we shouldn't always do our utmost to care for them. However, the worst thing we can do for our dog is to become overly emotional, and then allowing our emotions to cloud our judgement, and therefore negatively affect our relationship. Is this really any different to human relationships though? If we become overly emotional about someone, we can actually unintentionally hand over control to them, and many will even take advantage of that person's emotional weakness for their own selfish selfserving gain. And again dogs are no different. Dogs will always take advantage of what they consider weakness. We understand that even in relationships their needs to be a balance. Our relationship with our dogs is no different. In many homes, dogs receive so much more love and affection from their owner than they would ever offer a partner, husband, wife, or even a child. In some cases for some people, its almost a continuous state of being, the dog only has to look at its owner and its, "Awww sweet baby, and I love you so much too".. heaps of cuddles. Any wonder so many dogs are so confused about their relationship with their human owner.
It's important that we understand that dogs do not have the deep complex emotions humans experience. Theirs are very basic, and are genetically programmed for survival. Sure we have domesticated our dogs to bond strongly with humans, and that is the key word here, BOND. It's not some deep emotional love that dogs feel for their owners. Whether we find that difficult to accept or not, its a fact, and our own personal beliefs or needs will never alter that fact.
It is my personal opinion that society is being conditioned to judge everything clouded by emotion, and not rational logic, after all it helps keep the economy running. For example, all our TV advertising is emotion based, whether its to convince you to purchase something you really don't need, by pushing your emotional buttons to believe you can't live without it, or to donate to some charity where only about 1% of the donated money is actually used for its intended purpose, by having you focus on emotion based imagery. TV shows portraying animals are now mostly anthropomorphic based, placing human emotions on to the animals that aren't even there, and therefore slowly over the past 20 years our emotional self has taken over our rational self, and therefore they have become out of balance. The scales have tipped way to far in one direction. We have allowed, or been conditioned to allow emotions to now dictate all of our actions, and how we view reality, and most are none the wiser that they are actually doing it.
Do you know how I know if a dog trainer is a good dog trainer or not, in most cases? Are they motivated by emotion, or by rational objective thinking? A good dog behaviour specialist puts emotions aside, and allows their rational objective self to view any given situation, and therefore base their understanding on what dogs do instinctively or through learned behaviour, and therefore not observing the dog clouded by human emotions and projecting them on to the dog. A good behaviour specialist or trainer thinks as a dog would, they understand the deeper instinctive and behavioural nuances of dogs, and therefore are more objective and rational in regards to their observations and actions. This is why balanced trainers tend to achieve much faster results than say positive-only trainers, because their methods are not clouded by being overly emotional. Whereby I have found that those that are focused more on the positive-only ideology, tend to be more emotional based. You can see this when they discuss certain training tools or methods they don't approve of, they tend to become in my opinion overly emotional and this is clouding their judgement, and therefore not allowing them to view reality from more a rational and objective position, no matter how much objective evidence to the contrary you put before them. They will not see what they do not want to see. They will take a very strong 'emotional' stance on anything that that contradicts their clouded emotional view of reality. Many have gone so deep into this, that they do not or cannot see how obviously irrational their views have become. Isn't it irrational to say, "well its ok for a dog to punish another dog, or a mother to punish its pups, but its not ok for humans to behave in the same way?" Isn't it irrational to say that "positive punishment and negative reinforcement are abusive", and yet mother nature has been using them successfully for 100's of millions of years? In actual fact without them, life could not exist.
I may have gone a bit off track in my article, however I believe everything I raised here is interrelated, in that emotion has become to much of a controlling influence, and this includes how many view and relate to dogs. These emotion based ideologies such as positive-only and anthropomorphic TV and media portrayal of dogs (and animals in general), are negatively influencing peoples relationship with their dogs, and this my friends is why we are seeing so many issues with our dogs in society today. And what is very worrying to me, is that we have a generation of children growing up conditioned to believe all of this emotional based rubbish, and its our dogs that will be the ones that must suffer in the long term.
You may like to follow this Facebook post on this article and comment: HERE
Also my follow-up Facebook post to this article: HERE
And another Facebook post on this subject: HERE