Dog is my co-pilot

We spent another fruitless couple of hours at our local humane society.  This is not the type of humane society that euthanizes dogs, so it doesn’t have any real impetus to get dogs out of the shelter.  Instead, it’s goal is to find the perfect home for every dog.  And I mean perfect.  We’ve found delightful dogs, but the humane society has refused to give them to us because any given one of these dogs guards its food, or because it’s been nervous around a child, or because it doesn’t like it a whole lot if people touch its back, or because it’s very independent, or because it’s very dependent, or because it’s very active, or because it’s not very active.  Basically, the humane society doesn’t like to give dogs to families with children, because children can get rough.

One can say, perfectly legitimately, that children do hurt dogs and dogs do hurt children — and that’s why dogs often end up right back in humane societies.  The humane society has an interest in preventing a revolving door situation.

But the fact is that dogs are dogs, and they have to be able to adapt and change their behaviors.  The humane society that we live near is so dog-centric that the people there really don’t contemplate the possibility that the dogs can be taught to modify inappropriate behaviors.  That is, they don’t seem to realize that dogs are heirarchical animals, and that guarding and touching are pack issues — a dog that realizes it’s low man on the totem pole will allow anyone in the pack that is superior have first dibs on food, and to touch it wherever.  Only dogs convinced that they, in fact, are the pack leaders, will engage in this type of antisocial behavior.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Leaders always engage in anti-social behavior, that is what they are designed for. If something bad happens, they get executed, which is pretty anti-social.

    The only question that matters to me is thus, what is the purpose of dogs? Is the purpose of dogs to be bred for its own sake, or is the purpose of dogs to protect and become part of human families and heirarchies as a useful companion?

    I say the latter. If people didn’t want the companionship of a dog, they’d eat the dog. Dog becomes food. Look at China and Afghanistan, to see what happens when the purpose of dogs is not to be a companion. It’s like an economy. Dogs have skills, if they don’t get a job, they’re going to starve as a species.

    Things will become a lot more complex when we start uplifting Chimps, Dolphins, and Apes to human level self-awareness.

  • erp

    Get them some tapes of the Dog Whisperer.

  • Ellen

    I’d rather have a cat.

  • Kevin

    Yeah cats! We have four:

    They’re all strays that we’ve adopted with the last being on May 31. I was on my way to work and here was a kitten laying in the middle of the road. I stopped to make sure that it was actually dead and that it hadn’t just decided to sleep there as the pavement is warmer than the surrounding farmland. It was dead so I picked it up and moved it to the side of the road only to notice a little dark brown kitten curled up in the tall grass about three feet away. Since we already had three cats, I figured that I’d leave this kitten for someone else to find/rescue. When I returned home from work that night, I stopped at the place where I’d moved the dead kitten to see if the other one had gone only to discover it was snuggling with its dead sibling (I mean come on, how pathetic?!) Needless to say, I brought it home since it obviously hadn’t had any food or water for the day–turns out that it had a fractured leg as well. We’ve nursed him back to health and he’s now a part of our family, terrorizing our other three cats by constantly chasing them all over the house.