Lets talk about touch, Baby
Submitted by Susan on Sat, 11/10/2012 - 20:03
Before I get started, finish this sentence. Touch is_______________________________________.
Our species, humans, answer this question with lots of descriptive terms.
Touch is; comforting, tender, intimate, connecting, healing, gentle, important.
Why then, do humans expect touch to be different for other species?
Why is pushing, pulling, jerking, popping, smacking,choking, hitting, kicking, forcefull, painfull, scary- not associated with our understanding of the term touch, but still perfectly acceptable in animal training?
Why do people think that forcing an animal into position TEACHES it anything-other than to fear people?
Oh, yeah, there is that dominance theory. That has been disproven long ago and STILL has nothing to do with learning. Dominance has to do with power and really, dogs don't want power.
What do domestic dogs want?
They want Important.
IMPORTANT is first in the line up. Dogs seek what is important to them. Touch amongst wild dogs happens rarely and usually for survival purposes. Breeding, hunting, fighting. Even a mother dogs touch of her young is done for survival, she licks them to stimulate elimination. She cuddles to keep them warm & alive. Play amongst dogs is hunting practice.
Dogs are predators, but aren't we just big hairless primates?
If we are going to equate dogs with wolves, then we must equate ourselves with monkeys.
As a big hairless ape, I have evolved to learn that holding food (important for survival) over a dogs head works better than pushing his butt to the floor and screaming "SIT,SIT SIT" because with my method, the dog LEARNS that to earn the food he has to put his butt on the floor. I can scream SIT ten thousand times and never teach a dog English. Language is not important to dogs.
If the dog doesn't sit, I don't have to TOUCH him, all I have to do is remove the opportunity to survive. ( take away the food) and wait. Learning takes time.
I am NOT saying that food is the only way to train a dog. I am NOT saying that dogs don't enjoy being touched. We domesticated these animals to be our partners. To make survival easier for both of us. We are supposed to enjoy each others company and both reap the rewards of togetherness.
The deal our primative ancestors made with the wild dog to make life better for both species, That bond & promise, has long been forgotten by too many.