About behaviour of dogs
A nice article about the behaviour of dogs is just what is needed to give that touch of prestige to a dog trainer’s image. If you only knew how enthusiastically I married this idea a few months ago.
I mentally began to analyze this subject and break down its main components. “Ancestral behaviours, characteristics and behaviours of the different races, adaptive intelligence, induced behaviour and conditioning, disorders of conduct” and so on.
Without considering everything that concerns neoteny, a science that made dogs the domesticated animals we all know. A specie that is more childish than its ancestor wolf. More open to working with man and much more flexible and versatile.
And all the different conditions and nuances that are the very nature of the causes and reasons for a behaviour.
This brief analysis was enough to deflate my childish enthusiasm and put my feet on the ground as such an argument is not something to be treated lightly. An encyclopaedic format might still be incomplete.
Yet, despite my aversion to sign such a deal, I felt I had something personal and valid to say about it. I pretended to have temporarily abandoned the project or losing interest in it, but it was not so.
set of observable actions of a living being
Until one evening, caught by the desire and excitement to know, I decided to consult the dictionary. Under the word behaviour I found the following definition: “set of observable actions of a living being.”
It may seem trivial but in these few words there is really everything about the study of behaviour.
The living being. The passion and the patience necessary to observe the actions, grasp the changes. And finally, perhaps, guess the cause and even speculate forecasts. Succeeed, fail, and start all over.
Since this morning the sky is filled with huge black clouds. I prepared myself and I brought home some wood so I would not have to rush to cut it under the rain. I prepared my rubber boots outside the door because, as we know, the mud that forms in certain areas of the Apennines “rips” your shoes, I put the car under the shelter. And I covered the hay with a huge plastic cloth.
Finally, after feeding the horses in the stable, I went out and standing with a bucket in my hand and the faithful Artù on my side. I looked back to the west and I could see an unexpected, beautiful, red sunset.
Not a drop of water.
Moral? A whole life is not enough to learn how to live.
This year, for the first time I dug, hoed and sowed the land of my small garden.
Not having any knowledge of what could have been its “behaviours” and its evolution I had to watch it carefully and, during the summer, I was lovingly present, providing the care that, from time to time, seemed necessary.
The results were more than satisfactory.
characteristics necessary for both the reader and the observer
Thus, we can learn by heart the encyclopaedia of behaviours of dogs drawing useful lessons and, as suggested by the dictionary, spending long hours observing the actions and movements of our pets, but let me add a couple of characteristics necessary for both the reader and the observer: a sincere charm towards the subject and the ability to feel amazed.
I could see, in so many years I practice this profession, how much actions can be filled by their motives.
The search for a particular pedagogy, technique or educational method, can be sometimes just a mask that will reveal its true face in the results that it will have been able to accomplish.
Everything, all things, life, and behaviours, and also behaviour of dogs, are always evolving.
The key lies in being able to capture the changes that often escape from knowledge and the educational method.
I consider it appropriate and pleasant to conclude this reflection with a poem by an important exponent of the Vaishnava tradition, a tradition that has always dealt with psychology at the service of evolution:
sow a thought and reap an action
sow an action and reap a behaviour
sow a behaviour and reap a character
sow a character and reap a destiny.
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