Sunday, May 22, 2011

Social Animals?

Does it matter if a dog is socially dysfunctional with other dogs? Back in the day before we kept our dogs securely locked in their own yards, neighborhood dogs visited with each other. Dogs were proficient in their own language.

Fire hydrants were and still are places where dogs left scent marks to signal other dogs. Today when they meet on leash there is frequently frantic barking.

I am not suggesting we return to the days of free roaming neighborhood pets, but I’m trying to explore what we’ve lost; what the dogs have lost.

After watching the exquisite ways the Puerto Rican island dogs communicate with each other, I watched a couple of dogs introduced in one of our yards here at Carrvilla.

A sweet cocker spaniel and a lab beagle cross were put in a yard to socialize. It was considered a success because there was no barking or growling, no hackles were raised. Both are adult dogs. One is two years old and the other is four.

Both dogs focused on the human in the yard. Tails wagged; they were happy to be out with her. Because their behavior was appropriate by our human standards these dogs will be allowed to go out with an attendant to play in the field.

Two dogs without a clue of what to do with each other, they walked around the yard without interaction. Sooner or later they will figure it out; they may even like each other.

Beings who can’t relate to their own kind bother me. I won’t hire anyone who tells me, “I love dogs; it’s humans I can’t stand.” It seems to me that comfort with your own should be the framework from which you see the world.

Does this bother you or am I over thinking this?

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