psycho-social research on any species..human or animal is an evolving exercise. it depends on our levels of understanding at any given point and since we are forever evolving, it stands to reason that as we learn and grow, our understanding of things grows a bit too. sometimes we are right on the mark, and sometimes as we start to put the puzzle together we find we are way off in left field.
but here is the thing that drives me insane about dogs and training. i think training should be about learning...not learning to do tricks or perform whatever on command but learning to live and understand life in a comfortable, civilized socially inclusive way. with dogs and training, we are so black and white...this is the current and correct way to train dogs and every other way is not right.
well if training is about learning and i highly doubt anyone would disagree with me that it is. then why do we not understand that if humans uniquely and individually can and do have different kinds of learning needs then why do we not admit that animals will have the same. animals are in fact unique individuals, they are not the sum of their species. if i am far different than most humans beings out there, then the saints dogs respectfully can be considered far different than the others around here. they each may learn in different ways.
i am tougher in my communication with the block headed rabble rousing bullies than i am with the dogs who operate more out of anxiety or fear. i am more careful in how i teach to a sensitive soul then i am to a selectively deaf moron like phoebe. AND..i know where and when to pick my battles...not even going to attempt to straighten puffs messed up head out..i just manage him to keep him happy and safe.
each one of the dogs need something unique from me to help them to learn and to grow...some need me on their back like a dirty shirt (luna!) some need me to leave them pretty much alone and let them take their own baby steps (marin.) some need something in between depending on their activities (mystic and june) and some need nothing at all because either they are already a truly great dog (benny, murphy, ewok) or are so totally irrepairably screwed up like puff and pepper that short of a lobotomy there is no hope at all.
and they all learn differently too..some learn for treats, others learn for hugs, some learn by watching the other dogs, or learn from association or conclusions they draw, some learn because the better they get, the more i let them tag along, or the more freedom i give and all of them really like that! some learn because they ended up on the wrong side of me and did not like that much. some needs it to be exciting and so much crazy fun to learn things..others need it to be very quiet and almost imperceptible so the expectations of learning doesnt make them feel pushed to the wall. but most learn whatever it is that i really need them to know because learning comes naturally to them if given in a fits them well learning form.
you absolutely cannot build up every dogs confidence with dog obedience classes, dogs like luna would be overwhelmed. positive reinforcement can scare the pants off someone like marin because she is most emotionally comfortable if slipping under a humans notice so i teach her to trust me as an invisible part of the group. she does not know that i see what she is doing and when i am praising the group as a whole..i really am just praising her.
i think it is disrespectful to toss all dogs into the same learning pot. it is like they are all the same when they are not.
i believe each dog is emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically unique. they may have similar DNA but like us, their unique life experiences and hereditary genes, their individual temperments and personalities, their backgrounds and cultures, thier physical wellness or un-health have made them far more complex than just a simple definable DNA sequence with predictable and static species behaviors to be researched, concluded and written in stone.
i dont think any of us have it right yet....the mind, the spirit, the life of every dog is his very special own.
jake goes off to his new home tomorrow..i am so very happy for him.
adam did not get his surgery until late in the day so he had to stay in. nothing showed up on his xrays so we are assuming it is a neuropathic mylopathy which will most likely progress.
jerry is home with a new eye cream, we will see how it goes.
luke is not well tonight...not sure if it is the steriods or if he also has mast cell tumors inside that are causing havoc with him now. we will hold the steroids for a day or two and see how he does. poor lukey, he is such a very sweet little sick beagle.