The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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Entries Tagged as 'Quotations'

“The Emotional Lives of Animals”

July 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · Captioned Photo, Quotations

“We owe it to all animals to make every attempt to come to a greater understanding and appreciation for who they are in their world and in ours. We must make kind and humane choices. There’s nothing to fear and much to gain by being open to deep and reciprocal interactions with other animals. Animals have in fact taught me great deal: about responsibility, compassion, caring, forgiveness, and the value of deep friendship and love. Animals generously share their hearts with us, and I want to do the same. Animals respond to us because we are feeling , and passionate beings, and we embrace them for the same reason.

Emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. We have them and so do other animals. We must never forget this.”

Marc Bekoff    —      from the summation of his book “The Emotional Lives of Animals”

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May 13th, 2008 · No Comments · Quotations

“…dogs, like many other animals, inhabit a perceptual world where things are as likely to be understood and remembered by their smell as by their sight, where mental maps are assembled from avenues and topographies of odor, where the unseen is alive and vibrant and the seen is grayer and starker. If we could see through a dog’s eyes we would be shocked and dismayed by what had happened to our most precious link with the world around us: detail lost, blurs that no amount of staring and focusing can alter, a world of washed-out hues and odd shifts of color. A dog would be equally appalled if he smelled through our nose.”

Stephen Budiansky from “The Truth About Dogs”

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May 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Introduction, Quotations

“Of all creatures on earth it is the dog that man has chosen as the object of his purest, most disinterested love. We marry a wife or a husband out of love, yes, but also in order to build for the future, whatever the future may be, however much or little it may be worth. We have children as as assurance against that future, to carry on our particular struggle or enterprise, to make men and women of them and a better world for everyone. We create them so that one day we may give them their freedom, let them be truly themselves. At least, that is what we think. Love may be seen as our immediate motivation, an irresistible force, but it is (contrary to what we suppose) really nothing but a bonus, an extra. Between husband and wife it is sometimes no more than a point of departure, the initial spark which serves as a pretext for other interests; people often, as we know, outgrow their early passions. Marital love can, according to circumstance, work for either total unity or complete disruption. Now the dog’s role is rather that of a lover or mistress, but even a lover or mistress introduces some emotion, rightly or wrongly, other than ‘pure love’; a lifetime’s secret self-aggrandizement, for instance. Between two human beings there is no such thing as ‘pure love’ in vacuo; but the whole aim and purpose of owning a dog is to love it and be loved by it. Even if you acquire it with some other end in mind, this is always what it comes back to in the long run; this what man has, ultimately, molded the dog for.” Colette Audrey from Behind the Bathtub

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May 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Quotations

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

Roger Caras

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On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals Turid Rugaas

May 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · Book Reviews, Quotations

This extremely useful book is notable for its simple clarity of language and its informative photographic illustrations. Turid Rugaas is a Norwegian dog trainer and behaviorist who has spent her life in close proximity to animals. She has a profound respect for dogs and consequently has learned that listening and watching are key to developing communication across the species divide.

The author espouses a completely nonviolent approach to dog training and management which is informed by her knowledge of their language. “You always have a choice. Whatever the situation, dog or incident you have always the choice of what to do. You can make tiny changes like looking away instead of staring, walking slowly instead of marching or running, turning away or standing still. Or you can accept that your dog is giving you a calming signal to tell you that he is tired,or cannot concentrate any more or that he needs a break……If you want your dog to respect you, you must also respect your dog. A good relationship is based on two-way communication, and living together in a well-balanced togetherness. Leadership does not solve anything, it only creates problems, in our lives as well as in the dogs lives.” To say the least the foregoing is controversial; what about the whole concept of pack leader? Is it really possible to completely sidestep the entire issue of dominance and submission? I suspect that it is not possible for most of us. However for Turid Rugaas whose conceptualization of human to dog relations seems to be a kind of gentle anarchy based on mutual respect, rather than a desire on either side for control, it does seem viable.

All that being said on the philosophical front I still recommend this little book quite highly. The reason that I do is that the calming signals she describes and advises the use of are extremely effective. I can attest to this as I have experimented extensively with them on nervous, reactive dogs one of whom is my own. It is remarkable indeed to see a dog’s mood shift and to watch the dog relax as it recognizes what you are saying to it. It gives one an amazing feeling of being in communication with the dog in quite a different way than running through some obedience routines does; although it is true that that can also be calming to a stressed dog. This book is certainly worth studying; even if you don’t find yourself in perfect alignment with the author’s philosophy of training there is much that is valuable to be learned here.

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