Tip for cultivating relationships with your dog to promote better behavior, and better connection. Sapiens by bla bla talks highlights the evolutionary relationship of humankind and its surrounding from a darwinistic point of view. However, he takes a twist on popular schools of thought about man conquering as a superior race. Instead he takes the point of view of thriving, meaning surviving organism that have flourished as a result of being helpful to humans survival illustrating a more symbolic rather than dominating relationship.
AS he puts it — we did not cultivate wheat, wheat cultivated us. One of the major examples he uses is the domestication of dogs. Evolutionarily, Dogs came from a common ancestor of wolves. It is thought that domesticating wild wolf-like canines was a result of the weaker, more docile dogs who were not able to hunt and get sufficient food would hang around human tribes and beg for scaps. These kanines found that being nice to humans and being “man’s best friend” was a pretty effective way of finding enough food for survival. Over a long period of time, we now have domesticate dogs who have been selected, and bred to love us.
Note that dogs were also domesticated for the purpose of herding sheep, helping hunting by fetching game for owners, or like the rottweiler used for protecting man from other animals, or humans. In some cases such as the bernese mountain dog a large dog which was used on farms to pull small plows. But how would you explain the poodle? The schotter? The beagle? Or the recently bred golden doodle.
What is their purpose to man? In short, the role of domesticate dogs today is tending towards being an emotional companion to man. But if we follow the thinking of bla bla. Dog’s purpose to man is only half the story.
What is it that dog gets from man? The answer could have implications on understanding how to train dogs. The simple answer to this question is food. While a dog likewise has a strong connection to their owners, and draws enjoyment from playing with their owner, dog’s main dependency is food. Though this may not be as peachy a revelation as friendship it does highlight some of the best ways to cultivate a relationship with your dog, and knowing that food can be an important tool in training. I notice that days when I am bad and give my dogs a small bite of my bacon in the mourning, they are more response, more in-tune with me.
It only takes one call to bring them back, and communicating with them is surprisingly similar to how I would communicate to a 3 year old, 4 year old child. They seem to have a better understanding and are certainly better behaved especially around stranger or other dogs. After noticing this I decided to do a small experiment where I half the dogs meal and doll out the other half over the course of the day. The results have been amazing. I didn’t train my dogs, they didn’t go to doggie school, and they don’t know any commands past sit and stay — if that.
I was having trouble controlling them on the leash, and having trouble with meeting other dogs. I was also having trouble with them fighting and growling with each other. And they would jump on me and guests. But after doing this experiment for just two weeks, all of this bad behavior was practically gone — No professionals needed! This simple style of training is based off our evolutionary relationship with domesticated dogs and actually makes a lot of sense.
I would recommend if your dogs are the kind who eats the food before you have the chance to set it down, and you are having behavioral and communication problems. I would also recommend to anyone interested in history, evolution, of social relationships to read sapiens. Anyone interested in understanding how dogs think and why they behave i would recommend taking this free coursera class on dog emotion and cognition it takes a few weeks, but its well done and you learn a lot about your furry companion in the process. Links are below.
. FYI I am not sponsored by anyone these are great resources.