A hot iron, because the dog is part of our society, not to treat him as it is appropriate to the species, is a violation of our idea of dealing with animals!
But what is species-appropriate, especially with the dog?
Appropriate husbandry tries to orientate itself on the natural living conditions of the animals. To largely satisfy their needs and create a living environment that comes close to their original ways of life.
With the tiger or elephant, even with the wolf, we can imagine that quite well! Dense jungle, vast steppe or the mountain ranges of Rocky Mountain or the forests and meadows of Lausitz!
But with the dog? It has been part of our society for thousands of years! Its habitat is the human environment, the courtyard, the house, the city!
Dogs can adapt extremely well to a wide variety of human habitats. You can find them in Hamburg, New York. At Timmendorfer Strand, in the mountains of Switzerland. With the indigenous people of South America, in Greenland with the Eskimos and in Australia! Around the globe, in all imaginable habitats that humans also inhabit.
So you are part of us! Scientists sometimes speak of co-evolution in humans and dogs!
So what is the humanization of an animal that lives so closely with us?
I once asked a couple of dog owners and many answered, among other things. the following: letting the dog sleep in bed, letting the dog on the sofa, putting on coats for the dog, buying plush collars and dog handbags, talking to the dog as if he were human, etc.
Let’s come back to the species-appropriate attitude! The dog lives in our house, in the parlor, in the hallway, in the bedroom! But also in the jungle and in the ice desert! How can you say what is appropriate for the species? Dogs like to live in groups, but not necessarily. Dogs like the company of people, at least my dogs snuggle up to us in the evening and snore with relish. And they are largely selected to join humans, but less so to other dogs.
We are certainly still far from being able to create an ethogram for the dog completely! There are too many different habitats and … too many different dog types!
We can almost only conclude from the behavior of the dog whether it is worth living for and therefore appropriate for the species! If we can look back on a long life of the dog, without any major problem, without, or with only a few diseases, little aggression, etc., we can assume that our housing conditions for this individual were appropriate to the species and appropriate to the type. If the dog was able to control its environment so that it felt comfortable, we probably did it! “Controlling your surroundings” does not mean that he follows us every step of the way, but describes the basis of every existence! If you can’t control your surroundings, stress diseases are likely! This also does not mean that if you have a problematic dog, you do not keep it properly! One should only know about the problems and train the behavior of the dog accordingly so that it can feel better or manage the environment accordingly.
Dogs can often not choose their habitat! We go to the breeder or to the animal shelter or choose a dog from an animal protection organization on the Internet. We decide where he will live from now on! We decide when he can go out, we decide what to eat, we decide with whom he may reproduce and we often decide who he should / shouldn’t play with!
What is left for him are the things that dictate his biology! Dogs perceive their environment differently than we do! You can smell much better, hear better, see differently! Their point of view is different, their ideas of social interactions are different. While in Central European human culture it is almost a must to look the other person’s face in the face while talking to them, this often poses a threat in the dog world. Many dogs enjoy scenting themselves with a half-decayed fish. A fresh track of deer puts you in ecstasy!
We assume they know the meaning of property!
If we do not know and cannot / do not want to recognize the needs of dogs, however individual they may be, and we dictate to them the human view of the world, our reality, then, in my opinion, we humanize our dogs!
If we do not accept that our dog does not like the dog of our acquaintances, although we like to go for a walk with her and this keeps our dog in a difficult situation; if we don’t accept that sniffing satisfies part of his needs; if we don’t accept that the dog doesn’t like to be touched, then we humanize dogs! If we assume that the dog can reflect on his behavior when he pulls on the leash and we punish it, then we assume that he has abilities that we cannot even 100% fulfill ourselves.
We humans see the world from a human perspective, we have no choice but to humanize, especially in situations in which we, let’s say, are emotionally pre-stressed! The dog can only see the world from his perspective. We should be aware of this, at least from time to time!
It is up to us to make our world more tangible by learning and observing to better understand its behavior and needs. Have fun in the world of dogs