.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Dangerous Animals

Thanks to soh for sparking today's post. She asked why I would have a rottweiler for a pet.

Rottweilers are an intelligent, sensitive breed of dog who need daily exercise and stimulation, respond well to positive reinforcement, and require constant enforcement of clear boundaries. Even after living together for six years, my dog still tests those limits every once in a while. I always behave in a high-status way with her (making her move so that I can sit in a certain spot, for instance.) My dog is very fond of her routine; the security it gives her allows her to tolerate stressful situations and make good choices - like coming straight to me for help.

My dog chose me, by sticking to me like glue every time I went to visit her home, so that the owner (who had "inherited" her from a previous tenant) eventually asked me to take her in. I have taught her commands that we practice regularly such as "mine" and "drop it" just in case we ever need them, which we never have. On the contrary, she is a big chicken - she's afraid of the vacuum cleaner! A huge sponge for affection from friends or total strangers, the power of her love for me has got me through some really tough times. I dread the day she won't be there.

There is so much fear of the breed that is increased by media reports of dog attacks. We exploit them for our own nefarious purposes and demonize them when they react the only way they know how. It is much easier to blame the dog rather than look at ourselves and our failure to provide the training and leadership these dogs need so badly. A dog like this is a lot of work but incredibly rewarding to know. Can anyone else see the parallel with the needs of gifted people?

People who are treated inconsistently, with praise and affection one minute, rejection or abuse the next, grow mistrustful and twisted in a very deep way. The more intelligent and sensitive the person, the deeper the damage goes and the hearder it is to heal; the less sympathy and empathy they will develop. People who are not allowed to be themselves will eventually rebel against those who have oppressed them - and the ethical code they will use as they rebel will often be the same one they have experienced from their oppressors. That's a rational argument for loving and accepting all beings.

Technorati tags:

It seems to be much easier for people to react to stereotypes and media sensationalism than find out what the truth really is. The sweetest, most trustworthy dog I ever had was a pit bull. In the part of rural Florida where I was living at the time, pit bulls were common family pets. Of course, they never got the publicity that poorly bred dogs did, because violent behavior was almost unheard of. Breed them for gentleness, train them, and treat them well, and they're no more or less dangerous than any other breed. It doesn't seem to harm the rep of the breed when a cocker spaniel goes bad. I think a lot of the problem is how people perceive large dogs.

Thank you for posting on my blog. Your comment was very insightful and made a lot of sense. I just want to say that I met one Rottweiler, a nice big-headed fellow named Meugen, and he was a sweetheart. Loyal to his family and skeptical of men to be sure, but around me he was nothing but big smiles and slobbery kisses and soft whimpers. But with any creature its how you raise it, to an extent. Great website.
You're quite right. My family has a long history with labs, dogs that are supposedly one of the smartest and easiest to train breeds of dogs around as they're often used for aiding the blind and other work.
My father's lab however, is entirely oblivious to any kind of order and lives on her own whims. She turned out that way because they didn't bother trying to train her to be otherwise.
While it's true that like some people, certain breeds may be more predisposed to certain kinds of behavior, it is the upbringing and guidance inferred upon them that has the most amount of influence in what kind of animal they become.
A child predisposed for crime could learn to live a healthy life based on his influences and vice-versa.
Likewise, ill treatment towards a poodle could make it quite vicious while a geneerous heaping of love and respect can turn a rottweiler into a doting, family-friendly pooch.
It's quite obvious you have the latter.
If you are not a Buddhist, you could be. :O)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?