Monday, February 27, 2012

Every dog has its culture

What kind of a dog do you have? What group of dogs does your dog belong to? If you can not answer that questions, tell me, what your dog was your dog originally bred to do? On the first night of class, every student gets asked the above questions. In a room of 15-20 people, one 1 or 2 people may know what group of dogs their dog belongs to or the original purpose the dog was bred for. Knowing what your dog was bred for, or the group of dogs it belongs to, helps you understand that dog's culture. Think of it this way. As a race, and a species, we, the two legged, are humans/people (not going into scientific names). As a race, as an animal, the four legged we have as companions )besides cats, are dogs. Culture differentiates people. Learning about different cultures helps us understand different people, and helps us relate their way of thinking, their actions, their behavior, their mannerisms etc. As people move away from their cultures, they must adapt to the culture of the society they live in. If not, they will find it difficult to coexist amongst the norm. This transition is a lifestyle one has to get used to and accustomed to right, its certainly not something that happens overnight or lasts for a short duration... its ongoing. Think of dogs the same way. As an animal, its a dog. Each dog is then defined by a culture, and that is its breed. Each breed is defined by its purpose, and depending on its purpose, that breeds way of thinking, interpreting information, mannerisms, behavior, language, differ from other breeds. Culture shapes structure, even for people... until we move out of our norm, away from our culture, and then structure shapes culture. Would you agree? When we begin to understand our dogs as individual of different cultures we realize why there is a clash, when we mix them with other dogs that don't have the same morals, beliefs, ethics, language. As social beings, just like humans, dogs can adapt with dogs of other cultures, through social interactions, exposure, play, and opportunity. When we begin to understand our dogs through their culture, we will learn why they behave in certain ways, why they make the choices they do, their motivations, their needs, the manner in which they process and relay information. We realize, not all dogs communicate, understand and behave in the same way, we realize they are different by their culture. When we being to understand our dogs through their culture, we open ourselves to accepting them as dogs, for their breeds, for their purpose in life, and we enable through opportunities that enrich them. We understand their actions far better than when their culture is not known... then we look at everything as a behavioral problem. Something we ought to correct or change. It's much easier to coexist when you respect your dog's culture, embrace your dog's culture, learn from your dog's culture, adapt to your dog's culture, or educate yourself before you choose right culture for you.

No comments: