Tag Archives: human psychology

Tail

In some ways humans are better off than canines. They can always walk off leash, for instance. But if one takes a holistic point of view, canines have the most benefits. We are the ones with the happy simple lives: we guard, play and eat when we want and sleep the rest of the time. Much better than humans, who seem to be in a hurry all the time doing… yes, what exactly? I don’t know. Working, M tells me. Working for what, when they already have a house and plenty of food?

When it comes to physical differences canines are much better off than humans, too. Humans seem to navigate on one sense only: eyesight. Canines have sharp eyes, but also extraordinary hearing and smelling capabilities. Not to mention our seventh sense, which enables us to feel trouble that is coming to us (like a bad mannered dog in the dog park). We have wonderful warm fur (no clothes needed), pretty ears and, best of all: a tail. Humans do not have a tail. And that is very sad for them. With a tail, you see, one can do so many things.

Like using it as a counterweight when something asks for thorough nose-investigation.

It is also a clear tool for communication, as you can see: my friend near the water signals me she is ready for playing and I answer her with my tail in the same position. The game is on, friend!

The tail high up means: I am stronger than you are, try me! It is also a signal of extreme alertness – I put my tail up high when I smell a burglar, or a cat. By the way: in the above picture my friends were not really fighting, they were just testing one another’s strength. The dog in the back thought it pretty silly, as you can see.

A tail is a real asset. It is sad humans do not have one.

 

Subtle ways of getting what you want

In the last four years I have developed sophisticated ways of telling humans what I want. One has to do that, because humans tend to miss the most important things around them. They for instance focus on one thing when the action is elsewhere.

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So to make sure they do not miss what I want, I developed The Method. When humans are eating something delicious, I have a subtle way of letting them know I want to eat it too:

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Something else I developed over time is a method for making sure I go with them when they leave the house. Usually I don’t mind being alone in the house, it gives me an opportunity to doze in the sun undisturbed. But sometimes I do very much want to go with M and P. So when they start putting their coats on, I do this. Now it is impossible to pass me, obviously, so they will have to take me with them:

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With canines, of course, one does not need this kind of method. We sense what another dog wants and give it – or not. Although some dogs are amazingly incapable of sensing another dog’s intentions. With them there is only one approach to get the message through.

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The ultimate number for a pack

Recently I read a most interesting article about the ultimate number of humans in a group. It was an article about business organizations (all right, I’ll admit it: I was very bored at that moment and nothing else was around for reading or chewing upon). So I read the article – and afterwards chewed it. Anyway: it was kind of interesting. It stated that the ultimate number for a group of people, in an organization or any other group, is 50. With 50 humans know each other and feel related to each other. That makes their pack successful, because they feel responsible for the group as a whole.

I have been wondering about this. For 50 seems a very large pack to me. My pack of bandidos, the guys I hang out with when I am with my personal trainer Nicoline, is around 15. Which is a nice number, because we know each other thoroughly. Sometimes our pack extends a little, when we meet new dogs on the beach and we play with them. But it never exceeds to 50. Fifty dogs, that seems kind of a nightmare to me. Besides: it would never fit into Nicoline’s van!

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I think it would be quite a sight, running with 50 dogs on the beach. A lot of humans and not-so-bold canines think it is already a bit unnerving when we storm at them with our pack of 15. Imagine what it would be like if there would be 50 of us…
So with humans it may be 50, but with dogs I think the ultimate group size is 15. I do not remember clearly how many of us where in the Greek shelter where I come from. I lived in the puppy quarters back then, and I don’t think we were with more than 15. We had great fun, that I can tell you! With 15 you can have fun. With 50 it becomes a bit crowded.

Lucky me!

Most days are good, but some days are even better. I was on the beach, fetching ball. However, after a while we came to a part of the beach with loads of nice smelly things. Of course I had to discover what it was – it turned out to be a few crabs, already eaten alas, and one dead fish. Anyway I lost focus on the ball and another dog took it.

Little fish!

I didn’t mind, really, because at that moment I found the fish more alluring. But humans tend to attach to stuff, including balls. I witnessed some angry argument between two humans earlier, because the dog of one of them had stolen the ball of the other dog. Not M, mind you, she won’t get angry over something trivial like that. She has no need: we possess loads of balls, because I find a lot of them for her.

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The human of the dog who stole my ball, however, did not know this. Apparently his dog steals balls often, because this human immediately came up with a clever solution: he offered another ball to M. M accepted graciously. After a while, when I had lost my interest in the fish, she threw it for me. When I caught it, I had a most wonderful surprise. It was a squeaky ball! My favorite! What a great trade-in. Lucky me!

Appearances

Humans look at the outside a lot. When they see a big dog, they assume it will be bold and brave. Little dogs they think are weak and therefore in need of caring. For us dogs this is not so. We do not look so much at the outside, but we feel and smell what is inside. The energy of a human or a dog tells us everything we need to know.

Some little dogs are very brave. Take this one, part of our pack of beach dogs. I mean the little one standing on the far right, the one with the crooked legs:

Exploring

One would not tell by it’s looks, but this one is a leader amongst us, the Bandidos. Whenever we meet a new dog, some of us go out to sniff the new dog and then we make way for Koko. That is his name. Koko will determine whether the new dog is accepted as a temporary friend of our pack. If not, Koko will turn his back on the new one and we will chase the dog away. Koko is a rescue dog from Spain, a real fighter and afraid of nothing. You would’t tell that by his looks, right?

Some other dogs in our pack aren’t to be messed with either. Despite their small appearance, they are tough. Like these two.

Little friends

Their looks do not tell you who they really are. I guess with humans this is the same. Humans have more means for decorating their outside (only take the amount of clothes they have! Astonishing!), but they can’t fool us. They can wear impressive clothes, but if they are unsure of themselves we feel it immediately.

I think dogs are not the only species with the ability to detect the true character of others, I think every specie can do this. Including humans. They also can feel the energy of another human or canine. They just have to open themselves to it. And practice on it, a lot, since they misled themselves for a long time by focusing too much on the outside.

Raining cats and dogs

Humans tend to think too much. Because of this, they can’t see things as they really are and they create problems, problems that in reality do not exist (they only exist in the human mind). Take the weather. Yesterday it was pouring with rain. Humans do not like that, they complain about it and say grumpy things. I do not get it. Maybe when one human complains to another human that human will alter his behaviour, but with the weather this is not possible. It won’t change because humans complain about it. So why bother?

Besides, by thinking about the weather as a problem humans make it too hard for themselves. We have to go out anyway, you know. So stop wasting energy on complaining and just go out there and enjoy the moment. Because if you do, you will experience it is fun, no matter what the weather is like. Yes you will get wet, so what? That is not such a big deal, is it?

Kind of wet

Humans also have a lot of words to describe the weather. Most of them puzzle me. Like this one: ‘it is raining cats and dogs’. Well, I’ve never experienced that. It would be awesome, though, especially the part concerning the cats!

Merry Christmas

Humans have a very odd relationship with animals. They keep them as pets, some humans even treat them as human kids. But they also eat them and even torture them in terrible animal farms, for their meat or their fur.

In this time of year this attitude is even more puzzling. For some reason humans associate animals with the festive season. Not just for eating (which I don’t mind, I hope we will eat a big fat turkey!), but also for decorating. Humans buy these things to fill their houses. Like this one: stuffed fluff in the form of a shockingly white reindeer.

Christmas reindeer

Or a very silly looking bird with fake feathers:

Christmas owl

And even a plastic fox!

Christmas fox

What is the fun of that? All this fake stuff can’t run so it is not good for chasing. When you eat it you will end up with a stomach ache or a mouth full of feathers. It won’t give you any joy because you can’t play with it. It won’t give you any love either.

Humans are so very odd sometimes. I really do not get it. Why have a fluffy owl or a plastic fox when you can have the real thing? It is much more fun!

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Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Hierarchy & dominance

Yesterday I met a dog on the beach who asked me who is on top of the hierarchy in my pack. He had read my blog about knowing one’s place, where I state that Chuck is at the bottom of this hierarchy. The dog was curious where I stand. I thought it a very stupid question. I am on top, of course!

The dog who asked me this is not the brightest one and therefore it is not good if he uses his tiny brain for subjects that are too demanding for him. He’d better focus on necessary tasks (like finding food). That is why I gave him this answer. The correct answer to his question is not that simple. You see: a hierarchy in a group of dogs or humans or a mixed group is not static, but dynamic. Who is ‘on top’ depends on the task that needs to be done.

As I wrote before about the misconception of dominance, dogs and humans work together in a way that is best for a certain situation. Every group consists of leaders and followers, but they are not always the same humans or dogs. The human or dog who is most able to perform the task required is in the lead. So it depends on the task who is ‘boss’. I read in these management magazines (P reads them too) that it works exactly the same way in modern human organizations. There is no boss who tells everybody what to do, but there are specialists, working together.

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That is exactly how it works in packs of dogs and humans, too. Humans know the way in the complex human world, so they guide us there. It is their speciality. Dogs know the way in the natural and spiritual world, so we guide our humans there. We teach them to be patient (when we do not come when called, for instance), to be clear in their intentions (you cannot lie to us, we see right through you) and we give comfort in hard times. Our hierarchy is fluid, it changes according to the circumstances.

Anyway, that is too difficult a story to tell the dog with the tiny brain, so I just told him I am the boss in our little hierarchy. He is a terrible newsmonger, I am sure he will tell all the beach dogs that I am the boss. Good! That’s great for my image.

Losing my cool

I am a cool dog. Now that I am grown up I know what I like and which dogs & humans I want to be friends with. All else, things and dogs and humans, I ignore. So I can stay cool, all the time.

However there are some things that really annoy me. Like these:

1. Dogs that come creeping towards me, with their gaze focussed on me. When this happens, I snap. Humans don’t understand this, some of them even get angry. They say ‘but my dog just wants to play!’. Play, ha! This is not playing, this is what we do when we start the hunt. I do it when I see rabbits, cats and toy dogs. In which case, by the way, M loses her cool. But that is a different story.

2. Nervousness. When I was little I got nervous too whenever I encountered a nervous dog or human. Now I just get angry and I want to discipline that human or dog. It helps, you know, because then they go from nervous to scared or from nervous to angry. Both are much better emotions! These emotions lead to action, while nervousness paralyses. So it is a good thing that I lose my cool when I meet nervous humans or dogs.

3.  The neighbors’ dogs. They are way too often trespassing my territory, my street. How I would really really like to have a good fight with them! Not playing rough, but truly fighting. I don’t know why humans do not allow us to fight. A good fight solves so many things, grudges and other problems. We dogs should get the change to fight more often. It can be a big relief!

In a way, losing one’s cool isn’t too bad. It relieves, it helps others to take action and it gives good strong energy you can use for something you love. Like chasing a friend.

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Knowing one’s place

We dogs are easy to understand, if you know what to look for. We live by a few simple rules. Hierarchy is one of them. To us hierarchy is very important. That makes sense, because we live in groups. In groups of dogs or humans, that doesn’t matter to us. In a group you need a  hierarchy to function. Wild dogs need this structure to hunt and get their food. Can you imagine what would happen if every member of the pack would do as he pleases, one chasing a squirrel, the other chasing a rabbit and the rest of them snoozing in the sun because they ‘don’t feel like doing anything today’? Right: they won’t get anything to eat and they will die.

A lot of modern dogs do not need to hunt anymore. We are city dogs and farm dogs: we get fed by humans. But still we need hierarchy. It gives clear rules, a structure for us to function in. Like humans, we like to know the boundaries, so we can feel safe and free inside them. No structure means uncertainty and we do not like that. When there is no structure, we will make one ourselves. It comes natural to us, as you can see when dogs meet for the first time. They will sort out the rules and the hierarchy pretty quick. I noticed that humans do the same: as soon as they meet, they start exploring each others position in order to sort out the hierarchy. Funny, hey? Humans and dogs do not differ that much, surprisingly.

Like I said: we dogs live in groups and it does not matter to us whether it is a group of dogs or humans. We call it our pack, either way. My pack consists of M and P and Chuck. Sometimes it gets enlarged with other temporary members, friends from M and P or me. But this is my core pack. We have a strict hierarchy. Chuck is way down this hierarchy. That is why I let him sleep on my bed, but he has to stay on the ground. And I sleep in the chair. Which is more cosy and soft and also higher. We dogs take things very literal: higher in the hierarchy also means higher in height. A dog that sleeps on the sofa, the bed, in a chair is higher than the ones that stay on the floor. Like Chuck. I can even remove him from the cushion on the floor if I feel like it and he won’t complain, ever. Chuck knows his place, our hierarchy is very clear.

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