Published by: Fastpencil Inc (24th September 2015)
Some time ago, dogs became as interwoven in the American culture as baseball, Apple pure and the Fourth of July. In fact, in most households, dogs have even trumped evolution itself and jumped to being four legged humans where they are adorned with human names, designer outfits and feed diets that would confound even the best nutritionist. In most cases, we've granted them our human intelligence and our sacred human emotions as well. They are no longer dogs to us, they're family! Yet ask that msn had done to carve the wolf from the wild to create a surrogate human, today's dog is still a wolf at heart and the accompanying instincts borne from such ancestry defines how the dog approaches its world. The ontogeny of anthropomorphism, where we attach our human traits to our pets, is the most damaging and paralytic problem associated with dig ownership today. Believing in a fairy tale world where dogs possess the same moral consciousness and sense of altruism as attributed to humans has led to a drastic increase in leash laws, dogs being outlawed in a rising number of city and national parks, some beds being banned in several states, an alarming escalation of aggression towards humans, a rising cost in homeowner and business insurance, and a record number of clinically maladaptive dogs.
This book is not a training book. It does not cover obedience topics such as heel, sit, down, stay, and chime. Instead, it's about fighting the ship of American dog ownership by changing our perception of our dogs. It is about the author growing up in the Alaskan Wild under the tutelage and guardianship of a Special Forces survival instructor who introduced him to the ways of wolves and the similarities they shared with dogs. It is about the wisdom and splendour of nature and the many life lessons she provides. Mostly, it is about developing a deep understanding of the authors of your dog's behaviour, nature and the wolf. In doing so, you will truly learn who and what your dog really is and the whys and hows of its behaviour. You will learn the tools that nature gave them to survive in both the mountains and our homes. You will learn how activating and deactivating natural impulses and mechanisms in your dog will lead to the harmonious existence and the control you always dreamed of. Most of all, you will come to embrace the wild in your dog and the grace and the peace that is breathed into its acceptance.
Goodness, I'm not entirely sure where I should start. Parts of the synopsis I agree with, more parts I most definitely do not. Where the author grew up, together with his experiences and culture have clearly influenced his opinions about the similarities between dogs and wolves. I'm willing to bet that should he have been born elsewhere, his views would be entirely different.
As a multiple owner of dogs rescued from certain death at the hands of man, this was always going to be a hard sell to me. I've seen with my own eyes how much psychological damage and distress can be caused by human's improper treatment of dogs. There is a part in this book that concerns the author's refusal to work with a woman to help integrate a rescued pitt bull into her family, which included 3 other rescued dogs. He refused because he considered that the new dog (who he suspected had been used for dog fighting) was not a 'good fit' with the household; let's just say the consequences were deadly. The author also mentions that thinking 'there are no bad dogs, just bad owners' is short sighted. He's obviously never rescued a 'bad' dog from being euthanised and seen the fantastic progress that can be made using positive reinforcement.
While I may not agree with many of the author' points of view, there were a couple of parts that made interesting reading, once I'd ignored all the author's prejudices. As I'm not American, I'm not up to speed with some of the laws around dogs and other statistics, I'm pretty sure that 'believing in a fairy tale world where dogs possess the same moral consciousness and sense of altruism as attributed to humans' is not responsible for the alleged 'drastic increase in leash laws, dogs being outlawed in a rising number of city and national parks, some beds being banned in several states, an alarming escalation of aggression towards humans, a rising cost in homeowner and business insurance, and a record number of clinically maladaptive dogs'. I'd like to know how the author arrived at these conclusions and, indeed, where he got such information.