Really good blog post here.
Most important part:
One of my favorite things about Turid’s presentation was that she provided me with the opportunity to see dog training as it is viewed in another culture, that of Turid’s native Scandinavia. In the course of her presentation, Turid said something to the effect of, “you Americans are control freaks with your dogs! You want to control when they look at something in the environment, for how long, when they look at you, when and if they are allowed to sniff something interesting in the environment, how quickly or slowly they walk, etc.”
I see what Turid is saying. As a culture, we Americans tend to be pushy, demanding, type A, control freaks. We want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. The concept of, “we must be leaders to our dogs at all times,” really does fit nicely in with our fast-paced, control freak culture.
I am hesitant to post this, imagining what will probably be a passionate backlash from those who may disagree with me, but I will say that now I’ve had many months to reflect on Turid’s presentation, I have come to decide that perhaps, just maybe, we should try to let our dogs take the lead more often.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have what might be called hippie ideas about how humans relate to dogs.
Unlike the author of that blog post, I am not so hesitant to post anything like this, simply because I know that we Americans like micromanaging our dogs.
We take it as an affront to our egos if the dog doesn’t do what we say every time.
When someone is in that mindset, it is hard to have any kind of rational discourse. Trust me. You’ve read my blog posts that counter Cesar Millan’s poppycock. You know what even considering this does to certain people.
I actually think a lot of this comes from a certain level of personal insecurity. I can’t control everything in my life, but I can make my dog “mind me.”
And I think some of it comes from the bizarre romance about what working dogs are. If the founders of a certain type of dog training did it this way, then we must do it now, even if there are other ways of doing it.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” Einstein once said.
And I think so much of that applies to dogs.
Dogs are not living up to their potential as a species. I could only imagine what the relationship between our two species would be like if we’d just let go a little.
We’re the species with the control problems.
It’s not them.
Yes, train them. Teach them rules and social mores.
But we have to let go at some point. Otherwise, the dog becomes an extension of egos and ceases being its own entity.
And you don’t have a relationship.
You have master and slave.