UPDATE: Twitchy reports Washington Post posted an article that called for a post.
Like people in the Dark Ages, many scientists think that an animal is intelligent only if it exhibits human-like behaviour. It would be a fair comparison if humans were capable of feats that animals do too. When was the last time a human ran like a cheetah and brought down a wildebeest with a bite to the neck? When did man build a hive, collect nectar and make honey? Never. So, why are animals measured against a scale meant for humans?
It is not just scientists. Even ordinary people expect their pets to acquire human-like traits. Dogs are prime victims of these unreasonable expectations. Like any other mammal, dogs have a specific lifestyle. They are optimized for it. Forcing it to do other things is torture. But, dogs being dogs, they aim to please and they suffer.
Dogs are pack animals. They prefer their own kind. Wild dogs do not require humans. Domestic dogs are dependent on man for food. Even then, dogs like to be free. Dogs in rural areas have full run of their neighbourhood. They socialize with other dogs and go anywhere they like. Theoretically, that is. Dogs form groups, mark their territory and fiercely defend it against other dogs. So, a dog’s range is limited to one or two square kilometres at best. In urban areas, the situation is very bad for dogs. People living in the urban jungle have imprisoned the dogs in concrete prison complexes known as apartment buildings. Local government regulations ensures that dogs have to be under the leash in public areas. If a dog escapes the leash, it is a BAD DOG. If a BAD DOG is caught, it is put to death or the owner pays a fine. Dog owners do not mind the regulations. In fact, they were proud and happy if the dog ignores its natural instincts and accepts the leash. Dogs in apartment cannot bark when they want to or play when they want to. They cannot bite, scratch or destroy the furniture. What does an apartment have for a dog apart from food? Nothing. And, how does the dog respond to this mistreatment? With absolute love and loyalty.
What does the dog owner think of this torture? Oh, no, they treat dogs like family. They do not even call it a dog when it is within hearing distance. Some dog lovers are so crazy that they admonish outsiders who refer to their dog as a dog. Some of these unfortunate creatures are given haircuts resembling landscaped gardens. Most owners give dogs a bath but do dogs need baths? No, they do not. When you let the dog inside of the house instead of making it stay in the kennel, you want it to be ‘clean’ – clean like a human. Can a dog be clean? You can give crystal-clear mineral water from Lake Baikal to a dog and the stupid thing will still drink from the proverbial bowl. Dogs do not use toilet paper but you let that thing sit on the sofa! You do not know the meaning of cleanliness and you want the dog to be clean!
Can you expect a dog to be like a human? A dog does not want to be treated like a human. You are making the same stupid mistake as the stupid scientists. A dog is happy only when it is left to be a dog. A dog is happiest not when it is with humans but when it is with other dogs.
Who should have dogs? Should people who do not have a garden or a backyard have dogs? No. Do not imprison a dog in your concrete jail because YOU want to be happy. That is extreme selfishness. Your dog is not happy in your apartment. Should disabled and lonley old people have dogs? Go ahead and make an exception for them. Only those with large farms and raising special dog breeds should be allowed to fence in their dogs. An expensive dog in an apartment jail has no use for the special skills present in its genes.
How can a domestic dog be happy? Get rid of the doggie ordinance. Free the dogs. Let them fight it out and divide their territory in their own way. Let them roam the countryside and socialize unhampered. If they bite humans or their numbers rise to pestilence levels, exterminate them immediately. What about rabies? Dog communities are self-policing. A mad dog will be immediately identified and driven away.
Dogs working in a farm have specific duties and they cannot be allowed to roam outside for obvious health reasons. But, let the others be free. Do not shave the hair off a dog’s skin or make them wear silly dresses. Dogs also have an image to maintain.
[I have mixed feelings about this one. After writing it, my compound is run over by stray dogs. They are creating a nuisance. It is as if some dogs have read this and did not like it.]
Why do dogs bite the postman?
Dogs mark their territory but postmen do not respect them. Postmen pick up scents of dogs from other territories. When the postmen walks in to your dog’s territory, he is bringing in the scents of extra-territorial dogs. The dog goes straight for the postman’s feet because that is where the ETs seem to be hiding. Dogs chase vehicles for the same reason. Believe it or not! Well, that is my theory.