Friday, March 09, 2007

 

Politics and the Art of Teaching Dogs Not to Bite or Bark

Copyright 2007 by Donovan Baldwin

I was born in America, raised in the south of the 50's and 60's, lived in Europe for six years, attended three colleges, and was bitten by two "bad dogs" when I was a boy. Actually, several dogs have had a nip, not to mention cats, but those particular two were known to be "bad dogs".

How many times have you and I said or thought something, or reacted in a certain way because of factors like those? How many times have we thought about it later and realized that our initial reaction, whether correct or incorrect, was based almost entirely on what we had heard, read, or absorbed through our finely tuned "skin" of expectations and beliefs?

It happens to a lot of us with some regularity, and hopefully, over time, we learn that we should delve a little deeper into the facts and realities of a situation or a person before we reach some sort of damning or beatifying conclusion.

Now, that's those of us who are introspective and capable of pulling ourselves up to a higher plane of existence. In other words, you and me.

Let's talk about all the other people.

Most of them will never give a second thought to their actions or beliefs other than something along the line of, "I'm afraid of dogs because I was bitten by one when I was a child."

Hmmmm! Something wrong here. When I was a child, I was bitten twice by "bad dogs" and several times by dogs without a qualifying adjective and I have absolutely no fear of the critters.

I wonder if maybe all those other factors in my life had some sort of impact on my adult reaction to dogs!

Now, let's talk about the dogs.

A dog is a dog is a dog. Oh sure, they have different personalities, and some breeds having been bred for particular traits or sports may tend to be more passive or more aggressive...whatever! In the final analysis, however, except for the occasional Hound-ibal Lecter, most will be like us to some extent, becoming what they are raised to be within the constraints of their doghood. They cannot talk, but they can communicate by barking. They scratch because they itch, they lick themselves in places that offend our sensibilities, they leave gifts on our lawns, and, in general do what they as dogs are prone to do. While we can teach them to use a certain spot in the yard, or to give us a signal when they need to go out to use that spot, for the most part, they could care less about our desires and wishes...not because they are unthinking, unfeeling, or bad. They are dogs by birth and instinct, molded with a veneer of "social graces" that we have forced them to acquire. This is not bad nor good. It is merely "dog".

Back to people now.

I am not trying to compare people to dogs per se, any more than the old saying, "A leopard can't change its spots" makes humans into leopards when applied to one of us. However, maybe seeing that once a nature is formed either by birth, education, environment, events, circumstance, and a host of other factors, we will understand that the creature known as man is almost as susceptible to blind adherence to our nature as any other being.

With all this in mind, how many times in history has a ruler, a politician, a diplomat, or even a private citizen felt compelled to teach someone in another land, of another faith and belief system, the "right" way to think and do things?

You know, anybody who knows much about dogs knows that if you think that you can take food away from a dog the way you take food away from a child, there is a chance you may get bitten. Most of us with a modicum of common sense would think twice before we tried to force a bear to wear a dress and sit at the table with us. This is not because the bear is any more "bad" than the dog, but it is in the nature of most creatures to be what they are and resist change. A thinking creature, such as a human, perhaps, can go one step further and see, or believe, that his or her very humanity is being threatened.

A dog usually bites once in response to a stimulus, but humans are more dangerous. They can decide when, where, and how...and how hard...to bite...or worse.

A human will not change his or her thoughts or way of life to yours simply on your say-so any more than a dog will stop barking or biting because it offends your sense of right and wrong, proper and improper, which has been developed within you for all the years that theirs were growing in them.

Beware the human. He bites.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, health and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness, yoga, writing, the environment, happiness, self improvement, and weight loss.

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Comments:
Hello Donovan,
I just found your site by accident. As a writer and creative person, it's always nice to hear about another writer's life experiences.

I've been chased by many dogs but never bitten. Isn't it interesting to look around and see so many who are mad at the dogs who bit them, but choose to kick the cats because it's safer to do so?
 
Hello Donovan,
I just found your site by accident. As a writer and creative person, it's always nice to hear about another writer's life experiences.

I've been chased by many dogs but never bitten. Isn't it interesting to look around and see so many who are mad at the dogs who bit them, but choose to kick the cats because it's safer to do so?
 
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