“Dogs Are People, Too”
Resist the siren song. It sounds benevolent on the surface, but once dogs are granted personhood, and once you accept the designation as a dog’s guardian rather than its owner, then someone else will eventually be in control of how you raise and train a dog. In fact, even the idea that one can go out and purchase a dog will be thrown into question. (One can’t purchase people to keep as pets.)
This author is in a conundrum of his own making. Forty years ago I didn’t need Cat Scans or MRI machines, I didn’t even know what the caudate nucleus was, and yet I discovered that dogs are emotional beings capable of love. I wasn’t limited by the “constraints of behaviorism” because I wasn’t projecting human thoughts (survival, dominance, submission, territoriality, possessiveness, guilt, jealousy, anger, hate, etc., etc..) onto what dogs were doing. I was studying how emotion, a flow dynamic, moved through the many to weave them into one emotion-as-energy system. In other words, love, i.e. syncopated emotional energy, is a fundamental organizing principle of the canine nature. In other-other words, the nature of nature is to nurture. That’s the only statement logically consistent with nature as a flow system. (See the Constructal Law) One does not need an MRI scan or behavioral science to not want animals to suffer, to want to train dogs to be as happy as they can be, and to regard dogs as the emotional beings they are. This awareness comes naturally. Our heart already knows.
(This is the greatest irony. Modern behaviorism is scanning the dog's brain to find what dogs have in common with us. But what we have in common will not be found in the caudate nucleus or any other structure within the brain, otherwise we could live with apes or chimps which have a brain much closer to ours. What we have in common with dogs is not our personhood, but our Heart.)
Dogs are not stupid people. Dogs go by feel. They feel what we feel and this is how they know. A person on the other hand can choose to not go by feel. A person can set themselves apart (temporarily) from the flow dynamic. Trust your heart. Your heart knows how to flow. And if you don’t want someone to tell you how to feel, don’t let them take your dog away by making him/her a person with you as their custodial guardian. Master the Medium, Be the Owner.