Mother Knows Best?
Donnie poses the following Stump A Chump question:
"In one of the Quantum Canine episodes (can't remember which) you explain a mama dog biting her young not as a correction but as "imprinting fear" so that when they see large prey they know not to go after the strong, healthy ones. Wouldn't this imply that mama dog is forming an intention, one that also requires her to plan for future run-ins with large prey? If mama dog ISN'T acting with intention and the fear imprint is simply a byproduct of her bite, why does she bite her puppies when they get too rowdy?"
KB: I can better appreciate from your question how a future consequence that is intelligent, can be hard to separate from the concept of intention, but this brings us to the crux of understanding the animal mind as having evolved in order to implement a networked-intelligence, rather than it being a self-contained computational capacity that apprehends change and its surroundings rationally. So let's ask some questions that might help us deconstruct this behavior; when they're little cubs and bopping around, the adults don't "discipline" them, it's only when they attain a certain age and are capable of a certain disposition that they ATTRACT the fear held within the pack. So what's happening within the mother's mind and what has changed in the puppies? A related question that sheds light, is why does a father who was beaten by his father, tend to beat his own son when you would think that such a man would have inordinate compassion for his son given what he experienced? But statistically we know that's not the case. Is the abusive father motivated by an intention to do something functional, or is there a function in the dysfunction? Can you identify the consistent principle by which the very young have license with the adults, and then they lose it, and to what end? Does the mother know best; and is this something dog owners need to emulate, or understand? Of direct application to this question is the article I wrote some time ago "Why dogs bark at strangers."