We’ve decided to foster a couple of puppies for the next 6 weeks, with the idea we’ll adopt one permanently at the end of that time. So, hey! Big news for us. Obviously we’re ready to get moving on all the life changing. Expect profuse puppy posts.
Anyway, this decision has had us pouring over our substantial collection of dog-training books. I’ve been reading up on Culture Clash, which we enjoyed so much the first time around that our copy sports large wine stains. I wanted to share this paragraph from the introduction, describing why it’s silly to think that dogs are going to behave the way you want just to please you:
My dogs’ brains are continuously and expertly checking out the behavior of humans, working out to eight decimal places the probability at any given second of cookies, walks, attention, Frisbee and endless hours of deliriously orgasmic games with the latex hedgehog. They appear devoted to me because I throw a mean Frisbee and have opposable thumbs that open cans. Not to say we don’t have a bond. We are both bonding species. But they don’t worship me. I’m not sure they have a concept of worship. Their love is also not grounds for doing whatever I say. It is, in fact, irrelevant to training. To control their behavior, I must constantly manipulate the consequences of their actions and the order and intensity of important stimuli.
In addition to being right on, as far as I’m concerned, this reminds me how similar I found dog training and managing a classroom full of 8th graders to be.