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Friday, January 13, 2012

Between Man and Machine

That’s where I think most animals fall—they are somewhere between thinking, scheming, feeling, idea-generating, ego-cruising, evolving, loving man, and reliable, unchanging machines (until they break down).

Today at work, as I attempted to print out a 179-page document and then went to get my lunch, I assumed the job would be done and waiting for me when I got back. Wrong. The printer jammed. Well, dogs are sort of between the reliability of machines and the unpredictable nature of man. A child coming into a new home would have all sorts of emotions as she adjusts to new people, new family members, new environment. There would be many ups and downs, I’m sure. But Singer has been somewhere between reliable and unpredictable. Her nature keeps unfolding like a flower, although not always pleasantly. She is showing a preference for me, and only me, to take her outside to go potty. We have to work on that. Yesterday, Nate tried twice to take her out back to go potty, but she waited until I got home, took her on a walk and only then decides she wanted to go. Oh well. I feel foolish complaining, almost. But it is illustrative of my point. Singer is not a machine, she has her own feelings about her routines, yet she does conform to rules pretty well. That’s when expectations rise, and that’s when man and beast clash.

Sometimes man expects too much of beast. They are our friends, our family, and then we expect perfect canine behavior as well. We watch their behaviors and say, “Okay, this animal will be able to do this or that.” Then the animal decides that he or she doesn’t want to do this or that, without a clear reason why. I guess that’s why dog training is such big business. I bet there are more training manuals, classes, videos, etc. for training your dog than training your kid!

Tomorrow we start our intermediate dog training class for six weeks. I’m looking forward to it—we should have fun going through the exercises, and I’m hoping Singer will feel more comfortable with both Jeff and Nate as she learns to trust them more and respond positively to their commands. Jeff is attending, but Nate probably won’t go. I’m hoping he’ll take an interest, though, when he has the time. I’m sure she’ll do well, but I have to watch those expectations…! More on the class tomorrow!

Singer looking out at her yard, wondering where all that snow came from....
"I better see if there are any squirrels underneath my deck here..."

1 comment:

Marianne said...

I want snow. It's another bitterly cold, cloudless day here.