Educate a dog means influence its character, in shaping it according to our requirements. But what is the character of a dog? Singifications of ‘character’
If we were not able to answer this question, we have no discourse on education: should therefore review a few key points here. In the same way that the word ‘character’ for man, has a double meaning.
The first indicates a set of psychological data (courage, temper, biting, curiosity and so on): is a subject that has all these qualities quite a dog ‘ great character’, while that which they lack, wholly or partly, shows little character.
The second meaning is closest, but at the same time more distant, in the sense of ‘human’, of good character or bad character. It is closer to the human meaning because in general, when we talk about the ‘good character’ of a person, we think a human friendly, available, rich in moral qualities; While in otherwise, said a person has bad character.
Peculiarities of the dog
However, the case of the dog is very different: a subject having good character is both a friendly, available, good dog towards men and towards his fellow… but a dog with bad character may not be a dog without moral qualities, for the simple reason that one dog has no moral sense.
No dog – unlike the man – can be “bad” because it does not conform to rules or ethical laws. The dog has only two models of behavior : one of them is provided by its nature (what is called “instinct “), the other by the man. Now consider the case of a dog biting: where can therefore come the ‘bad character’ which pushes to bite people? Certainly not in the nature!
Thousands of years of domestication did not much alter the mental state of the dog: if it took forms, dimensions and the different colors on the outside, he remained, ‘ inside’, the same as 12,000 years ago.
The dog brain, at least at birth, is at any point similar to that of a Wolf : this is the man who, by his successive interventions ‘invaded’ psychological growth of the dog, making him think that two-legged creatures that surround it are the same to him and him learning to respect and follow a Pack “who walks upright.
This process ‘weediness’ is called imprinting ; in absence of imprinting, the dog feels no connection to human, which is for him a foreign and unknown, in the same way as a tiger or an elephant. The dog has therefore no “natural instinct” that could push it to aggressive towards man, and he is totally devoid of “natural instincts” that push him docile or affectionate behaviour.
These impulses are born of human intervention during the imprinting phase; without this intervention, the dog will have an instinctive reaction, that to protect themselves, and so escape. The Wolf in little Red Riding Hood, as everyone should know today is only a literary mystification: a ‘true’ Wolf, meeting with a grandmother in the Woods, would not eat but would run away. And a dog who would never receive of imprinting, meeting with a grandmother in the Woods, save just as much.
Only two cases might prefer the attack to flee a Wolf (or a wild dog): the first case is that of a female defending its scope, the second that of a subject threatened and cornered without possibility of escape. In nature, it almost never happens that a wolf is nowhere to escape; in a human habitat, on the other hand, it may happen that a dog feels threatened and trapped. This is a factor to take into account when we hear of aggressive dogs.
For the time being, it is possible to draw two conclusions from the above: If the dog has no moral sense, and unique “natural instinct” that he has towards man is to run away to avoid the danger, it follows that aggressive dogs are not ‘natural’ dog, but issues that are caused by human behavior.