Nature has a way of bringing different species and phenomena together, and making them interact in unusual ways. The best way of recognizing the different occurrences in nature is mainly by observation. Through observation, the minds made the biggest and most revolutionary inventions. I chose to focus on a special animal species in my daily encounter for this paper; the dog. Dogs are the oldest domesticated animals and known as mans best friend. They are scientifically of different breeds and play several roles in the society for example hunting, home security, companionship and herding.
They play special roles like aiding handicapped people, medical detection, military and police assistance. I made an observation between two neighboring dogs; one trained as a handicapped persons assistance and the other one domesticated for security and companionship. My previous knowledge on animals was all animals function on animal instinct and primal genetic coding. My curiosity was roused by the ability of dogs to be trained to adapt to situations like assisting the handicapped, but retaining their primal nature. By observing how the dogs behaved towards each other for a stipulated period of time, I allowed myself to make a comparison between interaction of animals and interaction of human beings. The paper will describe the nature of interaction between dogs and other dogs and dogs and human beings. The paper will also describe the nature of interaction between human beings and fellow humans, based on a comparison of the behavior of dogs interacting with other dogs.
Interaction between dogs and other dogs
This section focuses on the interaction between dogs based on their behavior, socialization, intelligence and communication among each other. On initial encounter, dogs appear to be aggressive towards each other. When two dogs meet for the first time they portray traits like biting, nipping and growling at each other. They chase and bark at each other, while those close to each other have a form of physical mock fight. Their behavior towards each other can be categorized as primal hostility and marking of territory, while some people view it as normal animal play. The reaction is also a defense mechanism to perceived threat and over stimulation. The two dogs under observation displayed the same behavior as mentioned, as if they were unwelcoming of each other.
Dogs use five main forms of body language for communication. These include the face, eyes, tail, ears and a combination of lips, tongue and teeth. According to observation made, they wrinkle their face to show confusion and straighten it to show determination. Their eyes brightened up when excited or happy and their pupils dilated to show fear in danger. The dogs also appeared to have their ears raised mostly when in a relaxed mode and the ears hung as a sign of submission.
I noted that over a period of time the aggression wore off. The dogs seemed to be more welcoming of each other and would engage in some form of animal communication. The dogs appeared to be getting along and talking to each other through biting, paw slap, play bow and rearing of their back legs. Their barking towards each other changed from aggression to play, occasionally sniffing each other. One dog seemed to be apologizing to the other in one instance during play after scratching the other with the paw. The larger dog of the two appeared to play a dominant and leading role than the smaller one. The smaller dog would play when the bigger dog initiated play and rest when the bigger dog sat to rest.
Interaction between dogs and other animals
Dogs view other animals as competitors and threats. Dogs react differently to other animals depending on the animal. They react to smaller animals like cats and hens with aggression and hostility. The smaller animals fear dogs. They react to larger animals, especially predators, with fear and submission. Being domesticated reduces the chance of dogs encountering with predators, making them the superior animals in a domesticated setting.
Interaction between dogs and human beings
According to basic knowledge, domestication of dogs makes them have a special relationship with human beings especially those who domesticate them. The desire to acquire knowledge led me to getting a dog of my own to investigate how true the statement is. The dog appeared excited on the first encounter while getting it from the animal shelter but became timid at home. There was very little aggression and it kept its distance for a few hours. I realized that initially, the more I engaged the dog the more the dog stayed away. I was advised to treat the dog as I would a strangers baby by being gentle, using a soft voice and tone, positively reinforcement and avoiding too much eye contact, or attention from too many people which was considered a sign of intimidation. I gave the dog its space and played with it when it came to me. Over time, the frequency of interaction increased and the dog was more excited to play with me. It showed excitement by wagging its tail, barking and brightening of the eyes. While I was the dominant person in this interaction, the dog would attempt to communicate with me by suggesting play and expressing emotion like joy, sadness, hunger and irritation. This transition can be compared to that f interaction between two human beings.
Interaction between human beings and other human beings
Just as dogs, human beings react differently when they meet for the first time. Some of the factors that contribute to the difference in reaction include the setting of the meeting and perceived status of each individual. People can either be intimidated or act confidently around others for the first time. The dog was excited at the animal shelter because of the familiarity of the surrounding. Human beings are also comfortable meeting strangers in a familiar environment. Once the environment changes, the reaction changes. For example, a person undergoing a phone interview at home is more comfortable than the person people in a boardroom for the interview. The status of a person is determined by their role, occupation, affiliation and appearance. When two strangers meet, the person of lower status assumes the submission role while the other one assumes the dominant role. Strangers keep a distance towards each other physically and emotionally until they become comfortable around each other, just as dogs do towards each other and towards humans. Although status is intimidating, over time and ample interaction, people are more willing to express their views to others regardless of the status, just as seen in animals.
Through this research I came across an unexpected phenomenon. It is expected that dogs responses are innate, hardwired and automatic. For example they bark when hungry, growl when angry and rest when tired. Close observation indicates that they also respond as a deliberate sign of trying to communicate. For example making low whining noises when the owner refuses to play, indicating hurt. This realization means that dogs are as sensitive as human beings and this is attributed to the relationship they nurture with human beings. The human existence aspect of the relationship between man and animal is what separates a wild animal from a domesticated animal. It can be hypothetically stated that the dog adapts human nature, making it easily trained as man is trained to fit certain expectations and behave in a certain manner. Thus leading to asking the question: using the notes made from this observation, what is the difference between man and dog?
Man is defined as an individual or human being that stands out from the animal species due to his superior mental capacity, eloquent speech and upright position (Heritage). Suing this definition, the only thing that discredits a dog from being classified as a human being is its lack of an upright stance, although it is upright in its own sense. Their mental capacity may not be superior but dogs also display high level of intelligence, hence their ability to be trained as assistants for handicapped and use by police and military. They may not portray eloquent speech but they express themselves clearly via body language and sound.
In conclusion, dogs can therefore be defined as less superior versions of man with the ability to adapt to human traits over prolonged exposure to humans. The conclusion is drawn from the observations made in the nature of dogs in their primal state to their nature after being trained by human beings to behave in a certain way.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Heritage, American. Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015. Book. 2015.
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