While reading a training website, k9copsonly.com, under the category of laws of dog training, I came upon this quote:
"Your dog doesn’t love you, he can’t read your mind, and he doesn’t understand everything you say."
This obviously gave me pause, so I did a little research, and found this:
Jon Katz, who has written extensively on the bond between humans and dogs, says that what pets offer is neither unconditional, nor love.
"Dogs develop very strong, instinctive attachments to the people who feed and care for them," said Katz. "Over 15,000 years of domestication, they've learned to trick us into thinking that they love us. "
What about the nuzzling? The big, adoring eyes? The wagging glee with which they greet us?
They're all part of what Katz refers to as the "opportunistic, manipulative behavior" that's second nature to dogs.
Not to say that they're canine con artists.
"It's just how their instincts have evolved," Katz said. "Dogs aren't deceptive any more than they're sentimental, loyal, nostalgic, witty or bitter.They don't have a narrative mind or the language to have those sorts of human qualities," said Katz.
Imagining otherwise is part of what he calls the "Disney Dog" idea so many of us buy into.
Their attachment is, in fact, "extremely conditional," Katz said. "They'll respond to anyone who gives them food and attention. I have a wonderful Labrador retriever who's very happy here. But if you had hamburger meat on you, she'd gladly go to Chicago with you and never look back."
I can't decide what to think about this.
I thought about those times when our dogs stand guard over us when we are sick, or how they seem to give us comfort when we are crying.
I do remember Cesar Millan saying this isn't love, but the dog sensing weakness in the owners, something that alarms dogs.
It's not the animal trying to comfort us, he says. It is their being uncomfortable with owners sending out weak vibes.
I have also read accounts of dog trainers laughing behind owners' backs when the owners say they think the dog offers unconditional love.
what do you think?