Saturday, November 9, 2013

Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART EIGHTEEN

 by Dino Dogan


Much of our troubles with canines are caused by human lack of understanding of what drives a dog into a certain type of behavior.
But how are we suppose to know why another species, which can’t “talk” (at least not in a conventional sense which can be understood by most humans), is driven to act in ways which are not appreciated?

OK, that’s a fair point. But that point implies that humans understand what drives other humans; for that matter, that point certainly implies that an individual knows what drives and motivates our own selves. But do we?

Do we know what drives and motivates others and what drives and motivates our own selves?

Furthermore, if we don’t understand what drives humans are we to be trusted to figure out what motivates dogs?

For an in-depth analysis of this issue I feel I have to dip into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs once again, but I will spare you. If you would like to learn more about it, it’s here.

To somewhat simplify the point I will focus on two things.
  • Core mammalian drives and
  • Scientific research done in the last few decades.

Let’s start with core drives.

Humans, and by extension I argue, all mammals, are driven by two things. Fear and passion.

Every bad emotion you ever experienced had fear at its core.
  • When your parents disciplined you by saying to go to sleep because there is a monster under your bed and if you don’t go to sleep he will come out, they were employing a fear based strategy for compliance.
  • When your teacher threatened to fail you or give you an F for a paper that was eaten by your dog, he was using fear based approach to motivation.
  • When your boss tells you he will fire you unless…he is using fear to exert compliance.
  • When your pastor tells you to give 10% of your earnings or you will burn in hell, he is using fear to motivate you.
  • When you are quick to reject new ideas, peoples, trends, opinions, etc. You are rejecting these things for the fear of the unknown.  Fear of the unknown is why most of us fear dark.
  • When you are jealous that your loved one may be seeing somebody else, your jealousy is present because you fear being alone and/or rejected. Or you fear losing that person.

I can go on and on…but would prefer you ponder additional examples on your own.

  • On the other hand, whenever there was a Romeo and Juliet to ignore obstacles in favor of love, they did it in the name of passion.
  • Whenever there was a William Wallace, there was passion.
  • Whenever there was a person doing great things despite popular opinion or overwhelming and unfavorable circumstances, there was passion.

Notice my fear based examples where more numerous and concrete? That’s because fear is not only a strong motivator but it’s also a pervasive motivator in human psyche.

So ask yourself. Whenever I do xyz, what is the core motivation behind it? Is it fear or passion?

Whenever I’m working with my dog, how am I motivating him? Is it through fear (fear of leash correction or similar physical manipulation) or am I engaging the dog’s passion? (Passion for sniffing, chasing, pulling, biting, etc.)

Why not extend that question to your kids, coworkers, spouse, even yourself?


Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, biker, dog trainer, singer/songwriter, Martial Artist. Dino is now busy with his DIY Blogger Net blog. He is also behind the great social media tool, Triberr. Hopefully one day he'll return to dog blogging. Meanwhile, you can connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.

Related articles:
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART ONE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWO
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART THREE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FOUR 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIVE 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SIX 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SEVEN
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART EIGHT
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART NINE
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART TEN 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART ELEVEN
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART TWELVE 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART THIRTEEN 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART FOURTEEN  
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART FIFTEEN 

Human Dog Problem Tree - PART SIXTEEN 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SEVENTEEN 


  1. Great post; one thing that I never want is for our dogs to fear me so I'm very careful about correction. I've been working hard to learn how to communicate with our dogs instead of expecting to act like furry humans.

    1. Yes, control by fear is only asking for a "revolution."

      Interestingly, Jasmine was never the least afraid of me, even at the beginning when I didn't know better and used corrections a lot, because that's what I was told I needed to do. I was trying to intimidate her and she just looked at me, "aha, you're very scary, mom, but I know you don't mean it, so why don't you just cut it out."