El último paseo

Traducido por Lua Gatchan (from the original in English The Final Walk).

 

El camino a casa desde el muelle es uno de los pequeños placeres de la vida. Normalmente es un paseo de 20 minutos, pero a menudo puedo tardar hasta una hora o incluso dos, ya que me paro a charlar con todo el mundo en el camino, con los comerciantes, con las personas que conozco de vista o incluso con desconocidos. Esta es la costumbre en mi pueblo en el sur de Tailandia, donde encuentras sonrisas y todo el mundo te habla.

Old dog

Bombom was old and tired, ready for his final walk to the temple.

El clima es casi siempre caluroso y soleado, entre 29° y 38°, hoy hace exactamente 32° según mi equipo de buceo. Por supuesto hay lluvias durante la temporada de lluvias, pero sólo duran una hora o dos y todo se seca pronto, dejando una sensación de frescura y olor a tierra mojada en el aire. A veces llueve tanto que las calles se convierten en ríos pequeños, pero todo el mundo se lo toma con calma, con los pantalones arremangados; la vida continúa (literalmente) con una sonrisa.

Después de haber completado tres inmersiones, una de ellas con fuerte oleaje, como de costumbre me muero de hambre. En estos días, mi trabajo en Tailandia consiste en la gestión biológica del medio marino que, básicamente significa bucear, a veces con estudiantes, otras sin, hago fotos a los peces y a los corales que veo, y luego escribo un informe. Sí, ¡esto es lo que yo llamo un trabajo! Me paro en uno de esos extraordinarios vendedores ambulantes en la calle principal para comer algo. La comida en la calle es tan barata y tan buena que no vale la pena ir a casa y cocinar.

Buddhist Monk and Dog.

Buddhist Monk and Dog (image by John Lander).

Mi restaurante favorito (que se parece más a un garaje abierto) es una empresa familiar, al igual que la mayoría de los negocios en Tailandia. Los dueños viven allí. Tienen un televisor y una cama para los niños en la parte trasera, es decir, detrás de las cuatro mesas para los clientes. Todo está a la vista de todos. Claro, no quieren dejar a los niños solos en una habitación. Los niños (y los perros) son una parte inherente en la vida Tailandesa, los ves en todas partes. Se les permite hacer lo que quieran, pocas veces se les regaña o se les grita, y sorprendentemente son muy educados. Me desconcierta cómo manejan esto, sobre todo cuando pienso en algunos de nuestros mocosos en Occidente, tanto humanos como caninos. Todavía tengo que descubrir su secreto, pero supongo que tiene algo que ver con el hecho de que son parte de la vida cotidiana desde el día en que nacen; están perfectamente integrados sin ningunas construcciones ni zonas artificiales “para niños”. Lo mismo ocurre con los perros; son miembros como todos los demás, sin preocupaciones y sin ninguna atención especial, sin tratar a unos o a otros de una forma especial.

Sawasdee kha khoon, Logel”, Phee Malí me saluda con una gran sonrisa cuando me ve.

Phee significa hermana mayor y Malí significa Jasmine, que es su nombre. Soy Logel porque los tailandeses siempre te llaman por tu nombre de pila. Los apellidos son un invento relativamente nuevo que se les impone por el Gobierno en respuesta al crecimiento de la población y una sociedad más moderna. La guía telefónica está ordenada por el nombre de pila. El Rey Rama VI introdujo los apellidos en 1920 y él, personalmente, inventó apellidos para unas 500 familias. Todos los tailandeses tienen apodos. ¡Te diriges a tus amigos por sus apodos y ni siquiera conoces su nombre real! Soy Logel porque la mayoría de los tailandeses no pueden pronunciar el sonido de la letra “r”, ni siquiera en su propio idioma y sorprendentemente tienen la “r” en el idioma Tailandés.

Dog in Temple

Thais often take the dogs to the local temple so they can die in peace, in the company of the monks, near Buddha.

“¿Estás bien? ¿Has visto algún pez hermoso hoy?” me pregunta Phee Malí en ‘Tenglish’ (inglés-tailandés, que es un lenguaje en sí mismo, encantador y adictivo). En poco tiempo y sin ni siquiera darte cuenta, empiezas a hablar Tenglish. Yo hablo una mezcla de Tailandés y Tenglish con los lugareños. A medida que mejora mi tailandés hablo menos Tenglish, pero el tailandés es difícil porque es una lengua tonal. El tono con el que se pronuncia una palabra cambia su significado, y a veces de una forma dramática. Hay palabras que siempre pronuncio mal y a los tailandeses les da un ataque de risa, ya sea porque estoy diciendo un disparate o digo algo mal. Les encanta cuando se trata de la segunda opción. Incluso me animan a decir una palabra que sé y que ellos saben que no puedo pronunciar bien sólo para divertirse. Pero esa diversión es sana y sin ningún ánimo de faltar el respeto. Por el contrario, me dan un trato preferencial porque hablo tailandés.

Transcribiré a continuación algunas de nuestras conversaciones en inglés, traducido directamente de palabras tailandesas, con el fin de dar a mis lectores una idea.

Sí”, contesto. He visto peces hermosos y corales. El Thale (mar) Andamar estaba muy bien.

“Oh!, estás tan negro!” Exclama con el ceño fruncido y una sonrisa. “Negro” en realidad significa bronceado o quemado por el sol. A las mujeres tailandesas no les gusta estar morenas. A ellos les gusta el blanco, como suelen decir, y se preocupan cuando ven a alguien con lo que en Occidente llamamos un bronceado saludable y atractivo.

“You hung’y ‘ight, gwai teeaw moo pet mak ‘ight? Phee Malí me pregunta riendo. Ella sabe exactamente lo que tengo en mente; me encanta un plato de Gwai teeaw moo, caliente y picante, especialmente después de un día duro de trabajo. Es una sopa de fideos y carne de cerdo o pollo o camarones,  con todo lo que puedas imaginar. Incluso lo sirven con un plato de vegetales frescos que cortas con los dedos y los metes en la sopa como prefieras. Lo mezclas todo tú mismo con chili seco, chili fresco, salsa de chili, salsa de pescado, soja, pimienta, sal y un poco de azúcar (sí, azúcar, pruébalo y verás por qué me encanta). Es delicioso y puedo asegurar que también es muy saludable.

Me como mi Gwai teeaw moo y disfruto de un té verde helado sin azúcar. El sol se pondrá dentro de una media hora; aquí siempre se pone a la misma hora, siete grados al norte del ecuador. No hay lluvia hoy. ¡Disfruto de la vida en el Paraíso!

“Thao THALE SA Baay dee Mai”. Los niños van corriendo a preguntarme sobre los peces y en especial sobre la tortuga marina, su favorita, y es una buena oportunidad para practicar mi tailandés. Me llaman Lung Logel (tío Roger), en deferencia por mi edad. Entonces llega el turno de decir hola a los perros, un idioma que sé, que no tiene ningún acento y se habla igual en todos los continentes.

Thai Child wai.

The wai is the Thai greeting when you raise both hands together to your chin. It still strikes me as the most beautiful greeting I’ve ever seen.

Veo a Ae al otro lado de la calle (AE es un nombre divertido de un juego del escondite de Tailandia). La conozco a ella y a sus padres. Su padre trabaja en uno de los barcos que utilizo con regularidad en mis excursiones de buceo. A menudo le ayudo a atracar el barco cuando llegamos al muelle cuando no hace un clima perfecto y a veces tomamos una cerveza juntos después de haber asegurado el barco, descargarlo, etc. Ae está en cuclillas al lado de su perro, uno de esos perros de Tailandia que se parecen a todos los demás. Los perros de aldea en Tailandia son todos iguales, como si fueran de una raza particular, producto de una reproducción aleatoria a lo largo de los años. Yo los llamo “el perro por defecto”.

“¿Ae está triste, verdad?” Le pregunto a los niños.

“Oh, el perro de Ae está muy viejo. Mañana el padre de Ae llevará al perro al templo”, responde Chang Lek (su nombre es Pequeño Elefante).

Termino mi comida y voy a hablar con Ae, que todavía está en cuclillas junto a su perro, acariciándolo. Puedo ver que Bombom está viejo y cansado. Es un perro bueno y agradable. A menudo se le puede ver paseando por el pueblo tranquilamente por el vecindario. Él increíblemente siempre está muy polvoriento a pesar de que Ae y su madre lo bañan cuidadosamente y con frecuencia. Cuando me acerco a ellos, él a penas levanta la cabeza. Se muestra afable y resignado de sí mismo.

“Sawasdee khrap, Ae”.

“Sawasdee kha,” me responde la niña, y se apresura a mostrarme un wai para mi. El wai es el saludo tailandés, levantando ambas manos a la barbilla. Todavía me parece el saludo más hermoso que he visto nunca.

“Bombom es viejo, verdad?” le pregunto.

“Sí señor”.

“Bombom ha tenido una vida feliz. Tú eres una buena amiga de Bombom”.

“Sí señor”, dice suavemente.

“A Bombom le gustas mucho”, le digo quedándome sin palabras.

“Mamá y papá mañana llevarán a Bombom al templo”, responde ella, y veo que le cae una gran lágrima por su mejilla izquierda.

“Sí, lo sé”, le digo. Otra vez sin palabras, añado “Ae, voy a comprar un helado para que nos sentemos aquí comiendo helado y hablando con Bombom, ¿te gusta la idea?”

“Sí señor, muchísimas gracias señor”, dice ella, y se las arregla para regalarme una sonrisa encantadora.  “A Bombom le gustan mucho los helados”, me dice la niña, y ahora sus ojos están llenos de lágrimas jóvenes, tristes.

En la cultura y creencia tailandesa, todos los seres que viven bajo el mismo sol merecen el mismo respeto. Las especies no importan. Ellos aman a sus mascotas y cuando llegan a la edad de morir, algunos tailandeses los llevan al templo local para que puedan morir en paz, en compañía de los monjes y cerca de Buda. Por eso siempre hay muchos perros alrededor de los templos, y a veces es un problema real. Los templos son pobres. Un monje posee sólo siete artículos. Los vecinos cocinan para ellos y para los perros por la mañana antes de ir a trabajar.

Sawasdee khrap,

ชีวิต ที่ด

La vida es maravillosa.

R—

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為了讓你跟狗狗可以快樂地在一起 “16件別再這麼做的事情”

譯者 translator: 林明勤 ( Ming Chin Lin) — from the original in English “16 Things You Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Happy With Your Dog

Roger Abrantes in 1986 howling with husky.

Cover photo from the author’s book from 1986 “Hunden, vor ven” (The Dog, Our Friend) (photo by Ole Suszkievicz).


如果您希望與狗兒生活地更開心並且擁有穩固的關係,以下有16件您必須停止再這麼做的事情。會很困難嗎?一點也不。你只需要產生想做的念頭,然後很單純地就去行動。也就是說,閱讀完這篇文章後,您就開始著手進行了!

1.  別再過度挑剔—別擔心,享受過程吧。 Stop being fussy—don’t worry, be happy

如同對於我們生命中的大部分事物來說, 當一個完美主意者是有其優點及其缺點的。當你養了一隻狗,你的生活會傾向莫非定律的模式 。任何會出差錯的事情將會出差錯。因為事情總有變數,也因此事情的發展很少百分之百如你期望的方式進行。您能夠做的也應該做的則是計畫並訓練,但需要做好準備的是,在沒有任何人(狗)會受傷的情況下,接受所有各種變動性、臨時性以及微小的事故。畢竟,在大部分的情況來說,比”完美”差一點點的往往都比”做的好”來的更好,所以為何要擔心做到完美呢?”完美”,這個僅存在於您腦袋裡的概念並不會讓任何人都開心,不論是對您或者您的狗兒來說都是。

2. 別老是太嚴肅—笑一下吧!Stop being too serious—have a laugh

如果你沒有很好的幽默感,那麼就別和狗兒生活在一起。哈哈大笑在很多事故發生時,通常是最好的解決方式,也同時可以讓狗狗與主人的關係升溫。會因事故而感到難堪、尷尬的只有我們的心裡。您的狗甚至不懂尷尬是什麼,而您應該跟隨狗狗這樣的方式。只要沒有任何人、狗受傷,那麼對於您或者您的狗狗犯下的過錯,就一笑置之吧!

3. 停止你想要控制任何事情的慾望—當狀況發生時,接受它。Stop your desire to control everything—take it as it comes

當您用莫非定律來決定您與狗兒的生活方式時,如果您企圖控制您的狗兒的每一個行動, 您最後得到的會是潰瘍或者陷入失望、沮喪之中。放棄您需要控制一切的想法。當然地,您應該要在安全的考量下,有理智地控制管理好狗狗,不過您應該將一些對生活或者死亡無關緊要的事物給拋在腦後。

4. 別再”散撥”你的責罵—繼續前進。 Stop apportioning blame—move on

當事情出了差錯(我可以跟您保證,事情就是會出錯)別浪費你的時間在分送你的責罵。是否是您造成的錯、狗兒造成的錯、還是鄰居的貓害的?誰在乎呀?

向前看,並且如果你發現當下的情況全都令人失望,那麼就試著預先想好未來可能會發生與這次類似的情節,並且避免它的發生。假如不是件很大的事情,那就忘了它吧。

5. 別再去相信關於狗狗的祖先是狼的傳言。 Stop believing in old wives’ tales—be critical

這世界上充滿的許多不合理的、毫無根據的狗狗的狼祖先傳言。這些日子來,網路提供了一個快速及簡易的管道讓我們可以獲得許多珍貴的資訊,同時也有很多是垃圾: 不好的觀點、不好的定義、未經證實的申明、謬論、情緒化的呈述、偽科學、促銷活動、被隱藏的政治議程、宗教道義等。當然,以表達個人言論的自由來說,我相信任何人都可發佈任何自己想要表達的看法,甚至單純地就一派胡言。但您和我都有權不去相信它、有權去漠視它。運用您的批判性思考。不要停止問自己“這怎麼有辦法發生“及“他/她是怎麼得到結論的?“ 直到您有時間好好深深地思考之後,才停止你的批判及行動。如果有必要,則尋求第二或者第三者的看法。如果這個論點非常可靠並且你喜歡,那麼就可以這麼做;如果這個論點很可愛但你不喜歡它,那麼就不要做,並且想的仔細一點;假如那個觀點不可靠,那就拒絕它並且不要再想了;為你自己做下決定並做你認為對的事情。

6. 別在意標籤—別憂慮!Stop caring about labels—be free

因為標籤的販售,我們因而被過度地淹沒在標籤之中,但它們之所以存在而被販賣,只因為你買單。你是否應該是個正向、極度正向、正增強、正正增強、正增強負處罰、達到兩者平衡、自然派、道德派、保守派、實際派、激進派、響片訓練者或者獨裁主意者的飼主呢?停止在意您該被貼上什麼標籤。當您與您的狗狗享受一個完美的時刻,您所被貼的標籤是不相干的。標籤是一個負擔;它會限制您並讓您奪走自由。標籤是給那些需要躲在圖片後並毫無安全感的人用的。請相信你自己,成為你想要成為的飼主,而且你並不需要標籤。

7. 別再去管別人怎麼想—過你自己的!Stop caring about what others think—live your life

在與您碰面的大多數人中,您在這些人身上只會花了非常少的時間;大多數的時間您則是花在家人及親近的朋友身上。所以,當您可能甚至不會再次見到這些人或者只會偶爾見到的人人,為何要在意其他們對您身為一個飼主或者您的狗狗的行為的看法呢?

8. 停止抱怨—不要浪費你的時間。 Stop complaining—don’t waste your time

您只有在一種情況下會有問題,也就是當您期望的事情與事情原貌之間有差異的時候。如果您的期望是很切實的,那就嘗試看看並且做些可以達成期望的事情。如果不是,那就停止抱怨,這浪費的是時間及精力。假如您可以為那件事情做些事,那就做吧!如果不行,那為當下畫個句點後,就向前邁進。

9.  別再為自己找藉口。 Stop excusing yourself—be yourself

您不需要為您的作風或者您的狗兒找合理化的藉口。只要在您不打擾任何人(狗)的狀況下,您有權做您喜歡的方式並且作你自己。您不需要對任何事都非常擅長,不論是服從訓練、敏捷犬、與狗共舞、在音樂中讓狗狗腳側行進、飛球活動、護衛犬、牧羊犬、嗅覺活動、動物輔助治療、雪橇犬比賽、跳水狗活動、Field、Earthdog、Rally-O、Weight Pulling、Carting、Trials、 Dock Dogs、Dog Diving、Disc Dogs、Ultimate Air Dogs、Super Retriever、Hang Time、Lure Course Racing or Treibball; 關於您做不到的事情,您不需為自己解釋不擅長的原因。當然,您也無需說明您的狗沒有標準坐姿的原因。另一方面,針對您想要改變並且能被改變的事物來努力;別把時間跟精力花在去想您不想要的、不需要的或無法改變的事物。無論您與您的狗享受的是什麼,就去做吧!只要您們喜歡,您跟狗狗才可以同時是快樂的。就是這麼簡單!

10. 別再為某些事難受立刻行動。 Stop feeling bad—act now

如果您對於在您與狗狗的生活中的某一項特定的層面而感到不開心,那麼就做一些事情來改變它。辨別問題且立下目標、擬定一個規劃進而實踐它。僅專注於難受的感覺或愧疚對於事情本身、對任何人、您的狗或者那個與您分享生活的可貴的人來說,都無濟於事。

11. 停止您對於擁有的慾望───作伴!Stop your urge to own—be a mate

對於一個生命具備享有權的奴隸制度,很慶幸地早已經被廢除了,因此,別過時地把自己看成是您的狗的所有者。要把您的狗狗當作一個您需要為之負責的伴侶。如同您並不擁有您的孩子、您的父母親或者您的朋友。

12. 停止依賴— 釋放自己。 Stop dependency—untie your self

愛基本上與依賴、著迷或渴望無關,甚至與這三者的必要性關聯是恰恰相反的。您可以愛您的狗但不要建立對彼此的依賴。您要有一個自己的生活並且給您的狗一些空間。您跟您的狗兒是兩個獨立的個體。就像是自由球員一樣,您們享受與彼此一起生活,但不是對彼此著了迷。停止把自己的影子投射在狗狗身上。

13. 別把狗狗當作一個替代品—展現尊重。 Stop turning your dog into a substitute—show respect

每一隻狗都是一隻狗,而他都是一個獨一無二的生命。你要愛他、享受有他的陪伴但不要把他當作任何一個人、朋友、小孩或者另一個配偶的替代品。

期待任何人/狗成為一個替代品對一個人、一個非人類的動物或者對您自己來說都是非常不敬的。別再讓您的狗狗為您扮演一個某一個角色,您必須開始用愛一隻狗的方式來愛你的狗。

14. 別試著合理化—請保持真實。 Stop rationalizing—be truthful

所有的關係如同經貿交易般是有付出與獲得的往來。

只要兩者能取得平衡,那麼就沒有任何問題。要對自己誠實 :

您的狗給了你什麼,而你又為你的狗做了什麼?如果你發現你們其中一個幾乎都是供給者或是接受者,思考這個問題並且調整這個平衡。你的狗需要你,就像你需要你的狗一樣,而且只要你跟狗狗都是有付出及獲得,那麼這之間並沒有任何問題。你不是因為為了拯救這個可憐的小動物而養牠。您養你的狗是因為你們兩個可以一起享受一個美好的豐富的夥伴關係。

15. 別再去奢望那些你不能擁有的事物—對於當下所擁有的要感到開心。 Stop wanting what you can’t have—be happy with what you’ve got

這是十分常見的人類特性。你總是奢望那些你無法得到的;對於您已經擁有的那些美好視而不見。

你的狗已經提供了你一個非常好的交易呢!儘管你的狗狗無法對於每件事情都很擅長,但你們兩個是可以非常完美地開心在一起!當狗主人說著他們多愛自己的狗但卻花著大部分的時間試圖去改變狗兒的行為,這是多令人吃驚的呀!把焦點放在你擁有的事物上,而不是你沒擁有的事物,感受並感恩你所擁有的。

16. 別再打擊你自己—跟著心意走。 Stop fighting yourself—follow your heart

有非常多種不同的方式可以成為一個好的狗主人。你有你自己的方式、別於他人的方式。這是你的人生。只要你不傷害任何人(狗),那就用你覺得自在的方式活著吧!仔細去聆聽專家的建議,好好地思考他們的建議,但最後,做你感覺是對的事情,跟隨你的心。做你自己。

生命是美好的!Life is great!

R—

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I’m a citizen of the World

I’m a citizen of the World,” I say, when asked where I come from—and I am, in mind and heart.

Woman saving dog from the flood

Woman saving dog from the flood (photo by Dave).

 

Diogenes, in about 412 BC, was probably the first to use the expression and express the very same sentiment. When asked where he came from, he replied: “I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)”. Socrates (469-399 BC) concurred: “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” This was indeed a revolutionary thought, because at that time, social identity in Greece was either bound to the city-states, Athens and Sparta, or to the Greeks (the Hellenes). Perhaps it is just as revolutionary today.

Kaniyan Poongundran, the Tamil poet, wrote (at least 2000 years ago), “To us all towns are one, all men our kin.” Thomas Paine (English-American philosopher, 1737 – 1809), said, “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955) thought of himself as a world citizen, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

I’ve travelled over most of our beautiful planet, seen mountains above the clouds with perennial snow tops, and oceans reaching far beyond the eye can see. I’ve lived in temperatures from 40º C below zero to 40º C above. I’ve eaten all kinds of weird and wonderful dishes prepared by humans and spent many a day and night enjoying the company of people with the most peculiar cultures and habits.

Asian child with cat and dog.

Child with cat and dog.

 

What’s my favorite place? I don’t have one. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve discovered new pieces in the amazing puzzle of life. Everywhere I’ve been, from the most glamorous cities to the poorest, war-torn areas, I’ve met kind and gentle people. I’ve shared water with the Masai in the African desert and rice with the Chhetris in the Nepalese mountains. I felt a strong kinship with all of them: no country, no culture, no language, no divide—we were family, we were humans, we were sentient living beings.

My blogs are read all over the World. I have readers in places that you may never have heard of: Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Kyrgyzstan, Brunei, Réunion, Oman, to name just a few. I speak nine languages and understand at least sixteen, but write in English, as it’s the language I feel most comfortable with. I write about matters concerning my profession (biology and ethology) and also about life. My goal is to share the knowledge and experience I’ve been so fortunate to acquire during my life with all those who wish to receive it. My blog site, on which I share blogs, articles and books, is free to everyone.

I write in English, which is fast becoming a lingua franca, understood and spoken by most, allowing my blogs to reach far and wide. However, there are many people who do not speak or understand English and, therefore, from time to time, I publish a translation of one of my blogs in a language other than English. This is the least I can do for my loyal, non-native, English speaking readers from around the world.

Boy and dog sleeping on the street.

Boy and dog sleeping on the street (photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

 

As my blog site is free of charge, I have to keep costs as low as possible. I therefore use the WordPress platform, which is efficient, but has its limitations, one of which is that subscribers cannot be categorized by their native language; which means that all subscribers receive notifications of all my blogs whatever the language. This shouldn’t really be a problem, as, if you receive a blog in a language you don’t understand, you can either click the blue link that takes you directly to the English original, or you can simply discard the notification email. However, this seems to upset some native English speakers to the point where they send me messages asking me to remove them from the subscribers list unless they only receive blogs in English.

Unfortunately, that’s impossible if my blog is to remain free of charge because WordPress doesn’t provide that option. Such readers need to decide whether the inconvenience of receiving a message about a blog entry in a language you can’t read outweighs the benefits of having free access to all the other stuff you can. As of today, I’ve published 49 blogs (including several articles and six small books) of which only eight are in languages other than English. You can do your calculations and decide whether you get enough for your money (the money you don’t pay, that is).

As long as I receive messages like the one below, which overwhelms me, makes my heart beat a little faster and my eyes well up, I’ll continue to offer the sporadic translation.

“Teacher sir Roger I’m not good English I no computer Read from computer shop read your article from dictionary info I like so much I have many dog other animal too I very much appreciate your help very much You long life healthy”

The only regret I have is not being able to write in more languages than I do. Until then, I’ll continue writing in as many languages as I can—and yes, I’m a citizen of the World!

Life is great!

R—

Note: According to the CIA World Fact Book, only 5.6 % of the world’s total population speaks English as a primary language. That number doubles when people who speak English as a second or third language are counted. By conservative estimates, that means that well over four-fifths of the world’s population does not speak English.

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16 cosas que debería dejar de hacer para tener una vida más feliz con tu perro

Roger Abrantes in 1986 howling with husky.

Foto de la portada del libro del autor de 1986 “Hunden, vor ven” (“El Perro, Nuestro Amigo”) (foto de Ole Suszkievicz). 

16 Things You Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Happy With Your Dog” traducido del Inglés por Victor Ros.

Aquí tienes una lista de 16 cosas que debería dejar de hacer para tener una vida con tu perro más feliz y una relación más fuerte. ¿Difícil? Para nada. Sólo necesitas querer hacerlo y, a continuación, simplemente hacerlo. Puede comenzar tan pronto como termines de leer esto.

1. Deja de ser quisquilloso—No te preocupes y sé feliz (don’t worry, be happy)

Como la mayor parte de cosas en la vida, ser un perfeccionista tiene sus ventajas y desventajas. Cuando posees un perro, tiendes a vivir según la Ley de Murphy. Cualquier cosa que puede ir mal irá mal. Hay tantos variables que las cosas rara vez van 100% la manera esperada. Puedes y debes planear y entrenar, pero tienes que estar preparado para aceptar todo tipo de variaciónes, improvisaciones y pequeños percances a lo largo del camino, siempre que nadie se haga daño, por supuesto. ¿Después de todo, en la mayor parte de situaciones, menos que perfecto es mejor que bueno, entonces, por qué la preocupación sobre la perfección, un concepto que sólo existe en tu cabeza y no hace a nadie feliz, ni a ti, ni a tu perro?

2. Deja de ser demasiado serioRíete (have a laugh)

Si no tienes buen sentido del humor, no vivas con un perro. Ser propietario de perro da ocasión a contratiempos donde la risa es la mejor salida. Los contratiempos sólo son embarazosas en nuestras mentes. Tu perro no sabe siquiera lo que quiere decir verguenza, deberias seguir su ejemplo. Mientras nadie se haga daño, riete de los errores que cometeis tu y tu perro.

3. Deten tu deseo de controlarlo todo—Tomarlo como viene (take it as it comes)

Cuando la vida con un perro es a menudo dictada por la ley de Murphy, si intenta controlar cada movimiento de tu perro, acabara con una úlcera o caeras en una depresión. Renuncie tu necesidad de control. Por supuesto, debe tener un control razonable sobre tu perro por razones de seguridad, pero debe dejar ir todo aquello que no es una cuestión de vida o muerte. Reglas razonables sirven un propósito, pero el control total es innecesaria y contraproducente. Tomarlo como viene y seguir sonriendo!

4. Deja de imputar la culpa—Avanzar (move on)

Cuando las cosas van mal, y lo harán, les aseguro, no pierda el tiempo repartiendo culpas. ¿Fue tu culpa, culpa del perro, o culpa del gato del vecino? ¿A quién le importa? Sigue adelante aunque toda la escena te produjo tristeza, intenta prever una situación similar en el futuro y como evitarlo. Si no ha sido gran cosa, olvidate del asunto.

5. Deja de creer en los cuentos de vieja crítico (be critical)

El mundo está lleno de cuentos de viejas, irracionales y sin fundamento. Hoy día, el Internet nos proporciona rápido y fácil acceso a mucha información valiosay tambien un montón de basura: malos argumentos, malas definiciones, reclamaciones infundadas, falacias, estados emocionales, pseudociencia, promociones de ventas, agendas políticas ocultas, predicaciónes religiosos, etc… Por supuesto, en nombre de la libertad de expresión, creo todos deberían poder publicar cualquierles gusta, incluso la bazofia más pura y más refinada, pero tanto yo como tu también tenemos el derecho a no creernoslo, haciendo caso omiso de ello. Utilice tu pensamiento crítico. No deje de preguntar “¿Cómo puede ser?” y “¿Cómo llegó a esa conclusión?” Suspende el juicio y la acción hasta que hayas tenido tiempo para reflexionar, si es necesario, busca una segunda o tercera opinión. Si el argumento es sólido y le gusta, entonces hágalo. Si el argumento es sólido pero no te gusta, no hacerlo y pensar más sobre ello. Si el argumento es poco sólido, rechazalo y no pienses más sobre ello. Convencete a ti mismo y haz lo que piensas es correcto.

6. Deja de preocuparte por etiquetas—Sé libre (be free)

Estamos sobre-inundados por las etiquetas porque las etiquetas venden, pero sólo venden si los compramos. ¿Deberias ser positivo, ultra-positivo, R+, R++, R+ P-, equilibrado, naturalista, moralista, conservador, realista, progresivo, o dueño clickeriano o autoritario del perro? Deje de preocuparte sobre qué etiqueta debe portar. Cuando disfrutas de un gran momento con tu perro, la etiqueta que llevas es irrelevante. Una etiqueta es una carga; te restringe y te quita tu libertad. Las etiquetas son para personas inseguras que necesitan esconderse detrás de una imagen. Cree en ti mismo, sea el tipo de propietario de perro que quieres ser y no necesitará etiquetas.

7. Deja de preocuparte sobre lo que piensan los demás—Vive tu vida (live your life)

Pasas muy poco tiempo con la mayoría de la gente que conoces, significativamente más con la familia y amigos cercanos, pero vives toda la vida contigo mismo. Así que, ¿qué importa lo que otras personas piensan acerca de su habilidad como propietario de perro, o del comportamiento de tu perro, cuando es probable que no les veas de nuevo o sólo les veremos esporádicamente? Si les gusta tu y tu perro, bien. Si no, realmente no es tu problema.

8. Deja de quejarte—No pierdas tu tiempo (don’t waste your time)

Sólo tienes un problema cuando hay una discrepancia entre la forma en que las cosas son y lo que esperas que sean. Si tus expectativas son realistas, probar de hacer algo para alcanzarlas. Si no lo son, deja de quejarte, es un desperdicio de tiempo y energía. Si puede hacer algo al respecto, hazlo. Si no puedes, sigue adelante. Punto.

9. Deja de pedir disculpas—Sé tu mismo (be yourself)

No tienes que pedir disculpas ni por ti ni por tu perro por la forma en que sois. Mientras no molesteis a nadie, podeis hacer lo que querais y ser quien quereis ser. No tienes que ser bueno en nada, como Obedience, Agility, Musical Free Style, Heel Work to Music, Flyball, Frisbee Dog, Earth Dog, Ski-Joring, Bike-Joring, Earthdog, Rally-O, Weight Pulling, Carting, Schutzhund, Herding, Nose Work, Therapy, Field Trials, Dock Dogs, Dog Diving, Disc Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, Super Retriever, Splash Dogs, Hang Time, Lure Course Racing, Sled Dog Racing or Treibball; y no necesitas excusarte por ello. No hay que escusarse tampoco si tu perro no sabe sentar bien. Cambia lo que quieras y puedas cambiar y no pierdas tiempo y energia pensando sobre lo que no quieres, no necesitas o no puedas cambiar. Haz lo que tu y tu perro os gusta, como querais hacerlo, asi los dos resultais contentos. Es tan simple como eso!

10. Deja de sentirte mal—Actua ahora (act now)

Si no estás conforme con algún aspecto de tu vida con tu perro, haz algo para cambiarlo. Identifique el problema y establezca un objetivo, haz un plan e implementalo. Sentirse mal y culpable no ayuda a nadie—esto no te ayudara ni a ti, ni a tu perro, o los que mas quieres y con quienes compartes tu vida.

11. Pare tu impulso de poseer—Sé un compañero (be a mate)

La propiedad de los seres vivos es esclavitud; y afortunadamente la esclavitud ha sido abolido No te consideres como el dueño de tu perro. Piensa en tu perro como un compañero del cual eres responsable. No posees a tus hijos, tu pareja y tampoco tus amigos.

12. Detener la dependencia—Desatate (untie your self)

Amor nada tiene que ver con la dependencia, obsesión y el deseo, sino todo lo contrario. Ame su perro, pero no creas una dependencia mutua. Tenga vida propia y dé a su perro algún espacio. Tu perro y tu sois dos individuos independientes. Disfrute de vivir juntos como personas independientes, no siendo enviciado el uno al otro. Deje de proyectarse en su perro.

13. Deja de convertir tu perro en un sustituto—Muestra respeto  (show respect)

Un perro es un perro y en efecto es un notable ser vivo. Ámelo, disfrute de su compañía, pero no le haga un sustituto para un compañero humano, un amigo, un hijo o un cónyuge. Esperar que cualquiera pueda ser un sustituto es el mayor desrespeto que pueda cometer tanto hacia otro humano como hacia cualquier animal no humano, y a ti mismo. Dejarle cesar al perro en seguirte tu guion y comienza a amarlo como el perro que es.

14. Deja de racionalizar—Sé sincero (be truthful)

Todas las relaciones son intercambios: das y tomas. No hay nada malo con esto mientras hay equilibrio. Tienes que ser honesto contigo mismo: Que te da tu perro y que le das a tu perro? Si ves que uno de los dos es mayoritariamente uno que da o recibe, piensalo y reestablece el equilibrio. Tu perro te necesita tanto como tu a el, y no hay nada malo en ello, mientras los dos daís y recibís. No teneis el perro solo para salvar el pobre, pequeña criatura. Tienes el perro para que ambos podais gozar de una relacion solida y fructifera.

15. Deja de querer lo que no puede tenerSé feliz con lo que tiene (be happy with what you’ve got)

Esto es una característica humana muy común: siempre quiere lo que no tiene y es ciego a todo el bien que realmente tiene. Tu perro ya te da muchisimo y los dos podeis ser absolutamente felices juntos, aun cuando tu perro no es particularmente bueno en algo. Es asombroso como los dueños de perros suelen decir que ellos aman sus perros y aún asi pasan la mayor parte del tiempo tratando de cambiar su comportamiento. Concéntrese en lo que tiene, no en lo que no, aprécielo y agradezelo.

16. Deja de luchar contratigo mismo—Siga tu corazon (follow your heart)

Hay muchas maneras de ser un buen propietario de perro y el tuyo es unico y diferente a todos los demás. Es tu vida. Mientras que no perjudique a nadie, viva en la forma que te siente bien. Escuche a expertos, reflexione sobre su consejo, pero, al final de día, haga lo que siente es correcto para tí, siga tu corazón.

La vida es grande!

R—

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16 Things You Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Happy With Your Dog

Roger Abrantes in 1986 howling with husky.

Cover photo from the author’s book from 1986 “Hunden, vor ven” (The Dog, Our Friend) (photo by Ole Suszkievicz).


Here is a list of 16 things you should stop doing in order to make life with your dog happier and your relationship stronger. Difficult? Not at all. You just need to want to do it and then simply do it. You can begin as soon as you finish reading this.

1. Stop being fussy—don’t worry, be happy

Like most things in life, being a perfectionist has its advantages and disadvantages. When you own a dog, you tend to live by Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There are so many variables that things seldom go 100% the way you expect. You can and should plan and train, but be prepared to accept all kinds of variations, improvisations and minor mishaps along the way as long as no one is injured, of course. After all, in most situations less than perfect is better than good, so why worry about perfection, a concept that only exists in your head and doesn’t make anyone happy, neither you nor your dog?

2. Stop being too serious—have a laugh

If you don’t have a good sense of humor, don’t live with a dog. Dog ownership gives rise to many mishaps where laughter is the best way out. Mishaps are only embarrassing in our minds. Your dog doesn’t even know what embarrassment is and you should follow its example. As long as no one gets hurt, just laugh at you and your dog’s mistakes.

3. Stop your desire to control everything—take it as it comes

When life with a dog is often dictated by Murphy’s Law, if you attempt to control your dog’s every move, you’ll end up with an ulcer or fall into a depression. Give up your need to control. Of course, you should have reasonable control over your dog for safety’s sake, but you should let go of anything that is not a matter of life or death. Reasonable rules serve a purpose, but total control is unnecessary and self-defeating. Take it as it comes and keep smiling!

4. Stop apportioning blame—move on

When things go wrong, and they will, I assure you, don’t waste your time apportioning blame. Was it your fault, the dog’s fault, or the neighbor’s cat’s fault? Who cares? Move on and, if you found the scenario all rather upsetting, try to foresee a similar situation in the future and avoid it. If it was no big deal, forget about it.

5. Stop believing in old wives’ tales—be critical

The world is full of irrational, unfounded old wives’ tales. These days, the Internet provides us with quick and easy access to a lot of valuable information—and a lot of junk as well: bad arguments, bad definitions, unsubstantiated claims, fallacies, emotional statements, pseudo-science, sales promotions, hidden political agendas, religious preaching, etc. Of course, in the name of freedom of expression, I believe everyone should be allowed to post whatever they like, even the purest and most refined crap—but both you and I also have the right not to believe it, to disregard it. Use your critical thinking. Don’t stop asking yourself  “How can that be?” and “How did he/she come to that conclusion?” Suspend judgment and action until you have had time to ponder on it and, if necessary, seek a second and third opinion. If the argument is sound and you like it, then do it. If the argument is sound but you don’t like it, don’t do it and think more about it. If the argument is unsound, reject it and think no more about it. Make up your own mind and do what you think is right.

6. Stop caring about labels—be free

We are over swamped by labels because labels sell, but they only sell if you buy them. Should you be a positive, ultra-positive, R+, R++, R+P-, balanced, naturalistic, moralistic, conservative, realistic, progressive, clickerian or authoritarian dog owner? Stop caring about what label you should bear. When you enjoy a great moment with your dog, the label you bear is irrelevant. A label is a burden; it restricts you and takes away your freedom. Labels are for insecure people that need to hide behind an image. Believe in yourself, be the type of dog owner you want to be and you won’t need labels.

7. Stop caring about what others think—live your life

You spend very little time with most of the people you meet, significantly more with family and close friends, but you live your whole life with yourself. So, why care about what other people think about your ability as a dog owner or your dog’s behavior, when you probably won’t see them again or will only ever see them sporadically? If they like you and your dog, fine. If they don’t, it’s really not your problem.

8. Stop complaining—don’t waste your time

You only have a problem when there is a discrepancy between the way things are and the way you expect them to be. If your expectations are realistic, try and do something about achieving them. If they’re not, stop complaining, it’s a waste of time and energy. If you can do something about it, do it. If you can’t, move on. Period.

9. Stop excusing yourself—be yourself

You don’t have to excuse yourself or your dog for the way you are. As long as you don’t bother anyone, you are both entitled to do what you like and be the way you are. You don’t need to be good at anything, whether it be Obedience, Agility, Musical Free Style, Heel Work to Music, Flyball, Frisbee Dog, Earth Dog, Ski-Joring, Bike-Joring, Earthdog, Rally-O, Weight Pulling, Carting, Schutzhund, Herding, Nose Work, Therapy, Field Trials, Dock Dogs, Dog Diving, Disc Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, Super Retriever, Splash Dogs, Hang Time, Lure Course Racing, Sled Dog Racing or Treibball; and you don’t need excuses as to why not. You don’t even need to excuse the fact that your dog can’t sit properly. Change what you want to change and can change; and don’t waste time and energy thinking about what you don’t want to, don’t need to or can’t change. Do whatever you and your dog enjoy, however you like, so that both you and your dog are happy. It’s as simple as that!

10. Stop feeling bad—act now

If you’re unhappy with any particular aspect of your life with your dog, do something to change it. Identify the problem, set a goal, make a plan and implement it. Feeling bad and guilty doesn’t help anyone—it doesn’t help you, your dog, or the cherished ones you share your life with.

11. Stop your urge to own—be a mate

The ownership of living beings is slavery; and thankfully slavery was abolished. Don’t regard yourself as the owner of your dog. Think of your dog as a mate you are responsible for. You don’t own your children, your partner or your friends either.

12. Stop dependency—untie your self

Love has nothing to do with dependency, obsession and craving, quite the contrary. Love your dog but don’t create mutual dependency. Have a life of your own and give your dog some space. You and your dog are two independent individuals. Enjoy living together as free agents, not being addicted each other. Stop projecting yourself onto your dog.

13. Stop turning your dog into a substitute—show respect

A dog is a dog and it is indeed a remarkable living being. Love it, enjoy its company, but don’t make it a substitute for a human partner, a friend, a child or a spouse. To expect anyone to be a substitute is the greatest disrespect you can show to a human as well as non-human animal—and to yourself. Stop letting your dog play a role for you and begin to love your dog as a dog.

14. Stop rationalizing—be truthful

All relationships are trades: you give and you take. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as there is balance. Be honest with yourself: what does your dog give you and what do you give your dog? If you find that one of you is almost solely a giver or a taker, think about it and redress the balance. Your dog needs you, just as you need your dog and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you both are givers and takers. You didn’t get your dog just to save the poor, little creature. You got your dog so you could both enjoy a solid and fruitful partnership.

15. Stop wanting what you can’t have—be happy with what you’ve got

This is a very common human characteristic: you always want what you haven’t got and you are blind to all the good you do have. Your dog already gives you a great deal and the two of you can be perfectly happy together, even if your dog is not particularly good at anything. It’s amazing how dog owners say they love their dogs and yet they spend most of the time trying to change their behavior. Focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t, appreciate it and be grateful for it.

16. Stop fighting yourself—follow your heart

There are many different ways of being a good dog owner and yours is your own and different to everyone else’s. It’s your life. As long as you don’t harm anyone, live it the way that feels good for you. Listen to experts, ponder on their advice, but, at the end of the day, do what you feel is right for you, follow your heart. Be yourself.

Life is great!

R—

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The Thai Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose hero from Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”

We all know Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the brave mongoose from Kipling’s ‘The Jungle book.’ This is the story of Mah Noy, the brave dog from Koh Lanta Yai in Southern Thai.

Koh Lanta Yai (เกาะลันตา) remains one of  Thailand‘s well-kept secrets (I shouldn’t even reveal the name). It is relatively close to the better-known islands of Koh Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, but is practically inaccessible, requiring two flights, a long drive, and two ferry trips. Tourists are few and far between on this particular South Andaman island and it is virtually devoid of Western influence, except for a few resorts for those who want a taste of unspoiled paradise. Koh Lanta Yai is the biggest of 52 islands of which only 12 are inhabited.

Of course, it’s much easier for me to get to Koh Lanta, as I am resident on a neighboring island only 43.5 nautical miles away. The beaches of Koh Lanta are idyllic: the sand unsullied the water clear and warm (about 86-88º F) and the underwater world along the coral reef just breathtaking (although not literally, I’m happy to say). I always look forward to my diving assignments nearby, drifting above the Staghorn and the Anemone corals monitoring the various species’ fortunes. What a great job!

Thai Fisherman With Dog

Thai fisherman like to have their dogs with them for company and practical purposes.

When I’m working in Koh Lanta, I always go ashore in the evening and stay in modest accommodation right on the beach. On one of these occasions, just before sunset, I was sitting in front of my bungalow, cleaning my equipment, when two children came along to talk to me, as always, curious about foreigners.

I had seen them both before; they belong to the food booth where I often eat, just behind the bungalow. We talked about the sea and the fish and about my diving gear, which of course fascinates them.

After having washed my gear, I decided to walk the 30 yards up the cliff to grab something to eat, and the kids followed me. My Thai is not as good as I would like, but my inadequacies have their advantages. As it is so difficult to pronounce words correctly, I nearly always commit embarrassing mistakes that produce a great deal of giggling—and giggling is the best way I know to decrease distance between strangers.

Woman with her dog: Thai street food booth

Thai street food cooking and selling is a small family business and since dogs are part of the daily life in Thailand it is not unusual to see them with their owners at work.

“Khun cheu aria?” (What’s your name?), I asked the little boy who was giggling the most and who happened to have one of his front teeth missing.

He told me his name, which sounded funny to me. Thais have all sorts of interesting nicknames, and they are especially fond of animal names. Elephant, shrimp, crab, fish, bird, duck, rabbit, turtle, and even chicken are common names—but I’ve never heard a nickname like this little boy’s. It was then that his mother, Poo (Crab), the owner of the food booth, told me the story.

Five years earlier, two days after giving birth to the now gap-toothed boy, Poo was cooking dinner whilst the family dog catnapped behind the cradle where her newborn baby was happily babbling away to himself.

Thais usually cook outdoors. It’s always warm and they don’t like the smell of food indoors. The dog was typically Thai, of unknown origin, the size of a small spaniel, with an unruly black and white coat, and friendly, deep brown eyes. They had found him on the street a couple of years beforehand and had fed him. For want of a better name, they called him just (หมาน้อย), Mah Noy. He stayed around and finally moved in a couple of weeks later after conquering their hearts. The pressure of natural selection for dogs in Thailand is on kindness. The kindest dogs have a greater chance of survival and pass on their ‘kinder’ genes to their progeny.

On that particular day, Mah Noy gave Poo such a fright she almost lost hold of her hot pan, which could have resulted in serious burns. The dog had suddenly emitted a deep growl and then in two agile, determined jumps, just missing the baby’s cradle, he launched himself on top of a cobra, biting it firmly behind the head.

Thai boy and puppy

Mah Noy (หมาน้อย), the boy, got his unusual name for a good reason.

The Andaman Cobra (Naja sagittifera) is an impressive snake, measuring about three to four feet in length. The effects of its venom are devastating; it is capable of killing a human in 30 minutes.

Poo was terrified, rushed to pick up the baby, and ran out of the front gate into the street where she began shouting for her husband. Na (short for Chai Cha Na = victory) came running to the scene and charged into the backyard to grab a spade. The cobra was lying a few feet from the dog, apparently lifeless, but, just in case, Na cut it in two with a well-aimed strike with the spade. Mah Noy looked up at him, gasping for air, and barely able to wag the tip of his bushy tail. Na understood right away that the dog was dying, picked him up and, holding his dog firmly on his lap with one hand, he rode his motorbike as quickly as he could to the local vet.

On the way to the vet, Mah Noy peed and pooped on his lap. Na stopped to get a better grasp on the dog. Mah Noy looked at him, gasped for air for a last time and gave a final wag of his tail. Na understood it was too late for the vet and the strong fisherman from the South Andaman Sea began to weep like a child, right there on the side of the road to Klong Dao, in the fading light of the day on which he had come so close to losing his first-born baby boy.

When Na got home to Poo and their newborn, they buried Mah Noy in their backyard and placed a yellow marigold on top of the grave (yellow is the color of friendship for Thais). That evening, they decided to call their baby boy หมาน้อย, Mah Noy, which in Thai means ‘puppy.’

Sawasdee khrap,

ชีวิต ที่ด

R—

Canine Ethogram—Social and Agonistic Behavior

Behavior is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.

Behavior does not originate as a deliberate and well-thought strategy to control a stimulus. Initially, all behavior is probably just a reflex, a response following a particular anatomical or physiological reaction. Like all phenotypes, it happens by chance and evolves thereafter.

Natural selection favors behaviors that prolong the life of an animal and increase its chance of reproducing; over time, a particularly advantageous behavior spreads throughout the population. The disposition (genotype) to display a behavior is innate (otherwise the phenotype would not be subject to natural selection and evolution), although it requires maturation and/or reinforcement for the organism to be able to apply it successfully. Behavior is, thus, the product of a combination of innate dispositions and environmental factors. Some behaviors require little conditioning from the environment for the animal to display it while other behaviors requires more.

 

Canine Ethogram Social Agonistic Photos

Pictures illustrating canine social and agonistic behavior. For the classification of the behavior, please see ethogram below. Behavior is dynamic (not static). All interpretations are therefore only approximate and as pictures allow.

 

An organism can forget a behavior if it does not have the opportunity to display it for a period of a certain length, or the behavior can be extinguished if it is not reinforced for a period.

Evolution favors a systematic bias, which moves behavior away from maximization of utility and towards maximization of fitness.

Social behavior is behavior involving more than one individual with the primary function of establishing, maintaining, or changing a relationship between individuals, or in a group (society).

Most researchers define social behavior as the behavior shown by members of the same species in a given interaction. This excludes behavior such as predation, which involves members of different species. On the other hand, it seems to allow for the inclusion of everything else such as communication behavior, parental behavior, sexual behavior, and even agonistic behavior.

Sociologists insist that behavior is an activity devoid of social meaning or social context, in contrast to social behavior, which has both. However, this definition does not help us much because all above mentioned behaviors do have a social meaning and a context unless ‘social’ means ‘involving the whole group’ (society) or ‘a number of its members.’ In that case, we should ask how many individuals are needed in an interaction to classify it as social. Are three enough? If so, then sexual behavior is not social behavior when practiced by two individuals, but becomes social when three or more are involved, which is not unusual in some species. We can use the same line of arguing for communication behavior, parental behavior, and agonistic behavior. It involves more than one individual and it affects the group (society), the smallest possible consisting of two individuals.

Agonistic behavior includes all forms of intraspecific behavior related to aggression, fear, threat, fight or flight, or interspecific when competing for resources. It explicitly includes behaviors such as dominant behavior, submissive behavior, flight, pacifying, and conciliation, which are functionally and physiologically interrelated with aggressive behavior, yet fall outside the narrow definition of aggressive behavior. It excludes predatory behavior.

Dominant behavior is a quantitative and quantifiable behavior displayed by an individual with the function of gaining or maintaining temporary access to a particular resource on a particular occasion, versus a particular opponent, without either party incurring injury. If any of the parties incur injury, then the behavior is aggressive and not dominant. Its quantitative characteristics range from slightly self-confident to overtly assertive.

Dominant behavior is situational, individual and resource related. One individual displaying dominant behavior in one specific situation does not necessarily show it on another occasion toward another individual, or toward the same individual in another situation.

Dominant behavior is particularly important for social animals that need to cohabit and cooperate to survive. Therefore, a social strategy evolved with the function of dealing with competition among mates, which caused the least disadvantages.

Aggressive behavior is behavior directed toward the elimination of competition while dominance, or social-aggressiveness, is behavior directed toward the elimination of competition from a mate.

Fearful behavior is behavior directed toward the elimination of an incoming threat.

Submissive behavior, or social-fear, is behavior directed toward the elimination of a social-threat from a mate, i.e. losing temporary access to a resource without incurring injury.

Resources are what an organism perceives as life necessities, e.g. food, mating partner, or a patch of territory. What an animal perceives to be its resources depends on both the species and the individual; it is the result of evolutionary processes and the history of the individual.

Mates are two or more animals that live closely together and depend on one another for survival.

Aliens are two or more animals that do not live close together and do not depend on one another for survival.

A threat is everything that may harm, inflict pain or injury, or decrease an individual’s chance of survival. A social-threat is everything that may cause the temporary loss of a resource and may cause submissive behavior or flight, without the submissive individual incurring injury. Animals show submissive behavior by means of various signals, visual, auditory, olfactory and/or tactile.

Canine Ethogram

Pictures illustrating canine social and agonistic behavior. For the classification of the behavior, please see ethogram below. Behavior is dynamic (not static). All interpretations are, therefore, only approximate and as pictures allow.

 

The diagram does not include a complete list of behaviors.

As always, have a great day!

R—

PS—I apologize if by chance I’ve used one of your pictures without giving you due credit. If this is the case, please e-mail me your name and picture info and I’ll rectify that right away.

References

The Final Walk

My walk home from the pier is one of life’s small pleasures. It’s normally a 20 minute stroll, but it can often take up to an hour or sometimes even two, as I have to stop and chat with everybody on the way, from merchants to people I know by sight, or even complete strangers. This is the Thai way and the way of my village in Southern Thailand where everybody smiles and talks to you.

Old dog

Bombom was old and tired, ready for his final walk to the temple.

 

The weather is nearly always hot and sunny, between 29º and 38ºC (85º and 100º F), Today it’s exactly 32º C according to my diving computer. Of course it rains during the rainy season, but only for an hour or two and everything soon dries off, leaving a sense of freshness and the smell of wet soil in the air. Sometimes it rains cats and dogs, turning the streets in the village into small rivers, but everyone takes it in their stride and, with shoes off and pants rolled up, life continues (literally) with a smile.
After having completed three dives, one of them in a strong surge, I’m starving as usual. These days, in my ageing youth, my job in Thailand is marine biology environmental management, which, basically, means I dive, sometimes with students, sometimes without, take pictures of the fish and corals I see, and then write a report—yes, I call that a job! I stop at one of those remarkable street vendors on the main street to grab something to eat. ‘Street food’ is so cheap and so good that it doesn’t make any sense to go home and cook.

Buddhist Monk and Dog.

Buddhist Monk and Dog (image by John Lander).

 

My favorite ‘restaurant’ (it looks more like an open garage) is a family business, like most small businesses in Thailand. The owners live there too. They have a TV and a bed for the kids in the back—that is, behind the four tables for the guests. It’s all on view for all to see. Of course, you don’t want to isolate the kids in a room by themselves. Children (and dogs) are an inherent part of Thai life; you see them everywhere. They are allowed to do whatever they want, are seldom scolded or yelled at and, amazingly enough, they are pretty well behaved. It puzzles me how they manage it, especially when I think of some of our little brats in the West, both human and canine. I am yet to discover their secret, but I guess it has something to do with the fact they are part of every aspect of daily life from the day they are born; they are perfectly integrated with no artificially constructed, designated kids-zones. The same goes for the dogs, they belong there like anyone else: no fuss, no extra attention, no special treatment one way or another.

“Sawasdee kha khoon Logel,” Phee Mali greets me with a big smile when she sees me.

Phee means big sister and Mali means Jasmine, which is her name. I’m Logel because Thais are always on first name terms. Last names are a relatively new invention imposed on them by the government in response to the growth of the nation and a more modern society. The telephone directory is ordered by first names. King Rama VI introduced the practice of surnames in 1920 and he personally invented names for about 500 families. All Thais have nicknames. You call your friends by their nicknames and sometimes you don’t even know their real name! I’m Logel because most Thais can’t pronounce the ‘r’ sound, not even in their own language and, surprisingly enough, they do have ‘r’ in Thai.

Dog in Temple

Thais often take the dogs to the local temple so they can die in peace, in the company of the monks, near Buddha.

 

“You OK, you see beautiful fish today?” Phee Mali asks me in ‘Tenglish’—or Thai English, which is a language in its own right, most charming and highly addictive. Before long and without even noticing it, you begin speaking Tenglish. I speak a mixture of Thai and Tenglish with the locals. As my Thai improves, I speak more Thai and less Tenglish, but Thai is difficult as it is a tone language. The tone with which you pronounce a word changes its meaning and sometimes dramatically so. There are words I consistently mispronounce which has the Thais in fits of laughter, either because I talk utter nonsense, or I say something naughty. They love it when it’s the latter. They even encourage me to say something they know I can’t pronounce just to amuse themselves. It’s all good-hearted and good fun, with no disrespect intended. On the contrary, I get preferential treatment because I speak Thai. I’ll transcribe below some of our conversations in English, directly translated from the Thai words, in order to give my readers a feel for it.

“Yes,” I answer, “I saw beautiful fish and corals. Thale (sea) Andaman very good.”

“Oh you so black!” she exclaims with furrowed brows and a smile. ‘Black’ actually means either tanned or sun burnt, as the case may be. Thai women don’t like to be sun tanned. They like white, as they say, and they become very worried when they see someone with what in the West we call a healthy, attractive tan.

“You hung’y ‘ight, gwai teeaw moo pet mak ‘ight?” Phee Mali asks me laughing. She knows just what’s on my mind—I love a hot, spicy gwai teeaw moo, especially after a hard day’s work. It’s a soup, containing noodles and pork, chicken or shrimp, with everything else imaginable thrown in. It even comes with a side plate of fresh vegetables that you tear into pieces with your fingers and add to the soup as you please. You season it all yourself with dry chili, fresh chili, chili sauce, fish sauce, soy, pepper, salt, and a bit of sugar (yes sugar, try it and you’ll see why I love it). It’s delicious I can assure you, and healthy too.

I eat my gwai teeaw moo and sip down my iced green tea, no sugar. The sun will set in about half an hour; it always goes down at the same time here, seven degrees north of the equator. No rain today. I relish life in Paradise!

“Tao thale sa baay dee mai.” The kids come running to ask me about the fish and especially the sea turtle, their favorite—which is a good opportunity for me to practice my Thai language. They call me Lung Logel (Uncle Roger), in deference to my age. Then, it’s the dogs’ turn to say hi—in Doggish, one language I do know, no accent and spoken the same on every continent.

Thai Child wai.

The wai is the Thai greeting when you raise both hands together to your chin. It still strikes me as the most beautiful greeting I’ve ever seen.

 

I see Ae on the other side of the street (Ae is a funny name deriving from the Thai peekaboo game). I know her and her family. Her father works on one of the boats I regularly sail with on my diving tours. I often help him dock the boat when we arrive at the pier in less than perfect weather and we sometimes have a beer together after having secured the boat, unloaded, etc. Ae is squatting beside her dog, one of those Thai dogs that looks the same as every other. Village dogs in Thailand all look alike, as if they were a particular breed, the product of random breeding throughout the years. I call them ‘default dogs.’

“Ae sad, right?’ I ask the kids.

“Oh, dog Ae old already, tomorrow father of Ae bring dog to go temple,” Chang Lek (Little Elephant is his name) replies.

I finish my meal and go over to talk to Ae, still squatting beside her dog and petting him. I can see Bombom is old and tired. He’s a good, friendly dog. He can often be seen strolling around the village, quietly surveying the neighborhood. He’s always incredibly dusty despite Ae and her mother painstakingly and frequently bathing him. When I approach them, he barely raises his head. He gives me that affable, resigned look of his.

“Sawasdee khrap, Ae.”

“Sawasdee kha,” she says to me and hastens to wai to me. The wai is the Thai greeting when you raise both hands together to your chin. It still strikes me as the most beautiful greeting I’ve ever seen.

“Bombom is old, right?” I ask her.

“Yessir.”

“Bombom already had happy life. You are good friend of Bombom.”

“Yessir,” she says gently.

“Bombom likes you very much,” I say, lost for words.

“Tomorrow Mum and Dad bring Bombom to go to temple,” she replies and I see a big tear roll down her left cheek.

“Yes. I know,” I tell her. Again lost for words, I add “Ae, I go across the street to buy ice cream for us to sit here eating ice cream and talking to Bombom. You like that?”

“Yessir, thank you so much sir,” she says and manages to give me a lovely smile. “Bombom likes ice cream so much,” she adds and her eyes are now full of thick, sorrowful, young tears.

In Thai culture and beliefs, all living beings under the sun deserve the same respect. Species is of no relevance. They love their pets and when they are old and dying, some Thais take them to the local temple so they can die in peace, in the company of the monks, near Buddha. That’s why there are always many dogs around the temples, which sometimes is a real problem. The temples are poor. A monk owns only seven articles. The villagers cook for them (and the dogs) in the morning before going to work.

Sawasdee khrap,

ชีวิต ที่ด

R—

Pacifying Behavior—Origin, Function and Evolution

Roger Abrantes and Rottweiler

This Rottweiler female shows me friendly behavior licking my face and ear. I show that I accept her friendly behavior by turning my face away from her, closing my eyes and mouth and making champing noises. Mostly, dogs show friendly and pacifying behavior to humans as they do to other dogs (photo by Lisa J. Bain).

Pacifying behavior (Latin pacificare, from pax = peace and facerefacio = to make) is all behavior with the function of decreasing or suppressing an opponent’s aggressive or dominant behavior. There are two ways of classifying pacifying behavior: (1) to include all behaviors with the function of diffusing social conflict, and (2) to restrict it to a particular range within the broader spectrum of conflict decreasing behavior (see diagram below). This author prefers the latter because the broad use of the term in the first option makes it synonymous with conflict decreasing behavior in general, without reference to any particular sub-class of this behavior.

Pacifying behavior is closely related to friendly behavior (including greeting behavior), insecuresubmissive and fearful behavior. In general, the differences between these behavior displays are quantitatively small, but we can classify them separately and qualitatively according to their respective sub-functions. An animal pacifies another by means of a complex sequence of different behaviors as we can see in the diagram below. An animal very seldom shows a single behavior. Also, the same behavior may achieve different functions depending on its intensity and the sum of all behaviors displayed at a given moment.

Pacifying behavior did not originate as a deliberate and well-thought strategy to manipulate an opponent. Initially, it was probably just a reflex. Like all phenotypes, it happened by chance and evolved thereafter.

Pacifying Behavior Canids

Pacifying behavior in dogs: licking own lips, licking and pawing (images by Alanic05 and Colorado Great Pyrenee Rescue Community).

Natural selection favors behaviors that prolong the life of an animal and increase its chance of reproducing; over time pacifying behavior spread throughout the population. Evolution favors a systematic bias, which moves behavior away from maximization of utility and towards maximization of fitness.

Pacifying Behavior Animals

Many species show pacifying displays in their behavior repertoire (photos by J. Frisch, AFP and Aleixa).

The origin of pacifying behavior—Animal A facing aggressive opponent B registers (sensory system) B’s behavior, processes it (neurological system) and responds with a behavior. This behavior (probably an infantile behavior) is then registered by aggressive animal B; some behaviors tend to pacify it (probably eliciting parental behavior) while others do not. The pacified state of B benefits A and reinforces its behavior, i.e. it is likely it will repeat the same behavior in similar circumstances. Most importantly, animals that show appropriate pacifying behavior (such as A) survive conflicts and avoid injury more often than not and subsequently pass their genes onto the next generation.

Pacifying behavior also pacifies the pacifier, which is an important feature of this behavior. By displaying pacifying behavior, an insecure animal attempts to regain some security (homeostasis) by displaying a behavior it knows well and has previously served to reassure it.

Dog and Cat

Cat and dog use the pacifying behavior of their own species to communicate with one another successfully because of the common characteristics of the behavior (photo by Malau).

Some pacifying behavior has its origins in neonatal and infantile behavior and only becomes pacifying behavior through redirection and eventually ritualization. Other forms of pacifying behavior rely on concealing all signs of aggressive behavior. Sexual behavior can also function as pacifying. Young animals of social species learn pacifying behavior at a very early age; it is important that young animals are able to pacify adults when they begin interacting with them. The disposition (genotype) to display the behavior is innate (otherwise the phenotype  would not be subject to natural selection and evolution), although it requires reinforcement for the young animal to be able to apply it successfully. In canines, adults (initially the mother at the time of weaning) teach the cubs/pups the intricacies of pacifying behavior, a skill they will need to master in order to prevent or resolve hostilities that could cause serious injuries.

Even though pacifying behavior is more relevant and developed in social species, we also find pacifying displays in the behavior repertoire of less social species. Animals use successfully the pacifying behavior characteristic of their own species with individuals belonging to other species (if possible) because of the common elements of pacifying behavior across species. It is not unusual to see our domestic animals, dogs, cats and horses interacting peacefully and exchanging pacifying signals. Dogs also show friendly, insecure, pacifying or submissive behavior to their owners and other humans with species characteristic displays; licking, nose poking, muzzle nudging, pawing and twisting are common behaviors that dogs offer us.

This diagram shows the placement of pacifying behavior in the spectrum of behavior in canids. The diagram does not include a complete list of behaviors. A conflict is any serious disagreement, dispute over a resource, which may lead to one or both parts showing aggressive behavior. Resources are what an organism perceives as life necessities, e.g. food, mating partner, or a patch of territory. What an animal perceives to be its resources depends on both the species and the individual; it is the result of evolutionary processes and the history of the individual.

Pacifying Spectrum

The spectrum of pacifying behavior in canids (by R. Abrantes). The colored background illustrates and emphasizes that behavior is a continuum with fading thresholds between the various behaviors. The vertical lines are our artificial borders, a product of definition and convention.

As always, enjoy a peaceful day,

R—

References

  • Abrantes, R. 1997. The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior. Wakan Tanka Publishers.
  • Abrantes, R. 1997. Dog Language. Wakan Tanka Publishers.
  • Coppinger, R. and Coppinger, L. 2001. Dogs: a Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution. Scribner.
  • Darwin, C. 1872. The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals. John Murray (the original edition).
  • Fox, M. 1972. Behaviour of Wolves, Dogs, and Related Canids. Harper and Row.
  • Lopez, Barry H. (1978). Of Wolves and Men. J. M. Dent and Sons Limited.
  • Mech, L. D. 1970. The wolf: the ecology and behavior of an endangered species. Doubleday Publishing Co., New York.
  • Mech, L. David (1981). The Wolf: The Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Mech, L. D. 1988. The arctic wolf: living with the pack. Voyageur Press, Stillwater, Minn.
  • Mech. L. D. and Boitani, L. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. University of Chicago Press.
  • Scott, J. P. and Fuller, J. L. 1998. Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog. University of Chicago Press.
  • Zimen, E. 1975. Social dynamics of the wolf pack. In The wild canids: their systematics, behavioral ecology and evolution. Edited by M. W. Fox. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York. pp. 336-368.
  • Zimen, E. 1982. A wolf pack sociogram. In Wolves of the world. Edited by F. H. Harrington, and P. C. Paquet. Noyes Publishers, Park Ridge, NJ.

Handler Beliefs Do Not Affect Police Dog Detection Outcomes

GNR Officer and Police Dog

GNR officer and police dog (image by Roger Abrantes)

This is a scientific study, which is relevant to law enforcement, police dog handlers and anyone concerned with scent detection and particularly canine scent detection.

This study was conducted in 2011 at the GNR in Portugal by Roger Abrantes (PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology, Ethology Institute Cambridge and special advisor to the GNR), Marco Costa Pinto (Major, Company Commander, GNR) Miguel Rodrigues (Captain, GNR) and Tiago Costa Pinto (Captain, GNR). The GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) is the Portuguese Military Academy trained Police.

Summary (abstract)

Our goal in this study was to evaluate how handler beliefs and other environmental stimuli influenced the indications given by police detection dogs.

We tested 16 teams: eight specialists in narcotics and eight specialists in explosives. The handlers were told that two conditions indicated with a paper marker could contain the target scent. Two of the search conditions contained decoy scents (food/toy) in order to test whether they would produce indications from the dogs. The search conditions were as follows: (1) no scent, (2) paper marker (red tape), (3) decoy scent, (4) paper marker at decoy scent, (5) target scent. The last condition was our way of controlling that the dogs were adequately trained and able to detect and indicate the desired target scents.

The dogs gave 59 incorrect indications. There were more clean runs in unmarked areas. In contrast, the distribution of clean runs did not differ between runs with or without decoy scents. No difference proved statistically significant.

Our conclusion is, therefore, that the dogs indicated the target scents independently of handler beliefs and decoy scents. Handler beliefs do seem to increase the number of false positives, but not in a statistically significant way. Decoy scents do not influence the number of indications given by the dogs.

In the condition containing a target scent, only one dog failed to detect or indicate it (the youngest, a one year old Labrador). This condition produced 10 false positives. These results are statistically significant, showing that the dogs do detect and indicate target scents and the handlers make the right calls.

You can read more about the parameters and conclusions of this study here.

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