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Editor'S Choice - 2019

Your dog - what she sees and feels. World in terms of dogs

The American professor of psychology proposes to forget about everything that we know about dogs - and move on to their point of view. This will benefit our communication with the pet. In order to mentally turn into four people it was easier, a specialist in animal behavior along the way “breaks into the skin” of a broiler chicken and a tick.

In the morning, Pumpernickel wakes me up. She comes up to my bed and starts to sniff vigorously: her nose is a few millimeters from my face, my mustache tickling my lips. She wants to know if I have woken up, whether I live ... and whether I am at all. To top it off, Pumpernickel sneezes expressively into my face. I open my eyes and she looks at me, smiling and puffing in greeting.

Look at your dog. Maybe she’s lying next to her now, on the bedding, curled up and laying her face on her paws, or sprawled on the tiled floor, tugging at her paws in a dream. Of course, I do not demand that you immediately forget the nickname, favorite treat or unique look of your dog, not to mention everything else. It is like asking a person who first engages in meditation to instantly attain enlightenment.

Looking at dogs from the point of view of science, we will see that some of our information about them is completely inaccurate; some things that seemed infallibly true, on close scrutiny, are dubious. And if you look at our dogs from a different point of view, from the dog’s point of view, we will notice nuances that people usually don’t think about. Therefore, the best way to begin to comprehend the canine nature is to forget what we think we know about it.

The first thing to give up is anthropomorphism, the likening of animals to man. We see, evaluate and try to predict the behavior of the dog from a biased, human, point of view, endowing it with its own features. Well, of course, dogs love and lust think and dreaming; they know and understand us as well miss, jealous and become disheartened. If a dog looks at us in anguish when we leave the house for the whole day, then first of all it will occur to us that it is sad.

Anthropomorphism is not exactly unacceptable. It arose when people began to comprehend the world. Our ancestors constantly resorted to this technique in order to explain and predict the behavior of animals - those they hunted, and those who, in turn, hunted them. Imagine meeting a fiery-eyed jaguar in the gloom of a forest; you look into his eyes intently and perhaps think: "If I were a jaguar ...". And - fleeing from a wild cat with all legs. People survived: apparently, anthropomorphism turned out to be sufficiently true.

Now we, as a rule, do not find ourselves in the position of a victim, which, in order to escape from the jaguar, it is necessary to imagine what he wants. Instead, we bring the animals to our home and invite them to become members of the family. In this case, anthropomorphism does not help us at all to build an even and emotionally rich relationship with animals. I do not want to say that anthropomorphic judgments are always false: it is possible that the dog is really sad, jealous, curious and depressed - but maybe it just asks for a peanut butter sandwich.

We can find an animal happy, if we see that the corners of its mouth are raised - and, most likely, will be mistaken. Dolphins, for example, "smile" all the time, it is an invariable feature of their appearance, like that painted on the face of a clown grimace. The grin of a chimpanzee indicates fear or expresses submission - both of which are very far from joy. The raised eyebrows of a capuchin monkey do not mean that she is surprised, doubted or alarmed: she lets her relatives know that she has friendly intentions. And with the baboons raised eyebrows, on the contrary, can mean a threat (so watch your facial expressions in the presence of monkeys). People will have to confirm or deny what we attribute to animals.

When it seems to us that we know how it will be better for the animal (based on the idea of ​​how it will be better for us), we may inadvertently come into conflict with our own goals. In recent years, people have preoccupied with the state of animals that are raised for slaughter, for example, broiler chickens, and decided that it would be better if birds could get out of their cages and knead their wings.

But do broilers want freedom? In the conventional wisdom, no creature, be it human or animal, loves closeness. (In fact, if you have to choose between a subway car full of sweaty, winding up people, and a carriage where there are few people, you will certainly prefer the second option - unless, of course, the air conditioner is broken in this carriage or there is no exceptionally foul-smelling passenger.) The natural behavior of the chickens, however, indicates the opposite. They flock to the flock, and do not roam on their own.

Biologists conducted a simple experiment to identify chick preferences: they selected a few, put them in a cage, and began to observe them. Most chickens were pressed to their relatives, and did not walk, even if there was free space in the cage. In other words, broilers prefer crowded wagon to empty.

I do not mean at all that chickens like to live in cramped quarters. Inhumanly cage so many chickens that they can't move. However, the assumptions about the coincidence of our preferences with the preferences of chickens are few in order to decide if we know what they want. Chickens at a poultry farm are killed when they reach the age of one and a half months. Poultry at this age are still in the care of their hen. Broilers, unable to hide under the mother's wing, keep close to each other.

Take my rain coat please

Are we, with our love of anthropomorphism, wrong about dogs? Yes. Take, for example, clothes for dogs with four sleeves. Many dog ​​owners noticed that their pets were reluctant to go outside in bad weather, and concluded: dogs do not like rain.

What does it mean? The dog must not like it when the rain weaves it, just like we do not like it. But is it true? The dog is excited, it wags its tail when you get a raincoat out of the closet? Do not rush to triumph: maybe she just understands that the appearance of a rain coat foreshadows a long-awaited walk. Is the dog spinning, pressing its tail and turning its head when you put a raincoat on it? This discourages you, but you are in no hurry to doubt that you are right. What does a dog look like when it gets wet? Is he dirty? And while shaking off with delight? Unclear.

The natural behavior of wild canids can help answer the question of what a dog thinks about a raincoat. Both dogs and wolves have a “rain coat”, which is an integral part of the animal — wool. It is quite enough; when it starts to rain, the wolves seek shelter, and do not try to make an improvised raincoat.

In addition, dog clothes fit the back, chest, and sometimes the head of an animal. The wolf is under pressure on these parts of the body when the other wolf asserts its power over it or the older relative "punishes" him for disobedience. Dominant individuals often press subordinates to the ground, capturing their face with their jaws. This is the so-called educational biting, and perhaps that is why dogs in muzzles seem unusually submissive.

The dog who presses his relative to the ground is the dominant, and the subordinate dog in such a case experiences inevitable pressure. Probably, just this feeling and causes a raincoat. Therefore, the basic feeling that a dog experiences when wearing a raincoat is not protected from moisture. Rather, the raincoat instills in her confidence that there is an individual of higher rank nearby. A dog dressed in a raincoat can obediently go outside, but not because she likes to wear it, but because she has been forced on a subordinate role. Of course, in the end, she will not get wet, but that cares about us, not the dog.

To avoid such mistakes, one should not “humanize” the dog, but interpret its behavior correctly. In most cases, everything is simple: the owner must ask the dog what he wants. You just need to know how to translate the answer.

World in terms of tick

The German biologist Jacob von Ikskyl in the early twentieth century made a great contribution to the study of animals. He suggested that those who wish to study the life of an animal should first reconstruct it. umwelt (German Umwelt) - subjective picture of the world.

For example, imagine a tiny black-legged tick. Those of you who at least once carefully examined the body of the dog in search of a creature the size of a pinhead, probably already presented it. And, most likely, they are not inclined to stand on ceremony with him. Von Ikskyl, unlike you, tried to understand what kind of world a tick lives in.

Short help: ixodic ticks, which include black-legged, are animals of the arachnid class. They are parasites. They have a simple body, chelicera (special oral appendages) and, as a rule, four pairs of legs. Thousands of generations of ticks were born, mated, got food and died. They are born without legs and genitals, but soon acquire these parts of the body, mate and climb higher - for example, on a blade of grass. From this moment on, something amazing begins.

Of all the images, sounds and smells of the world around the adult mite, only one is interested. He does not look around - ticks are blind. His sounds do not bother him either - they are irrelevant to the case. The tick waits for the smell of butyric (butanoic) acid, which means that a warm-blooded animal is approaching (we can catch the smell of this acid, for example, in the smell of sweat). Tick ​​is able to wait in the wings for a dozen years.

As soon as he senses the desired smell, he falls off the roost. His secondary sensory capacity is activated. The surface of the mite is photosensitive and reacts to heat. If the mite is lucky and the tasty smell really belongs to the animal, it sucks and drinks blood. After a single feeding, he falls off, lays eggs and dies.

Thus, the world of the tick is very different from ours. For ticks, only smell and heat matter. If we want to understand how any living creature lives, we should, first, find out what is important to it. How? The main way is to understand what the animal is capable of perceiving: what it sees, hears, feels, and so on. Only perceived objects matter - the rest of the animal either simply does not notice or does not distinguish between them. The wind that rustles in the grass is pointless for a tick. Sounds of a children's picnic? Mite does not hear them. Crumbs of delicious pie on the ground? Tick ​​indifferent to them.

Secondly, we should learn how the animal acts. The tick mates, waits, clings and eats. Therefore, the world consists of ticks and non-ticks for it; from objects on which you can sit and on which you can not sit; from surfaces to which it is possible to cling and to which it is impossible to cling; of the substances that you can eat and that you can not eat.

These two components — sensory perception and behavior — basically determine the picture of the world of any living being. Each animal has its own umwelt, subjective reality.

Different animals see differently (or, more precisely, perceive it - some of them see poorly or blind at all) one and the same object. A rose is a rose. Or not? For a man, a rose is one of the varieties of flowers, the usual gift of lovers, something very beautiful. For the beetle, the rose is a vast area where you can hide (for example, from the inside of the leaf, so as not to catch the bird’s eyes), hunt (in the flower head, where the ant larvae are located) and lay eggs (in the node - the place where the leaf is attached to the stem) . For an elephant, a rose is a thorn underfoot.

What is a rose for a dog? As we will see, having understood the structure of the body and brain of the dog, the rose for her is not a beautiful object and not a closed world. The rose is indistinguishable from the rest of the plants surrounding the dog, except that a dog has urinated on it, or another animal has come, or the owner is holding a flower. Then the rose is of keen interest and becomes for the dog a subject far more significant than for us.

The ending should ...

Watch the video: Understanding Dog Body Language - Learn how to read dogs behavior better (October 2019).