It’s easy to see how dog training IS rather like driving a car. Input and output. You turn the steering wheel to the left and the car moves to the left. You tell a trained dog to sit and stay, and the dog sits and stays. You have very subtle control over the car, and you can train a dog to notice subtle changes in your cues. But…
Dogs are more like us than they are like cars!
I’d say that dogs are more like us than most people realize. We share so many physical and emotional traits. I’m convinced that’s a big part of why we love our dogs so much. And different breeds may show different human-like characteristics. Our Rottweiler Lola is so very attuned to our emotions that when I read that Rotties were particularly emotionally sensitive, it made perfect sense to me.
For another example, some recent research shows that just like young humans, young puppies take a while to learn to catch yawns. As the article I read puts it,
Dogs show a developmental trend in susceptibility to contagious yawning. While dogs above seven months of age catch human yawns, younger dogs are immune to yawn contagion.
The brief article discusses how yawning is an example of empathy. (It also has links to other articles on yawning in humans including autistic ones, chimps, bonobos, and more.)
A Charming Video Shows a Range of Emotions on the Dog’s Face
I wondered what the 12-year-old Sharpei was thinking and feeling as I watched this video. I first saw it on Facebook, where a friend had posted it. Her link led to the Huffington Post, and from there I picked up the link on YouTube. Most of the comments I saw were about how cute the toddler is, certainly true. I was more intrigued by the dog, I have to admit.