Taking a look at animal behavior and how we mistake it for something else.....
Yeah, that's a pretty long title. What can I say? Sometimes I am not as witty as I like to think I am. In fact, there are plenty of times when I blankly stare at this screen asking me for a "catchy title" without an iota of a clue. I know what I want to write about, but don't necessarily have a title for it. If I was to analyze myself, I would probably tell myself that there is a lesson in here somewhere. That labels and titles may be a trigger for me or maybe I am suppressing something. All of this can possibly be true. But that is not what this blog post is about. So I will leave the self-therapy for another and more private time. You're welcome. =)
I was reading a post whose entire premise was that animals are gay. All animals. Leave it to humans to generalize and then make a blanket statement like that. I am not saying animals cannot be gay, but it is doubtful that ALL animals are gay. The person came to this conclusion because she witnessed dogs humping without discretion for gender. Sigh.
Animal's humping is not always sexual. Many times it is a show of dominance over another animal. Sometimes, it is a form of play, similar to kids playing dress-up or "pretend". It is only humans that sexualize everything and then slap a label on everything. It's no wonder why animals often tell me that humans complicate things.
This got me thinking of other mislabelled animal behavior, like moping around. Are they depressed? Bored? Restless? Maybe! Before putting your companion on anti-depressants, try engaging with them more. Animals are not toys, to be picked up and left alone at our whim. They are living beings. They need stimulation and activity, and they also need quiet time. Just because you are in the mood to play does not guarantee they will be. If you attempt to play and they just look at you like "sigh, not now", it probably means they are not in the mood at that moment. Study your companion to learn their expressions and behaviors. You will soon figure out that half of what you assumed was incorrect.
What about anger. Some dogs are very territorial and bark when someone is at the door. They really do consider it their job to protect the house. Sometimes, humans even encourage their companions to be "watchdogs". When your companion responds in this way to your grandmother bringing a pie, don't get mad at the dog. They are consistent. They are doing what they have been asked to do; they are doing their job. Instead, take the time to train them to listen to your words. Praise them for doing their job followed by a command that indicates that you are handling the situation and they can relax. They aren't angry. They are simply working.
I think what happens is that Humans tend to think the world revolves around them. We also assume behaviors = what we are doing or thinking. If we would get angry, then, of course, the animal will too! Not necessarily. Animals have a very different perception of the world than we do. In many respects, animals keep it simple. They abide by the laws of nature, not religion, politics, or business. Our minds are clouded with all those things and then we put that on to what we see the animals doing.
What other behaviors can you think of that humans misinterpret? Leave a comment and I will think about it and ask some of my furry friends for their input.