The other day I saw an episode of The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan. He’s the best I’ve seen when it comes to understanding a dog’s emotions, actions and thought processes. This time I began wondering how life could be different for us if we were more like dogs.
Somebody brought him a “hopeless” case of a country dog who had moved to the city, and was scared to death every time he had to go outside for a walk. He would cower, he would run, and he would twist and strain at his leash — especially when confronted by a baby in a stroller.
Cesar will be the first to tell you that dogs NEED their walks, so stopping them altogether wasn’t an option.
Instead, Cesar did something really unique…
He noticed that the dog kept his tail between his legs a lot (like ALL the time he was outside). That’s the mark of a frightened dog.
We all get frightened too, but it’s not always so easy to tell with people. We can often hide our fears if we want to.
Now, I’m assuming you’ve seen people holding up their dogs’ tails as they pose them at dog shows.
For example, in the photo above is a dog that’s just been chosen Best in Show, with her tail held high and proud by her owner; below is a Kennel Club photo of a Best in Show from 1963, proving that it’s a long-standing tradition.
But honestly, I just thought it was for show.
And to make that dog overcome his fears of being walked, Cesar walked him with his tail tied to the leash, and being held straight up in the air.
Of course, this makes sense — we know that a dog with a tail between his legs is frightened, and a dog with an erect tail is not — but this is the first time I realized that it’s a question of chickens and eggs.
Does the dog put his tail between his legs because he’s scared… or is he scared because his tail is between his legs? Or both?
Now, what if we had tails? How different would our lives be?
Gotta give a speech? No problem, just loop your tail upwards through your belt so you won’t get nervous!
Meeting your in-laws for the first time? Have your spouse walk behind you, holding your tail high like it’s a glamorous wedding dress train!
No more mental exercises, no more visualization — it would be a 100% outer-world approach to an inner-world issue.
If only things were so easy. I guess it really is a dog’s life!
Best in Show at the Puppy and Veteran Show, Montricher CH © Lomyx
Best in Show at the Puppy and Veteran Show, Montricher CH © The Kennel Club
Originally posted at HeatherVale.com on December 14, 2009