Understanding The Analogy We Are Presenting About Dogs
A dog’s brain is like a computer. Training is like programming that computer for being operable under the circumstances in which you need it to perform. Some computers, when you bring them home, have the software already installed. Some computers require you to install all new or additional software to enhance your computer’s performance and operability as you need it. When you bring home a dog, you can enjoy the training it may have already received from its past, or you may need to provide new or additional training for that dog so that it can blend into your lifestyle.
Computers also come with hardware. The hardware is what makes the computer turn on, what powers it, what allows it to process, and how efficient it is at “thinking”. While installing software is one aspect of modifying or controlling your experience with your computer (or your dog), hardware is another factor that needs to be considered. The hardware on a dog is their genetics. The software allows us to manage or operate the hardware, and the hardware allows us to perform at different speeds, rates, and qualities. The only caveat? Your dog isn’t actually a modular computer.
You cannot simply “replace the hardware” if it’s not as fast, or as efficient as the newest or highest-performing model. You must work within the parameters of your hardware. You can, however, manage the hardware by using appropriate software. In dogs this lets us “troubleshoot” their hardware (genetics), allowing us to have a way to work with or around flaws that may be intrinsic to that individual. In training, this is by making sure we address instinctual or genetic behaviors and drives to our advantage by using training methods that are in line with what motivates that individual dog to learn as quickly and efficiently as possible. Or, if necessary, by using training like a “patch”, a way to bypass or correct those instinctual behaviors by giving them an alternative directive in order to manage or correct behavior.
That being said, it really can make you think about the concept of nature vs nurture. The phrase “it’s all in how you raise them” now becomes a misleading statement. It’s not exclusively all in the nurture, or “how you raise them,” but rather in how you use software carefully and efficiently with the hardware, you are given in order to create a system that works best for your needs. This also means that you cannot simply combine any software with your current hardware. Your software must be compatible with the way your system’s hardware functions, or you’ll likely end up with computers that have lots of errors or even break down.
Understanding Your Dog’s Brain and Body
In other words, you have to train your dog with the understanding of the individual brain and body it has been given. Understand its limitations, and its possibilities, and by using training that is compatible with how it learns and performs. For example, some dogs are built to chase small critters, and some are built purely to keep your lap warm. Those two brains are wired completely differently because those dogs were designed to perform very different functions over decades of careful breeding (or hardware development). You wouldn’t expect a low-budget work laptop to function at the same performance rate as a high-end luxury gaming computer. They simply are not built the same way (hardware), and they’re definitely not using the same software. However, they are both computers, so we can expect that given appropriate software for the hardware they’re working with, each individual computer has the capacity to perform as required, both efficiently, and smoothly.
Now the question is, “Do you know how to install the software for your version of hardware?” If you are unsure, reach out to one of the team members at Wholistic Canine so we can help you get the best version for your system. We can install hard cuddles or freedom to chase critters and even teach virus detection or monthly maintenance checks.
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