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I’m a Citizen of the World

I’m a Citizen of the World (ChildDogCatwide)

I’m a citizen of the World,” I say when asked where I come from—and I am, in mind and heart.

Diogenes, in about 412 BC, was probably the first to use the expression and express the very same sentiment. Socrates (469-399 BC) concurred: “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” Kaniyan Poongundran, the Tamil poet, wrote (at least 2000 years ago), “To us all towns are one, all men our kin.” Thomas Paine (English-American philosopher, 1737 – 1809), said, “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955) thought of himself as a world citizen, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

I’m a citizen of the world. I’ve traveled over most of our beautiful planet, seen mountains above the clouds with perennial snow tops, and oceans reaching far beyond the eye can see. I’ve lived in temperatures from 40º C below zero to 40º C above. I’ve eaten all kinds of food prepared by humans and spent many a day and night enjoying the company of people with the most exceptional cultures and habits.

What’s my favorite place? I don’t have one. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve discovered new pieces in the amazing puzzle of life. Everywhere I’ve been, from the most glamorous cities to the poorest war-torn areas, I’ve met kind and gentle people. I’ve shared water with the Maasai in the African desert and rice with the Chhetris in the Nepalese mountains. With all of them, I felt a strong kinship: no country, no culture, no language, no divide—we were family, we were humans, we were sentient living beings. Yes, I’m a citizen of the world.

Life is great!

Featured image: Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve discovered new pieces in the amazing puzzle of life.

Can My Dog Be Happy or Sad?

Sad-Dog-on-Hardwood-Floor

If you ask me “Can my dog be happy or sad?” I will ask you back “Can you?” and if you answer, “Yes, of course,” then I’ll say, “In that case, probably so can your dog, albeit differently from you—a difference of degree, not of kind.”

Anthropomorphism means to attribute human characteristics to (other) animals.  The argument for anthropomorphism is valid enough: if I can’t prove (verify) something, I’d better disregard it (at least scientifically)—and I can’t prove that my dog is happy, sad, or loves me.

Yet, it seems to me, that the opposite (of anthropomorphism) is as wrong. It is true that we can’t prove whether an animal can be happy or sad, but we can’t prove either that it can’t. As Carl Sagan wrote, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” We know nothing about one or the other. All we can see is behavior and the rest is guesswork.

If it is a sin to attribute human characteristics to other animals, it must also be a sin to say that because we do, they don’t, because we can, they can’t.

Bottom-line: Don’t assume that others feel the same as you do, not your fellow humans, not other animals. Don’t assume either that they don’t, because they might.

Life is a puzzle, enjoy it!

Featured image: If it is a sin to attribute human characteristics to other animals, it must also be a sin to say that because we do, they don’t, because we can, they can’t.

Learn more in our course Ethology and Behaviorism. Based on Roger Abrantes’ book “Animal Training My Way—The Merging of Ethology and Behaviorism,” this online course explains and teaches you how to create a stable and balanced relationship with any animal. It analyses the way we interact with our animals, combines the best of ethology and behaviorism and comes up with an innovative, yet simple and efficient approach to animal training. A state-of-the-art online course in four lessons including videos, a beautiful flip-pages book, and quizzes.

ATMWCourse

The Biggest Difference Between Humans and Dogs

The Biggest Difference Between Humans and Dogs (RationalEmotionalBehavior2)

The biggest difference between humans and dogs is not that we reason, and they don’t. If you want to observe rational behavior, look at the dog. If you want to see an emotional response, watch the owner.

Some animals, other than humans, do reason. They have well-developed brains and are goal-seeking. They acquire, store, retrieve, and process information. Additionally, research shows that other animals than humans understand rules. In other words, they understand that a series of events must happen in a particular sequence to produce a specific effect.

Animals of many species are capable of solving a broad range of problems involving abstract reasoning. The problem is that most of our research projects into animal cognition either adopt a behaviorist approach—its conditioning methods nearly turning other species than ours into automatons—or focus on particular human characteristics like speaking and counting.

The standard depiction of the ladder of nature, on which the various species occupy successively higher levels, places humans at the top. However, species have distinct kinds of cognitive processes depending on how they have adapted to their different ecological niches.

That brings us back to Darwin—the difference between humans and other animals is “[…] one of degree and not of kind.” (1871 in “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.”)

Featured image: The biggest difference between them and us is not that we reason, and they don’t (by D. Myers).

Learn more in our course Ethology. Ethology studies the behavior of animals in their natural environment. Therefore, it is fundamental knowledge for the dedicated student of animal behavior as well as for any competent animal trainer. Roger Abrantes wrote the textbook included in the online course as a beautiful flip page book. Learn ethology from a leading ethologist.

EthologyCourse

We All Say We Love Dogs but Do We?


Roger Abrantes
Articles and Blogs, Free
Dogs, Love
We all say we love dogs but do we? (Dogs_Love)

We all say we love dogs and yet we spend most of the time changing them.

We change their appearance and their natural behavior, domesticate, civilize and humanize them. We neuter and sterilize them, crop their ears and dock their tails. We have a prosperous industry and commerce of accessories and gizmos to turn our dogs into something they are not.

How is that compatible with any definition of love? Have you ever thought about that?

Learn more in our course Ethology and Behaviorism. Based on Roger Abrantes’ book “Animal Training My Way—The Merging of Ethology and Behaviorism,” this online course explains and teaches you how to create a stable and balanced relationship with any animal. It analyses the way we interact with our animals, combines the best of ethology and behaviorism and comes up with an innovative, yet simple and efficient approach to animal training. A state-of-the-art online course in four lessons including videos, a beautiful flip-pages book, and quizzes.

ATMWCourse

Dogs Are Better Trainers Than We Are

Dogs Are Better Trainers Than We Are (RunningAfterDog)

Dogs are better trainers than we are. They don’t know anything about learning theory but get along perfectly well with whom they want. Dogs don’t get too upset with a growl, overconfident with a yes, and depressed with a no. They force us to get early up and go late to bed so they can go sniffing other dogs’ urine. We pay them expensive food and medical care. And we do all that just because they sit and stand and look silly at us when we ask them so.

I remember, when I was a young student, listening to Professor Lorenz telling us that dogs were better ethologists than we were because they paid more attention to our body language than we did ourselves. That stuck… and still does.

Featured image: Dogs are better trainers than we are (by A. Jones).

Learn more in our course Ethology and Behaviorism. Based on Roger Abrantes’ book “Animal Training My Way—The Merging of Ethology and Behaviorism,” this online course explains and teaches you how to create a stable and balanced relationship with any animal. It analyses the way we interact with our animals, combines the best of ethology and behaviorism and comes up with an innovative, yet simple and efficient approach to animal training. A state-of-the-art online course in four lessons including videos, a beautiful flip-pages book, and quizzes.

ATMWCourse