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December 20, 2023

“Woke” vs. “Toxic Masculinity” Dog Training.

Social Media’s Woke vs. Anti-Woke Dog Training arguments…could look to the Buddha.

Most of this conflict between “woke” and “anti-woke” dog training has very little to do with dogs.

It’s all about us.

As evidenced by humankind’s multibillion dollar obsession with dogs, while failing to care about most other animals, we don’t actually care for animals separate from our own interests.

It’s all about us, and what dogs can do for us. And that’s why dogs often get ignored, then called crazy, then drugged. And when we pamper and dress them up, it’s about fulfilling our fantasies of child-rearing or cuteness, not their wishes.

And, much of this has to do with social media’s design on humans to build up tribalistic conflict around ego identifiers.

Perhaps we ought to look to a pre-Instagram/Tiktok “influencer”—the Buddha, who gave some great dog training advice: “not too tight, not too loose.” Perhaps it’s not about dominance, but a Middle Way: leadership, consistent direction, and guidance does have its place.

Perhaps, as Cesar Millan reminds us, we ought to treat dogs as dogs (with love, care, and consistency) not as our would-be babies to be alternately pampered (dressed up, say) and ignored (drugged instead of adequately exercised or given active social lives). We’d do well to remember that it’s us who need training in order to lead them.

People often marvel at my year-old puppy: “he’s so calm,” they say. That’s not how dogs work. Sometimes he’s wild, full of energy! But often he’s peaceful, and tired, after a good long play or exercise. Dogs aren’t “calm,” always, or “good,” or “bad”—our training is. If we’re not giving them consistent exercise, social interactions, leadership, boundaries, and lots of love—we are rearing crazymaking dogs that, as the author says, reflect our own (lack of) training.

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