1 : a branch of knowledge dealing with human character and with its formation and evolutionCsanyi says that the natural environment of the domestic dog is the human household, because dogs are quite different from other animals in that they have been bred to need to live with humans. He says (page 54):
2 : the scientific and objective study of animal behavior especially under natural conditions
With well-designed experiments we can even show that puppies are attracted more powerfully to humans than to their own species. Puppies long for humans even if they experience pain or other unpleasantness in their presence; in other words, they are unable to learn that in such experimental situations they should avoid humans.To me this seems to be powerful stuff. It suggests that we have a great responsibility to those dogs who live with us. (By the way, I shudder to think of the experiments that proved those puppies would endure pain to be with humans. He gives footnotes to refer to these.)
There is a time in a puppy's life, between four and twelve weeks, when it learns to recognise which animals belong to its own species and begins the process of personal bonding. At this stage, the puppy that sees or touches humans, even for just a few minutes, will accept them as members of its own species.
He argues that puppies that get to know several humans during these few weeks, called 'the period of socialization', will be able subsequently to bond with anyone - in effect, if they are separated from their first master, they can bond with a new human.
I guess this answers a question that has bothered me about how rescue dogs generally manage to settle in so happily with a new family (unless bad experiences in their previous life have damaged them, of course).
He says that dogs that bond with their human families experience great stress if they are separated. He criticises people who abandon dogs. He says:
Anyone who rids himself of his erstwhile pet in such a fashion deludes himself by thinking that it is only an animal. Such a person does not realize that dogs are as capable of suffering as humans and are the exception among animals in that they experience rejection similarly to humans and human children."When I first brought Penny home I read other authors' books about dogs and I was influenced by one who said that it is an act of enslavement to keep dogs as pets. Occasionally I feel a sense of guilt that Penny had no choice but to be taken from her litter and brought to live with us. However, Csanyi's writing rings true to me, reflecting the centuries of stories of the love between humans and dogs. It makes me relax about the fact that I get comfort from her companionship - because it is likely that the pleasure is reciprocal.