(Versión en castellano)

The Smartest Animal

Dog that barks doesn't bite.  Is this why wolves don't?

Why do dogs bark?  Among other annoying similarities, it's well known that man and dog have in common their territorial instinct; when the former seized his first piece of land, it seemed convenient to him to use the one he cynically nicknamed “best friend” as a cheap alarm.

The problem with this millenary custom is that it makes little sense in modern world, besides it means a inconvenience.  I live in a small urbanization in the mountains consisting of adjoining houses with small plots, each one with three or more dogs that are left outdoors day and night, from where they can see, hear and smell everything half mile around…, you don't have to be smart to guess the result.  In vain I tried to reason with my neighbors, their answers where all of the kind “Hey, dogs bark” or “They're doing their job.”

Even though I'm no expert, I know that, like men, dogs instinctively organize themselves in groups.  At the time when I was a child (late sixties), you could still find herds of wild dogs in the provinces of Argentina, even in the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires.  Some, if not most, were abandoned pets, sign that at least at that time (and context) instinct was merely asleep, not dead as it seems to be today.  In our “urbanized” world this natural order is broken, both for animals and for men.  A hundred children screaming and running randomly in a schoolyard, a hundred pigs stacked in a shed eating soy food, thousands of young people crowded together in a football stadium worshiping a rock star as a living totem; the order we have got used to is efficient only from money point of view, the economy as it stands today.  We aren't still smarter than nature, we'll never be.

Let's go back to the “pet alarm” topic.  It makes sense in an isolated house in the countryside, a privilege that's not affordable for most people today, but overcrowded, as we all live today, means adding more noise and stress to the large amount that we already have to suffer every day.  Dogs don't understand their territory ends in their owner's fence.  Dogs aren't able to analyze and modify their own habits according to context and need, they ignore what a vicious circle is, men however…, oops, it seems we found another annoying similarity!



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