The number one advantage that we possess is that our territory is one hundred percent our own. The land that we live on is located where other people do not daily tread. Visitors have to be invited. We protect the pack from the outside world. Predators exist outside of our boundaries. Primal animal beings exist without the sight or touch of humans directly outside of our territorial boundaries. Occasionally some may tread within our livable space – unbeknownst to us – but our assumption is that they keep to their territory and us to our own. As those in charge of the upkeep and safety of our territory - we humans are required to create a sense of security and comfort to the animals in our control. Without us – our territory is not secure. Where we are – out in the country where we humans accept the presence of animals that could potentially be extremely harmful to ourselves and our animals – the added threat of human intruders is more minimal. However, to a dog – everything is relative and too many dogs have seen the ugly side of a human hand and heart and are more willing to believe that the human is the bigger threat. After all – they have teeth and jaws and claws – so the animal predators at the gates are a more fair fight to them than the erect being looking them in the eye with their ill will that they know too well. It is true that for many of the dogs in rescue that come from abusive situations are much more in need of our promise to them that no human will ever harm them again. As their leaders – it is our number one job to show them a world that works without human ill intentions for their being.Take it from their perspective – a life of trauma in the confinement of a territory controlled by some human. The human in their lives controlled every aspect of their being – caged them, isolated them, neglected them, starved them, beat them, tortured them and one day left them to die somewhere for someone else to deal with. We enter – as humans – the same ugly species that performed this torture on them and ask them to follow us. Our surprise should not be in their ability to see us as in control. They have had that reinforced from day one. Control they understand – containment, isolation, disregard, anger, frustration, depression and pain. These things thay have a handle on and are either ready to die or ready to fight their way free to a life without their human captors. Many former victims will follow – but only with their instinct to survive – because they have to. These dogs have no pack. These dogs have lost or never had their ability to seek out pack by instinct to live – as a dog wants to live – to run and play and work and roll and drool and eat and share affection and jump and lick and travel and explore. They do not credit us for these natural desires. Humans are those who repress nature.In order to show these dogs that we are indeed the ones who can provide them with everything that they – as dog – desire – we have to prove it to them everyday. Here – in our territory – with both natural primal threat and prey around and with a pack of dogs following us with willing obedience – dogs can see immediately and without question that this is pack, this is balance, this is nature. The number one advantage that we have here is that we can do this without interruption of added outside human instability – no matter what the form – consistently. So, if we never fail their impression of us – they are being given the best chance at making their new decisions based on their newfound perception of us. Only with a fresh model for all life can they begin to create a new self.With this in mind then – consider any human frailty that we have – our insecurities – our instabilities. We are afraid. We are angry. We are frustrated. We are sad. We are excited. We are anxious. We are nervous. We are so many emotions and all at once sometimes. We have lives full of drama and chaos. Some of us like it and appreciate it and embrace it. Some of us loathe it and fight against it and beat ourselves up over it. No matter what the case – our human nature fails a canine’s nature constantly. It is often the canine in our lives that can ground us and teach us to appreciate what is most important in life. Our dogs come to comfort us when we are down and try to show us love when we need it most. Our dogs come to play with us when they know that we need a release and our energy is pent up and toxic. Our dog lays with us and sleeps when we are not well to show us that we need to take care of ourselves today if we want to be able to play tomorrow. They always know what is best – in nature. It is our ability to feel that and become better for our dogs that will define us for them.For an abused or neglected dog – we need to replace what they have lost first before we can ask them to teach us their wisdom. Their wisdom comes from their connection to nature and humans have kept that from them. It is almost as if a human can actually transform a dog into an inanimate possession by treating them like one. By keeping them from being able to be dog – their abusers have taken their nature from them. We cannot ask them to deal with our human frailties as a dog can when they are connected to nature. An abused dog needs us to be a model of dog for them to refresh their instincts. When we show them pack – we show them the balance that nature intended. When a dog recovers its true nature – then we can begin to see them as dog. Until they have achieved this though – we have to see them as an amalgam of whatever was created by the human who misused them. A dog without its nature is an empty vessel to be filled with the energy around them. They are impressionable creatures and when shown enough torture and malice – the outcome is extreme and unnatural. What we get from abused and neglected dogs – their behaviors – are a direct reflection of the life that they have lived. We are getting a glimpse of what their life was like and it is terrifying and depressing and frustrating and exhaustingly combative. What can we be in the face of all of it – but strong and calm and determined and accepting. We have to be the one who shows them what they need to do to be a happier being – what they need to achieve in order to be pack – what it is to be a balanced dog. We cannot let them believe that the instability that they have inside them is all there is in life. We have to show them something outside of that and convince them that it is worth letting go of their past and trusting a human again to reach it.Here we start with fresh country air, wide open green spaces and energy – our calm and confident energy and that of our pack. For – in nature – this would be enough for them. Their instinct will understand just that and begin to revive itself. It is all the rest of the human world that will be the challenge. Our territory is the first step to becoming a dog again.
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