“Perhaps that is part of the dog's role among us, to awaken humilty, to turn our minds back to the mystery of things,
and open our hearts to that most impractical of hopes in which all creation speaks as one.” —Matthew Scully: Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
Societal Assumptions. Animal scientist and autism rights advocate Dr.Temple Grandin has written a number of acclaimed books, and in her recent Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals avers that pet guardians, chicken farmers, livestock ranchers and zookeepers hold responsibility to provide as much stimulation— and subject to as little stress— as possible for the animals under their care.For each type of animal, she informs how to accomplish this. Grandin carefully draws a connection between the humane treatment of farm animals and the physically and emotionally healthful life that household pets, as sentient beings, deserve.
In the section “What Do Animals Need?” Grandin encourages challenging our assumptions about animal contentment and to honor our bond with other creatures. She writes that animals (for our discussion: dogs) have the same core emotion systems in the brain as humans, and that when they are suffering mentally, they have the same goal as a person: to feel better, “to start having good emotions.”She describes the work of Washington State University neuroscientist Dr. Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience,who identified these core systems as the "Blue-Ribbon Emotions" (each one: always capitalized by him) because they “generate well-organized behavior sequences that can be evoked by localized electrical stimulation of the brain.”
Skylarr & Sailorr: eager for all to join in...
According to Panksepp, this means that when you stimulate (run a weak electrical current through) the brain systems for one of the core emotions, it always provokes the same response (behavior).Thereby, if you stimulate the anger system, the dog will growl and bite; if the fear system is stimulated, the dog will “freeze or run away;” if electrodes prod the social attachment system, the animal will make “separation calls;” and if the seeking system is stimulated the animal sniffs, moves forward, and “explores” its environment.
Grandin posits that these emotions are un-learned, instinctual reactions.She discusses the primary emotions motivating sentient animals in various locations: the wild, the so-called “enriched environments" of zoos, agribusiness (industrial) farms, ranches and homes. The focus of her book is to explain recognition of physical and behavioral signs of both anxiety/stress and satisfaction, so that a better life can be had for any species.She teaches the necessity to learn what animals want and need—on their terms, not ours—and that in the end, “Usually—but not always—the more freedom you give an animal to act naturally, the better, because normal behaviors evolved to satisfy the core emotions."
POSITIVE EMOTIONS: (should be stimulated)
SEEKING -PLAY (to search and investigate) -LUST (sex and sexual desire) -CARE (maternal love & caretaking)
NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: (should be avoided)
(energy to struggle/escape) RAGE (survival is threatened) FEAR (the social attachment system) PANIC
Neo: anticipation emotion
SEEKING: Pankseep describes SEEKING as
“the basic impulse to search, investigate, and makes sense of the environment.” SEEKING is a combination of emotions: •1) desire for good;
•2)anticipation for acquiring or gaining good; and
•3) curiosity.The desire component brings energy to pursue a goal (for example: food, shelter, sex… ); anticipation is expectation dependent on prior experience (as children look forward to Christmas); and curiosity is related to newness or novelty (in the way your dog might enjoy a change in venue from the same “boring” walk
taken every day).
Grandin discusses the first stage of curiosity as the orienting response(example: noticing a strange noise, then pausing to decide what to do). New things stimulate the curiosity part of the SEEKING system (the dog thinks and decides whether to continue SEEKING: to attack; or if fearful, to run away); with curiosity about the part that they do not yet understand or have not experienced before (seeking a clarification).Pankseep defines SEEKING as a pleasurable emotion, and which could be the platform for most of the basic emotional processes, since it is “the system that helps animals anticipate all sorts of rewards.”It can stimulate both positive and negative motivations: to advance or to retreat.
Pepper: the "play" phase of SEEKING
PLAY (part of SEEKING): the brain system (located in the subcortex) that encourages roughhousing that dogs and humans engage in at comparable stages of their development.The PLAY system produces feelings of joyfulness, and although not well understood, is regarded as a sign of welfare: since an animal that is frightened, angry, or depressed does not play.
LUST(part of SEEKING): sex and sexual desire.
CARE(part of SEEKING):maternal love and caretaking.
RAGE: Dr. Pankseep believes RAGE is derived from the experience of being captured and held immobile by a predator (this can be duplicated by stimulating the subcortical brain area), and RAGE gives the animal fierce and volatile energy to struggle and escape (perhaps to startle the predator long enough to loosen its grip temporarily).Grandin observes that this is instinctual, and offers the comparison that if one holds a human baby’s arms, s/he will become furiously angry; commenting that frustration (mental restraint) is a mild form of RAGE.This might be seen in the dog who tries to escape when locked inside an enclosure, apartment, or house (even if that environment would be regarded as "roomy" or otherwise pleasant).
Penny: Dry? At the beach, "there IS no dry!"
FEAR: the system triggered when the dog’s survival is threatened, whether physically, socially, or mentally.Grandin had previously written a paper (1997) which discussed that destruction of the amygdale section of the subcortex (the brain’s “fear center”) ceased the fear response.In the wild, the FEAR system causes animals to build homes that shelter them (in various ways) from predators: otherwise, they would be eaten.
PANIC: Pankseep uses this to describe the social attachment system, and which may have derived from physical pain, likely that of baby animals (like humans) who cry when their mothers leave: the isolated baby whose mother does not return is probable to become depressed, (starve), and die.Stimulating (running a weak electrical current through) the brain section that regulates physical pain causes the dog to make “separation cries.”
Corey: SEEKING is a combination of 1) desire for good; 2) anticipation for acquiring good; and 3) curiosity
Most dog behavior—whether pleasing or intolerable—is driven by these Blue Ribbon Emotions, and although Grandin's work has always focused on animal welfare, in this book she goes beyond physical well-being to inquire what makes an animal happy, examining theories beyond the expected biological, physical and emotional reactions.
Among the issues Grandin examines are those surrounding what have been used to determine an animal's "happiness," and what physical behaviors are utilized to judge their emotions in captivity/confinement (for example, abnormal repetitive behaviors). Dogs, she observes, being “genetic wolves” that evolved (and were domesticated) to live and communicate with humans (evaluating body language and tone of voice: for example, barking is interpreted as a dog's attempt to mimic human language), are hyper-social and have evolved a hypersensitivity to the actions of humans: to the extent that dogs are not only easy to train but can train themselves. She writes that this is because our social reactions are reinforcing to dogs, and a dog becomes happy when his guardian is happy:over time, the dog notices what makes his guardian happy, and learns to behave in ways to evoke that response.
Dogs are notPACK ANIMALS.
Recent studies of wolves(canis lupis), dogs' closest relatives (genetically, dogs are wolves that cease development, that particular stage determining the breed: the breeds that develop the farthest are as expected, the most “wolfish”), indicate they don't actually live in large, alpha-led packs (with a prominent male who fights the others to maintain his dominance), but in nuclear families (the way people do): with a mother, father, and their children.The wolf cubs do not mate with each other—and the parents (the breeding pair) are dominant (controlling) in the way human parents are.Their roles remain constant as they age, and the cubs do not challenge the parents for dominance over the family.
The “alpha” males and females (the parents: those with the highest rank in a dominance hierarchy) share the leadership of their pack and then delegate that leadership to their maturing teenage pups, who are permitted to make decisions about where to hunt, and to move the pack. Ordinarily viewed as subordinate individuals, these young wolves soon undertake long solitary exploratory journeys during which they enjoy unlimited freedom “off-leash,” learning without the influence
of their parents.
As peak physical abilities of wolves begin to decline at about three years of age, it is, in fact, these young wolves who do most of the pack’s hunting, and their parents, (the alpha wolves) wait for them. Just as human children go off to lead their own lives and start their own families, eventually, some of these young wolves disperse and become leaders of their own packs. These young wolves have lower stress hormone levels than do the alpha wolves of their pack, since they lead a relatively roaming, carefree life, not enduring the stress of guarding infant pups and defending the pack’s territory against intruders: “The dog who is continually scolded and told what to do, or worse, never let off-leash, cannot roam about, explore, and make its own decisions.
Grandin disputes the convention that a well-behaved dog requires a human established as leader of the pack, observing that, in essence, advice to dominate your dog in this way is backwards.She describes that research on the social lives of wolves had always been conducted by observing groups of wolves in captivity (unrelated: put together by humans).The solution for the wolves had been a precise form of dominance hierarchy, wherin only one alpha pair is allowed to breed—until it can be dislodged by younger, stronger members.Dogs (genetic wolves) forced to live together in an unnatural environment such as a human domestic household would likewise develop these coping mechanisms. This isn’t necessary in the wild, since unrelated wolves would not be forced to live together.
With this framework, Grandin postures that what the domestic dog(canis lupis familiaris) really needs is not a substitute pack leader but a substitute parent (since dogs are genetically juvenile wolves, who would live with their parents and siblings): to guide, take charge, teach good manners without spoiling… while remembering that a dog is a child who is never going to grow up; (the domestic dog has a 30% smaller developed brain than his wild ancestors).Not being a “pack animal” as we have thought, the dog needs a leader not because he will overtake the household as alpha if his guardian does not assert himself; but becausehe needs his guardian to be leader as parent.An over-arching theme of Grandin’s book is that realizing this, positive (reward-based) training rather than negative (punishment/aversion-based training) with dogs can be seen as a reflection of what makes successful parent-child relationships for humans, as a parent nurtures his child through stages of physical and mental development into adulthood.Much as a parent would train a child to deal with frustration (in a dog, a mild form of RAGE), so does the conscientious dog guardian teach his dog to learn tolerance for a level of emotional (mental) frustration so that it does not turn to anger, and then RAGE.The simplest example is “wait,” which the dog learns to endure (reinforced impulse control/emotional restraint), but which turns to SEEKING/anticipation— and subsequently, perhaps PLAY or CARE).
Shirley: the anxiety of a momentary separation...
and Core Emotions.
Grandin distinguishes that for animals to be happy, their social needs need to be met, which involves stimulating the positive emotion SEEKING (which includes the subset emotions of PLAY, LUST, and CARE); and avoiding the negative emotions: RAGE, FEAR and PANIC.She argues that although dogs can be happy separated from their own species if their guardian is home all day, they are too socially oriented to spend long hours alone. She posits that in a day spent alone—for the intensely social dog whose basic psychological makeup derives happiness from pleasing his guardian—the empty house or yard is comparable to a zoo or prison: ultimately, all three negative emotions—RAGE, FEAR, and PANIC—are triggered. In The Emotional Lives of Animals author Marc Bekoff deliniates the boredom that grows from this solitariness as a primary (akin to "core") negative emotion, and which leads to pain, fear, and anger (strikingly similar concepts to Pankseep's). Ensuring emotional enrichment, he argues, enfolds "tending to the heart." Author Jeffrey Mousseaieff Masson has written with unmatched sensitivity and eloquence about many animal species across a range of animal welfare topics, and put it with appropriate simplicity in Dog’s Never Lie About Love,observing that there is no greater fear for the dog than to be left home alone, observing that the incessant barking of the solitary dog is the clearest demonstration of canine anguish and despair. Desmond Morris, in his 1987 book Dogwatching, seemed to be describing both SEEKING and PANIC emotions: “Dogs are social beings and they are also intensely exploratory. If they are deprived of companions—both canine and human— or if they are kept in a constrained or monotonous environment, they suffer. The worst mental punishment a dog can be given is to be kept alone in a confined space
where nothing varies.”
Zach & Hector: efortless elation
Discussing this loneliness and boredom, Grandin reminds us that dogs arejuvenile wolves, and juvenile wolves remain with their parents until they are at least two years old (that is: genetically, the dog should not be separated from his parents). As such, dog guardians should be mindful that although there are some breeds that cope better (have less PANIC emotion activation), likewise, there are many which are more juvenile (have greater emotion activation[9 ]), necessitating heavier "parental" commitment to cope with the attending solicitude.
To cope with the attachment need (which may manifest as "separation anxiety"), Grandin suggests (as most experts do) that guardians consider two dogs.Failing this, dog "daycare" or the off-leash beach would seem to represent opportunities that stimulate the SEEKING emotion, although she regards this as a "forced pack" environment, the success of which would depend on (for a given dog): genetic tendency toward aggression, a lack of hard-wired submissive manners, and lack of early socialization with other dogs.Grandin discusses that the leashed dog often behaves quite differently (he may remain in a protective mode and more likely to react aggressively) than the off-leash dog (who may be in the PLAY phase of SEEKING); and that certain situations (protect my owner) are mapped in the brain's FEAR area; while others (off-leash equals PLAY) are mapped to the SEEKING area.
Danny: the "orienting" phase of SEEKING
Enjoying Grandin's work, we see a scientific confirmation of what we instinctually knew of the benefit in the off-leash beach; but with profit from the impart of her knowledge and exploration of Dr. Pankseep’s theories, can defend it with more authority.
We remind ourselves that dogs are genetically linked to wolves: sentient beings who as they hunt, are capable of wearing down their prey over long distances, often spending nearly entire days roaming in protracted scavenging and exploratory missions. And as such, can have a clearer vision of what comes naturally for a dog, what is important to offer them, what they might revel in every day from October through March at the beach if we take effort to share that opportunity with them... and what we knew in our hearts could be seen on those days, and in so many of the images on this site.
ENDNOTES:  Sentience is the ability to feel or perceive or experience subjectively, in context of an individual’s perspective or opinion, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires.In Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that require respect and care.The term is used in the study of consciousness to describe the ability to have sensations or experiences, called “qualia” by Western academic philosophers.Animal welfare advocates posture that animals are sentient in that they can feel pleasure and pain (dog guardians such as ourselves take this position), and as such, should be accorded some moral or legal rights. In that philosophy of animal rights therefore, any sentient being is entitled, at a minimum, to the right not to be subjected to unnecessary suffering.
Tristian: irrepressible charm
 Pointing out that, upon dissection of a pig’s brain, it is difficult to identify it as dissimilar to a human brain.
 Affective neuroscience is the study of the neural mechanisms of emotion: this interdisciplinary field combines neuroscience (scientific study of the nervous system, enfolding function, structure genetics, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and evolutionary history) with the psychologically-oriented study of personality, emotion, and mood.
 Grandin notes that Pankseep describes neurotransmission related to SEEKING in Affective Consciousness: Core Emotional Feelings in Animals and Humans (2005).Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that operates the SEEKING system, and the brain circuits that contain it are most responsive to anticipation of reward: dopamine levels rise when a positive stimuli or unexpected reward is obtained.
 In the chapter “A Dog’s Life” (p. 53) Grandin discusses the difference between “classic” fear aggression and dominance aggression.In fear aggression, the dog is afraid and wants to get away; only if trapped, will he then bite.However, dominance aggression has its roots in anxiety: the dominant aggressive dog is anxious about his control over resources (examples are: food, toys, or his guardian) or behavior (desiredfreedoms), and does not run away because doing so will not solve his problem.In essence, it should be regarded as anxiety aggression (citing: Dr. Karen Overall, Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals). See also: Carol Lee Benjamin, Dog Problems.
River, Bear, Teddy, & Mickey: ... rush hour at Jennings Beach
 Abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARB), referred to as “sterotypies,” include pacing, oral fixations, repetitive rocking, etc., (such as displayed by elephants chained backstage at a circus, swaying back and forth): demonstrating extreme mental anguish.Animals subjected to lifelong sentences in under-stimulating, unnatural, isolated, or abusive environments (such as circuses, zoos, or laboratories) develop these behaviors (partially) as a coping mechanism; with the attending boredom, frustration, and fear often manifesting in adverse physical health (even self mutilation), and often leading to parallel decline in mental heath, where animals may lose their sanity. In the environment of a municipal shelter, dogs that are deprived of any means to express natural behaviors, and who cannot cope with the lack of exercise, stress and fear of confinement, may develop these sterotypies or become fear-aggressive (often labeled "kennel crazy"), and as a result need to be transferred to “rescue” organizations—but are more commonly euthanized.
[7, 8] Masson: “The Great Dog Fear: Loneliness and Abandonment,” pg. 84-91; Desmond Morris: Dogwatching, (1987); pg. 89.
 Grandin discusses the King Charles Spaniel as an example, which stops developing dominance and submission behaviors at a “wolf age” of just 20 days: too young for a wolf to spend time alone.
Rudy: flight test
 DNA sequencing and genetic drift studies confirm that the gray wolf shares a common ancestry with the domestic dog.Wolves are apex predators (alpha predators, with no predators of their own), being the largest members of the Canidae family of carnivorous mammals (includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and the domestic dog). The Canidae family is divided into the "wolf-like" and "dog-like" animals of the tribe Canini and the "foxes" of the tribe Vulpini. Excepting the Bush Dog and the Racoon Dog, canids have relatively long legs and lithe bodies, adapted for chasing prey. All canids are digitigrade (walk on their toes), have non-retractile claws, and a dewclaw on their front feet.
 Grandin also discusses the interesting connection between facial features and dog behavior researched by Dr. Deborah Goodwin, who postures that the more “wolfy” a breed looks, the more grown wolf behaviors it has.Focusing on the 15 most important aggressive and submissive behaviors wolves use to communicate with each other during a conflict, Goodwin observed 10 dog breeds and charted these expressed behaviors.Aggressive behaviors included growling, teeth baring, "standing over" (one dog puts its head over the other dog's body), and "standing erect" (standing as tall as it can, with its back arched and its hackles up); submissive behaviors identified muzzle licking, eye aversion (the submissive dog slowly turns its head away), crouching, and the passive submit, where the dog lies on its back and exposes it s ano-genital area.
Jazmine: the little boss... the little wolf?
Dr. Goodwin found that the siberian huskies, which of the 10 breeds look the most like wolves, had all 15 behaviors, whereas Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which look nothing like wolves, had only 2. The correlation between looking like a wolf and acting like a wolf was strong across all 10 breeds she studied, with the German Shepherd and Shetland sheepdog likely exceptions that prove the rule because their facial features were deliberately bred into them starting with the sheepherding stock (the German Shepherd was intentionally bred to look as much like a wolf as possible). Dr. Goodwin theorized that once a breed has lost a behavior one can't bring a behavior back simply by changing its appearance (so although looks and behavior go together genetically, they can also be separated genetically).Even with her exceptions, the overall order supported her hypothesis:
 Cavalier King Charles spaniel: (2 wolf behaviors out of 15);  Norfolk terrier: 3 of 15; French bulldog: 4 of 15;  Shetland sheepdog: 5 of 15; Cocker spaniel: 6 of 15;  Munsterlander: 7 of 15; Labrador retriever: 9 of 15;  German shepherd: 11 of 15; Golden retriever: 12 of 15; Siberian husky: 15 of 15.
 Dr. Michael M. Fox, in Between Animal and Man (1986) writes that "acceptance, forgiveness, loyalty, truthfullness and openness, devotion, and unquestioning, unconditional love are traits found in a family of wolves, the dog's pure cousin, uncontaminated by human interference."
 Historically, domestication of the dog occured in southwest Asia as early as 10,000BC; (Hellmut Epstein, The Origins of the Domestic Animals of Africa, 1971). It is estimated that dogs were domesticated, roughly 15,000 years ago, and that this would have coincided with the development of agriculture and the attending expansion in human territory (a shift in human lifestyle in the form of established human settlements). Permanent settlements would have coincided with a greater amount of disposable food (the food source of early domesticated dogs) and would have created a barrier between wild and anthropogenic (created by humans) canine populations (Adam Miklósi,Dog behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition,2007).
 See also: Stanley Coren, (Animal Noise or Animal Speech?) in: How to Speak Dog, (2000); pgs. 45-81.
Zack: Our discussion here focused partially on wolves-- himself oft mistaken as such... ("sighted" at Penfield Beach)
“Dogs are without the ambivalence with which humans seem cursed.It is as if once a dog loves you, he loves you always, no matter what you do, no matter what happens, no matter how much time goes by. Dogs have a prodigious memory for people they have known.Perhaps this is because they associate people with the love they felt for them, and they derive pleasure from remembering this love.” —Jeffrey Moussaieff Mason: Dogs Never Lie About Love (Recognizing the Emotions of Dogs)
You can brighten the long, lonely day of a needy dog:consider volunteering at a shelter. Your used but servicable linens, towels, bathmats, or cushions can provide comfort while he waits. Need help affording veterinary care? click HERE • Find low-cost spay neuter services: click HERE
Food & Safety Recalls/FDA Advisories for Dog Foods: click HERE
To think about: American taxpayers spend more than $1 billion annually to fund municipal animal shelters.
In those facilities, 14,000 animals are killed each day, often brutally: even in archaic gas chambers...
many within merely hours of their arrival: why are they called shelters?