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The Dog Problem: How Humans Ruined an Animal

The Dog Problem: How Humans Ruined an Animal

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The Dog Problem: How Humans Ruined an Animal

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Lançado em:
Mar 13, 2018


The ubiquitous presence, sights and sounds of the dog in your home, on a lawn in the neighborhood, in the media, feature and news stories, in advertising all beg for a critical look at the phenomenon and problem. The problem has been centuries in the making creating in our society an entrenched dog culture. This book involves many sides of the subject including the dog culture, dog industry, service dogs, legal aspects of ownership, Biblical references, fear of dogs and what can be done about it.
Lançado em:
Mar 13, 2018

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The Dog Problem - Richard Jergens


Copyright © 2018 Richard Jergens.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

This book is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and in some cases, names of people and places have been altered to protect their privacy.

Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8005-3 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8004-6 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

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and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

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Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 02/19/2018

Where there is animal worship, there is human sacrifice

(various authors)


Derivation of the word dog is described as one of the great mysteries of English etymology. It is possibly from the German word hund or hunde. These two words are found especially in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The word hund could mean canine or carnivore and is the likely source of the English word hound. However, hund could also informally mean swine or bastard. My brief research on where the word comes from suggests no clear consensus. But I remember when I was a kid someone pointing out that dog is god spelled backward. I am not going in that direction save to say that society should be careful in what it makes into a god - worshipping a golden calf or equivalent as it were.

The title of this little book suggests a negative view of the dog. Anything but. The dictionary defines the dog as a domesticated carnivore. The key word is domesticated. Millennia ago and even now in pockets around the globe animals (dogs) exist that were and are just another part of nature. We call them wild. But that is our term for what is really just natural. However, over the millennia humans, doing what humans have often done to the natural world, have changed the dog and that has created multiple problems. One such problem is that this domesticated carnivore is now a creature that has been reduced to an unnatural state lower than what it is by creation. Or if one prefers, it is a creature lower than what it was and should be: a natural, wild animal. In order to be called an animal, the creature (be it a mouse or an elephant) must accomplish three things: procure its own food; reproduce on its own; act like what a creature of its kind would do under natural circumstances, i.e., in the wild (for instance, wild dogs urinate or spray to mark territory). What is called a dog today does not do any of these.

I will attempt to show that the causes of this primary problem of changing the dog and the many resultant problems are the countless generations of dog owners and, in recent times, all aspects of the commercialization of the dog that I lump into the term dog industry. So, when I say that there is a dog problem in this country, it is not really the dog that is the problem. Instead the current state is due to dog owners and the multi-faceted dog business. This is a societal predicament thousands of years in the making and reaching a peak in the last century. Humans have altered the dog; the dog did not change by itself.

The book is not a comprehensive history of dogs, dog owners and the dog industry. The purpose is to break through into subject matter about which little information is readily available and to represent the views of the majority of the population who are non-dog owners who would, for a variety of reasons, like to put a dent into the dog culture. Ubiquitous in the media is commercial promotion encouraging people, especially children, to have dogs, train dogs, save dogs, adopt them, protect the rights of dogs, psychoanalyze them, on and on and in general promote the prevalent dog culture. The force behind this exploitation of dogs is business power, money and the need of the dog industry to continue to make money by controlling in the media the perception that dogs are in some way an important part of American society. Today the dog industry is on cruise control, and that is unfortunate because what is not heard is the voice of the majority of the population who are not dog owners who actually have rights under the Constitution as well as numerous rights under federal, state, county and municipal laws, statutes and ordinances. A separate chapter covers that subject. And this same silent majority knows that dogs are not an important part of our society and that there are better solutions to the dog/human problem than commercial exploitation.

Besides the many legal implications of owning a dog, other chapters present a brief history of the dog; the prevalent dog culture in this country; service dogs; Biblical references to dogs; fear of dogs; and what one can do about helping to bring some sanity to dogdom and the dog problem as I will spell it out. Through this I exhort the reader to remember that humans have changed the dog, created a kind of societal monster; therefore, what I call the dog problem is actually a human problem.


Possibly ten thousand or more years ago what we call a dog now, likely began as a wolf; one evidence of this is the similarity in dentition of both animals. Fox and jackal are of the same family also. However, for this book the exact origin of what is commonly known as a dog is not important. What is significant is that the dog is by nature a wild creature. There are still numbers of wild, that is to say, natural dogs around the globe that have not been artificially changed by humans: in Africa, Asia, Australia and even in the United States. Thus, my primary interest is the change in the dog that has been caused by humans and the results and ramifications of this change and resultant problems in contemporary society. The axiom of this book, indisputable, I think, is that humans are the cause of changing a natural creature, into something else: how did the original animal become what we see today: a four legged whatever it is, if not what I call a societal monster, something less than a natural animal. I will explain why the contemporary dog cannot rightfully even be called an animal.

In the distant past a hungry wolf or wolf-like animal approached a cold campsite and found scraps of food. Other animals likely came to the campsite too - big animals that could kill and eat humans; those were chased away or killed, with the dead animal not wasted, likely eaten. It is only speculation but the first wolf, that lone wolf was not chased away, as it was a relatively small creature, and because of hunger and an unnaturally submissive nature brought on by starvation, ate anything it could, the smallest scraps of garbage. In this state it was harmless to humans. Over time, it’s hunger caused instincts to lessen and it approached the campsite even when humans were present. This was the key moment. Natural animal instincts can be overcome; hunger is the driving force behind this loss of caution. And gradually, even when not hungry, and since being fed is easier than feeding itself, the animal stayed. And what was not eaten by humans eventually became wolf food. Dependency began.

However, what the wolf did not sense instinctively is that the humans were not acting out of goodness or indifference; there·is a basic human need at work. The idea occurred to early man that they could use the dog; in tough times, they could eat it. This could have been the original reason for letting the dog stay. There were no supermarkets; to survive you ate what you had. Even today the estimated statistic is that one-seventh of the world’s people have or would eat dogs given the opportunity. For those who think this is strange, consider that most of the world does not eat the way we do in the States. The United States makes up about one-twentieth of the earth’s population. We eat beef, poultry, fish, fast foods incorporating these. Regarding beef, most of the world does not have ready access to it. In fact, a billion vegetarians in India do not eat it at all. The cow is sacred. I have been there and heard opinions of our diet: people there think that if we are not sacrilegious we are, at a minimum, perverse in our eating of beef. Most of the world, however, does eat meat. But the animals eaten are not eaten here, however, and the aversion people have to eating dogs and cats is at first glance understandable with the prevailing pet culture here, but in the bigger picture, most people in the States are parochial and ignorant on this subject. Fact: eating dogs, cats and other four-legged animals not found on a menu here goes on all the time there. In third world countries in southeast Asia, Africa, the south pacific, the subcontinent bordering India and parts of South America, the two and four legged creatures that are hanging in the meat markets, cooked and eaten will not be found in Europe and North America except perhaps in a small percent of ethnic neighborhood food stalls. People eat what is available and obviously with starvation present will eat most anything. Protein is not a rare commodity in the U.S. We are spoiled in this regard and out of general ignorance think the world acts the way we do. Remember that we are a small part of the world and an historically young member on the international scene. So, we need to force ourselves to understand that for our distant ancestors to eat wolf/dog was certainly natural and for a billion people today, still is natural.

A recent example that comes to mind occurs in the Philippines. When the United States had a military presence there, the welcome aboard video shown to family members strongly suggested not to leave household pets out, especially at night. The locals caught such animals and ate them. To the locals, food is food.

Using the wolf/dog as a food source might have been the original reason for letting the animal stay around, but at some point, again only a supposition, that over a long period, our ancestors got the idea of encouraging and baiting the animal with food. The idea was to keep the animal permanently.

Thus, the transition from a wild animal to what is euphemistically called a domestic animal began. Recorded history only goes back a few thousand years. However, it is a reasonable guess that human manipulation and altering of the animal’s natural instinct had been going on for many millennia. How else does one explain that there are over two hundred varieties of dog and new ones added every few years. It is unreasonable to think any person or culture started out to deliberately alter the dog as we see today in some kind of modern genetic experiment. It is more reasonable to think that a captured animal might change through evolution. For instance, years ago I recall that rattlesnakes in the Indianapolis zoo after several reproductive cycles while in the zoo were born without rattles. The snake did not need the rattle in the zoo, and so, evolution kicked in; no rattle. What would happen to these snakes if they were released to the wild, I do not know. Now to the dog, as I said, one can make the supposition that an animal which was once equipped to survive, when thrown into the situation of not needing those instincts, lost them. Call it a forced evolution or animal brain washing, or something else, or a combination of factors; it is certain that over time, removed from the natural environment, the dog’s instincts and physical attributes disappeared or diminished. You have only to look at a wild dog that still exists and contrast it with the four legged animal you see on the sofa. The point is that regardless of how it happened, selective breeding, evolutionary change living with people or other factors, humans were the cause of the change. Humans have time after time loused up nature, and this example of man changing nature in the shape of a dog would figuratively and literally turn and bite us in the behind.

The Dog Problem

Historically, humans have shown a knack in lousing up nature and the world around us. For example, clean air and water is obviously important, but it has only been in the last two generations that attention has finally been paid to pollution. Resources such as the shrinking supply of clean water now garner respect. At some point people say enough is enough and serious matters that have always been there finally have become issues. Common and dangerous problems that were once accepted or ignored in society have only in our lifetimes drawn notice. For instance, smoking cigarettes has been known for centuries to be bad for health. Yet due largely to the power and money of the tobacco industry was not officially declared a health hazard causing cancer and other diseases until 1964. And it was almost another generation before a public acknowledgement of the danger of secondary smoke. Those old enough will remember when one person smoking on an airplane, not to mention several people, would fill up the entire plane with smoke. When there is big money involved, and that is usually the driving force, greed comes first; any untoward consequences are ignored or a far distant concern. And anyone opposed to the big buck industries finds it nearly impossible to find an audience.

A similar situation exists with alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a well-documented medico/social problem that has existed for thousands of years. So serious is the concern that this country had a constitutional amendment prohibiting it: known as Prohibition, it existed between 1919 and 1933 when another amendment ended the era. Still, alcohol continues to be a medical and social problem; yet the industry attempts to ameliorate the problem with obscure studies, for example, a study showing putative benefits of alcohol in moderate quantities. However, the fact remains that alcohol is not natural to the human body; it must be metabolized in the liver where it destroys tissue and has the same negative psychological effects on the psyche varying slightly depending on the amount consumed. But the industry goes on, as some humans have always felt the need for alcohol which was at one time (before pain pills) perhaps the only relief for pain and psychological problems.

In the end chapters I delve into the subject of how change - large scale societal change as with the issues of smoking and alcohol - can occur. The change which I and others suggest is not total and absolute such as the Prohibition attempt in the United States during the 1920’s which, of course, did not work. But to make a difference, change has to be more than talk. As I will explain, the dog culture in this country is almost completely one-sided; but there

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