Kevin’s introduces his belief about how energetic/electromagnetic/psychological/physical processes continue to evolve into greater complex social/behavioral systems. The idea came to mind that particular species cooperated with each other based on the ability to communicate. One emerged from the other as if they were “two halves of the same circle” (eg, hummingbird and nectar from a flower, or for argument sake, dog and human). He believed evolution guided the ship of this inter-species collaboration. He recalls as a child experiencing nature on a deeper, more profound level: feeling as if he was a part of the woods. These experiences didn’t match up with what he learned about nature from biology as a subject in school. His view on this matter evolved and continued to operate in the backdrop of his maturation into adolescence; a time where sexuality, self-identity, and social status come to the forefront of life. This period of time challenged the way he viewed himself and how he fit into social experiences. He figured out how to overcome this by immersing himself into such things as sports, hunting, and more dog training. These experiences allowed to him to appreciate how vital both sexuality and sensuality are to a dog’s social connectedness. This brings up the neutering issue the canine world has faced for the last 40-some years. His argument being: sexuality converting to sensuality (“being comfortable in your own skin”) affords dogs a pathway to social connectedness, and taking “it” away can actually create more behavioral problems. This is contrary to what conventional thinking assumes: that neutering solves the aggression “problem”, that reducing hormone levels is the scientific logic.
On adolescence: this chapter certainly takes me back to my childhood and adolescent years. No need to get your pad and pen out, I think I turned out alright. But it really is amazing how our sense of self evolves. From my perspective, all psychological theories aside, that transition between childhood and adolescence reminds me of the difference between feeling free and feeling trapped – I’d assume most people share this feeling. You wonder sometimes how dogs can feel the innate childlike sense of careless freedom that we carry with us into adulthood. I hear so many people mention they wish they could be a kid again, when in reality so many of those traits follow us anyway – we sometime just have to work to be more mindful of them. Is that to imply that our dogs are our childlike emotional-equivalents – no, not exactly – but I think they feel the emotional energy that we bring with us from childhood into adulthood.
On neutering, sensuality, and sexuality: I must admit, all I’ve ever known about getting a new dog or puppy was to make sure it was neutered/spayed. The last few years, I have studied more about the topic of keeping male and female dogs intact and the more clear it is to me now how sensitive a subject this can be for a lot of people. With such social systems like state and local government, there is a stigma/social pressure to neuter and spay because of the debated pet over-population; that’s not to mention the theory that decreased levels of testosterone correlates with decreased aggression. Well, not to get too political, but I wonder how much of that has become a cop-out argument? Doesn’t it really come down to being a sensible, responsible pet-owner? I mean, who are we to judge the sexual nature of domesticated dogs when it is just as much a part of our biological/psychological functioning. I imagine if people understood the natural way of things, and were desensitized to the “sexuality-among-dogs-is-taboo” perception, then we’d see a lot more dogs intact. While there may be biological differences among humans and dogs when it comes to “parts and plumbing,” imagine if sexuality/sensuality was taken away from human beings? Not only would a huge aspect of our social nature be discarded of, but think of the barriers that would be created emotionally and energetically…not to mention we’d go extinct. Is it to say dogs and humans (theoretically) who are “fixed” cannot function? Of course not, but the level of social connectedness (I know I keep using that phrase) would be greatly affected. As humans, we attach a psychology to sexuality as it pertains to what it means to us morally, spiritually, or from a values perspective. But let’s not forget what we share in common with our four-legged companions: sexuality is a form of feeling connected, becoming one with another being.
Both of our dogs are no longer intact: we chose to have Bella spayed when she was a puppy and Trace was already neutered when we adopted him from a foster agency. Would I ever get another dog that was “fixed”? Sure. Would I ever choose to keep a male or female dog intact? Sure, because my level of responsibility on my part to own and care for him/her would stay the same. Am I against neutering/spaying? Let’s just say I think, based on this chapter and the nature of NDT, a dog is still “trainable” whether its neutered or not.
What say you?