Wolves, Dogs, and People…

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While reading an article recently about an experiment that involved dogs and wolves, I was struck by the clear analogy with human behavior. The focus of the experiment was on how wolves solved a problem versus how domesticated dogs solved the same problem. Here’s the question the experiment tried to answer:

But what happens when the two species are presented with a puzzle that—with a little persistence—can be solved?”

The result of the experiment was not surprising at all…

The results show that even when faced with a puzzle that is easily solved (instead of unsolvable), wolves and dogs use different strategies, Udell says. The wolves were bent on figuring out the solution by themselves, whereas the dogs generally made no effort to work on the puzzle until someone encouraged them—and even then they were oddly unsuccessful.”

The experimenter concluded…

“…it may be, as Udell also suggests, that the dogs simply had never had as many opportunities as the wolves to solve problems because people were always there to help. The dogs had only to turn their heads and look back.”

Now, as you know, I’m a veterinarian and I enjoy reading articles like this one. And, yes, I am a proponent of studying animals as a means to solve human health problems. In fact, we humans can thank animals for a huge chunk of the medical knowledge we use to keep ourselves healthy. Go here, here and here for a glimpse into the extent of medical benefits from animal research.

So, this article got me to thinking…

A critical insight from this experiment is hiding in plain sight. Sure, dog owners can use this information to improve how we relate to canine pets. But, there is another lesson here with the potential for significant contributions to our society. Why not rephrase the conclusion and apply it to learned behavior in people? After all, that’s what we do to gain medical knowledge to save countless human lives. By exchanging a few words in their conclusion, we can expose a root cause for a growing condition threatening the future of our country.
“…it may be that millions of people simply never had as many opportunities as their predecessors to solve problems because government agencies were always there to help. The dependent people had only to turn their heads and look back.”

Heaven help us if we continue to “train” masses of our citizens to lose their God-given abilities to solve problems on their own by teaching them to depend on government agencies instead.



About drpearson3

Imagine yourself slowly passing a long 18-wheeler on an interstate highway, and you notice it’s an Alias Van Lines truck. Next thing you know, you’re wishing you could see inside and get some clues about the family involved. Where are they from? Where are they headed? Why are they moving? Sure wish I could know their story. Every family has a story, right? Think of docsology.net as that moving van. The good news is that you are invited to look inside and look around. Open the boxes marked Faith, Family, Finances, Fishing, Furry Friends. There’s even a surprise box marked Random. Inside each box you’ll find a variety of carefully wrapped treasures. Some you will find to be inspirational. Some with a definite educational slant. And yes, often you will unwrap a downright intimate look into one of those passions that have shaped a lifetime. So, come on in and help yourself. The treasures are created for people like you to inspect, handle, and critique. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to comment. Of course, it’s all free, but if you want to leave a tip, do that by passing docsology.net along to your friends on your favorite social network. Another place to find me is www.StevePearsonInk.com
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