Rewilding our Relationships with Domesticated Beings - PART 1 - DOGS

I would like to explore the topic of rewilding our relationships with domesticated beings, starting with dogs.
Here are a couple of questions to get the conversation started - please add any others you can think of!
Let’s really dig in to this topic!!!

*what does your current relationship with dogs (if any) look and feel like?
*what might transition culture look and feel like in the contexts of these relationships?
*what might rewilded relationships look and feel like? (further down the path of transition - future goals)
*what types of personal or cultural ethics and values should be considered? (spirituality? concepts of “right” and “wrong”?)
*Thoughts about the ways we use the terms “pets” vs. “working dogs” vs.“companion / family member”?
*Thoughts about the concept of “ownership”?
*What responsibilities might we have toward domesticated beings (in this case dogs) during the transition toward wildness?
*what types of practical considerations should be addressed?

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Here’s an interesting thread started by Dude_McLean Nov '14 discussing examples of roles dogs can play in rewilding, primitive / ancient breeds, feeding, books… Dogs and Rewilding

This is a great topic to discuss and I look forward to reading others’ thoughts. Unfortunately I don’t know how to participate without lecturing about rewilding animal behavior so I’m going to sit this one out.


Rewilding Canine Nutrition:

Currently on my desk is a book called “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals” by Lew Olson, PhD. While I tend to pick and choose information which seems valuable to me from a wide range of sources (especially on a subject such as this which has been made artificially complex and confusing to maximize profits in the “industry”) I appreciate the overview in Ch. 1 of the “Untold History of Dog Food”, in which the author highlights the invention, marketing, and profitability of commercial pet food products and gives a sense of context to just how recently we have been “conditioned” by various authorities (corporate interests) to believe that we cannot provide for domesticated beings in “natural” ways.

“…dog foods are a relatively new invention. Though the first commercial dog food appeared in the late nineteenth century, the use of bagged and canned foods only became popular in the United States after World War II. Before this time, dogs ate whatever they could find in their environment or what was offered to them by their owners.”

(If anyone is interested in researching this further a good place to start might be with James Spratt and Charles Cruft and their invention of “Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes” in the 1860’s)

Much like our realizations that we need and want to “rewild” our own nutritional ways, the care of domesticated beings needs to be “rewilded” as well.

I would very much like to hear from others who have undertaken this journey or are hoping to do so. What transitional strategies have you considered or are you using? How might these become more widely accepted and accessible options?

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Carrying over Willem’s comment on the HORSES thread concerning our relationships with dogs and other domesticated beings. Rewilding our Relationships with Domesticated Beings - PART 2 - HORSES and other “BEASTS of BURDEN”

Coast Salish “wool dogs”

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Dogs and Uncivilized Wild Places:

please share your experiences, knowledge, questions, and thoughts about taking dogs out into the back country, sea shore, and other wild places…

How can we interact with our dogs in these environments in ways that provide safety for the dogs, safety for wild beings and environment, safety or lack of disturbance to other humans…

How does your canine companion impact your experience in these places? Are they hunting partners? Personal safety guardians? Do they help you forage? Are they your best bud simply enjoying outdoor time with you?

What types of training or other behavior modification strategies can be used to ensure things like a reliable recall in wide open spaces?

What practical considerations need to be addressed?

How do these relationships and strategies relate to rewilding???

The OP seems to like this thread of mine and suggested I post a link here. :slight_smile: While more about general teachers and lessons in rewilding, I mention how some of my best friends and mentors throughout my life have been canines. They’re people too, just like us, and I wish other humans could see that. All you have to do is watch them to know they’re people.

A couple years ago, I lost some friends I didn’t mention in that thread; it still hurts a bit to talk about it. They were a Pomeranian and a Yorkie who were like my brothers for 9 years, the prior had a heart attack and the latter had a stroke. Order of death flipped around though. The night the Pom went, just four days after the Yorkie, I was so devastated I broke my damn hand punching a brick wall. I feel so much guilt in my heart for not being around enough when I had the chance.

This girl I’m friend with now is amazing. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I’m giving her the affection I should’ve given my brothers, but usually I feel like they’ve blessed me with a second chance to learn through her. I don’t try to observe another species, I try to observe as them. When a canine cousin’s ears perk up and they start sniffing the air, I follow suit, hearing and smelling what my human ears can and also watching for what they may not see. We work together to guard our family.

I think that’s the biggest problem with dog “training”; rather than speaking with the dog and truly listening to what they have to say, humans nowadays expect them to just drop whatever they’re doing and plop on their ass on command. I’m not even sure slave-owners expected such obedience out of human slaves. If a dog doesn’t “listen”, try listening to them. Watching them. What do they see, what do they smell, what do they hear beside “come! COME!”? The ears and noses of most carnivorans are way better than ours. If we listen to each other, we can better help each other.

Just my two cents.

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thank you Firekin4… your comments reminded me of a recent moment with one of my dogs (2yr Vizsla mix) in which we were sitting outside together at night, just quietly hanging out together, when i realized that he had been looking “up” for quite some time. i followed his line of sight, and sure enough, he was gazing at the nearly full moon. this was a real “wow” moment for me (stupid human - haha). this guy is an “introvert” who was abused and neglected prior to him finding and adopting me - he likes to quietly contemplate the goings-on of the universe i think. I have also noticed that he looks “up” frequently throughout the day and evenings - he notices and stalks birds, bats, dragonflies, moths, and so on… one of his favorite things is leaping into the air to try to catch a moth that’s been attracted by the light in the yard. When he’s managed to find his tiny prey on the ground, he simply nudges it gently with his nose if it stops moving… more play than hunting it seems. He is not demonstrative with affection, but will now come up and sit next to me and just lean on me for a hug (HUGE progress!) my two dogs and i are deeply bonded in ways that few relate to… learning to see things from their perspectives has fostered a huge amount of personal growth for me… i am eternally grateful for their wise teachings :blue_heart:

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Interesting article about the Fonni’s dog of Sardinia:

some interesting food for thought here, what’s your take on the concept of “pets” during transitional rewilding vs. future “ideals”?

Hi Willem, i’d be happy to hear some of your “lecturing” on this subject! :grinning:

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“Domestication Syndrome” and “Neural Crest Cells”

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Hey all, will introduce shortly when im behind a comp. I used to frequent the old rewild forums alot. Seen some familiar faces here. On to the topic. My partner and i run a doggy daycare. We have been living with lots of dogs over the years and still do. I used to run huskies in lapland, we did so called dog therapy and have been thinking on how to counter the mainstream ideas of dogschools instead focusing on how to harmoniously live together with our canine companions.

Like right now im overseeing about 90-100 dogs. So i really shouldnt be looking at this screen sp much but Safe to say this topic interests me and im mostly replying so as to not forget and write more later. Questions are appreciated!