Can dogs teach us about collaboration
I listened to a fascinating interview today about dogs seeing the future. Alexandra Horowitz’s “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” draws on that of an early-20th–century German biologist, Jakob von Uexküll, who proposed that “anyone who wants to understand the life of an animal must begin by considering what he called their umwelt . . . : their subjective or ‘self-world.’ ” Hard as we may try, a dog’s-eye view is not immediately accessible to us, however, for we reside within our own umwelt, our own self-world bubble, which clouds our vision.
While we mainly look at the present, the dog’s “olfactory window” onto the present is wider than our visual window, “including not just the scene currently happening, but also a snatch of the just-happened and the up-ahead. The present has a shadow of the past and a ring of the future about it.” Now that’s umwelt.
Ms. Horowitz challenges the alpha theory of training dogs. The idea that a dog owner must become the dominant member by using jerks or harsh words or other kinds of punishment, she writes, “is farther from what we know of the reality of wolf packs and closer to the timeworn fiction of the animal kingdom with humans at the pinnacle, exerting dominion over the rest. Wolves seem to learn from each other not by punishing each other but by observing each other. Dogs, too, are keen observers — of our reactions.”
My, oh my, is there a lesson of cooperation and collaboration here for lawyers? <g>Tags: Management
Categorized in: Management