Wlochata Pasja Labradoodles and TEDx prelection

TED ( Tech­no­logy, Enter­ta­in­ment and Design) — a scien­ti­fic con­fe­rence orga­ni­zed by the Ame­ri­can Foun­da­tion, a non-profit Sapling Foun­da­tion. Objec­tive — to popu­la­rize the motto — “ideas worth spre­ading .” Ideas , tho­ughts, visions that can change the world .

On 09/06/2013, we took a part in the polish ver­sion of Ted – TEDxRa­wa­Ri­ver. We pre­sen­ted our two pro­jects. Both rela­ted to the ani­mal world , both in con­nec­tion to what people can gain from it, and how it can enrich our lives and our inner beings.

The first pro­ject con­cer­ned dog lan­gu­age — the lan­gu­age of solving pro­blems ( lan­gu­age of cal­ming signals ) which tra­iners, beha­vio­ri­sts and zoo­p­sy­cho­lo­gist teach dog owners about.

We — humans can read only those signals which are fami­liar to us — grow­ling , wag­ging the tail … Mean­while, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion lan­gu­age of dogs is more sub­tle , but still clear –as if the dogs spoke to us in “small let­ters”.
Dogs speak to us, not ver­bally of course , but they can use deve­lo­ped sys­tem of body lan­gu­age . By signs as lic­king the nose, tur­ning the head, yaw­ning , blin­king with eyes, raising paw, lay­ing or sit­ting down ect. (total 28–29 signals ), our dog is try­ing to tell us something .

Howe­ver not only. By sen­ding these signals dog is try­ing to calm him­self down, calm noises and the envi­ron­ment down and what is impor­tant – calm you or the other dog down. In a word, dog is try­ing to avoid pro­blems, con­flicts.
Dogs have inhe­ri­ted this abi­lity from their ance­stors — MASTERS OF SURVIVAL who saved their energy for hun­ting, instead of destruc­tive con­flicts. Even at this point we could learn a lot from ani­mals .
To those who have dogs — how many times have you over­slept to work?

You get up alre­ady nervous and yet you have to do a walk with your dog — a quick wee. And then you shout at him “come back” (raising you voice, irri­ta­ted by your alarm clock that did not went on ), he begins to slow his move­ments down and sniffs aro­und. ” What a stub­born dog , he wants to make me angry .”, you say.

No! The last thing he wants now is making you more angry then you alre­ady are. By slo­wing his move­ments and snif­fing the gro­und ( next two cal­ming signals) your dog wants to help you — to calm your aggres­sion down. He tries as hard as he can, not to lead to the conflict.

We pass this know­ledge to adults, and what if we pas­sed on the know­ledge to pre­school and early school chil­dren, regar­dless of whe­ther they have had their pets or not? What if these kids grow up in obse­rva­tion of that language ?

Chil­dren look at the world from dif­fe­rent per­spec­ti­ves and they have an ama­zing ima­gi­na­tion. In school we learn poems by heart, the mul­ti­pli­ca­tion tables by heart, spel­ling and punc­tu­ation rules , and does the school teach us to obse­rve , draw conc­lu­sions from these obse­rva­tions and use them in our daily lives?

We study and disco­ver what’s unk­nown. Scien­ti­sts , for exam­ple are inte­re­sted to know how do marine mam­mals com­mu­ni­cate. Mean­while, inte­rac­tions are taking place right under our noses. But why to study some­thing we think we know? Most dogs owners think they under­stand their dog ascri­bing them with human cha­rac­te­ri­stics: dogs can be vicious, stu­pid , jealous or envious . To me it looks some­what as a descrip­tion of other spe­cie and I do not think I have to men­tion which one.

Mean­while, chil­dren are young scien­ti­sts and gro­wing in the obse­rva­tion of that lan­gu­age will cer­ta­inly make an imprint onto their future.

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Pro­ject num­ber two “First Train the wild” was devo­ted to human com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. The man­ner in which we com­mu­ni­cate with ano­ther per­son. How much of our com­mu­ni­ca­tion is about cri­ti­cism, thre­ats, sanc­tions or mani­pu­la­tion.
Gro­wing up in this lan­gu­age we do not realize that we can do dif­fe­rent, we can do better.

First, we hate these struc­tu­res as chil­dren but then it beco­mes the only thing that we know (we for­get how many times we pro­mise our­se­lves that we will do dif­fe­ren­tly). Since we do not know how to reject old struc­tu­res, we accept them as ours and pass them fur­ther onto future generations.

In the inte­rac­tion between people there is too lit­tle feed­back and if there is – it is bad, negative.

And what would hap­pen if some­one sud­denly ban­ned old struc­tu­res — the lan­gu­age of cri­ti­cism, anger or mani­pu­la­tion? Many of us would be han­di­cap­ped as far as com­mu­ni­ca­tion is concerned.

But then we’d have to get some­thing in return — some new struc­tu­res. Some­ti­mes I think it would be our gre­atest opportunity .

I deci­ded to play the role of guinea pig and take up the chal­lenge — what will I learn from tra­ining ani­mals or will ani­mal tra­ining help me to deve­lop other, bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion structures?

I have cho­sen rab­bit to my expe­ri­ment . Chic­ken would have been even bet­ter but some­how the far­mers were afraid to lend out their “stock” . Well actu­ally I am not sur­pri­sed, nowa­days chic­ken from eco­lo­gi­cal farms comes at price.
So why not cho­osing dogs for the expe­ri­ment, aren’t they more available?

Why? The answer is quite sim­ple — dogs, hor­ses and humans are pro­ba­bly the most abu­sed spe­cies . The reason lies in their beha­vior — they come, apo­lo­gize (o rather we think they do), they for­give and can be easily mani­pu­la­ted ( say SIT and just press dogs’ bot­tom to force dog to sit — he will)

With rab­bit or chic­ken it will not be so easy — from the start you know it is impos­si­ble to cri­ti­cize or punish. Besi­des how will you punish the chic­ken? I grant that if you shout at it just once he will block him­self and this is the end of the tra­ining – the only oppor­tu­nity is lost. Now Ima­gine what if we had just one chance with human as well?

Since an oppor­tu­nity of using stan­dard tools has been taken away from me I have to deve­lop new ones — I start to think cre­ati­vely and adapt to the world map of the object tra­ined. I can only rein­force posi­ti­vely those requ­ired beha­viors — NOTHING MORE.

So, can we deve­lop new struc­tu­res of com­mu­ni­ca­tion? Yes we can!

Find out more at my blog www.poskromdzikusa.blog.pl

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The adven­tue with TEDx was ama­zing howe­ver it is only the begin­ning of that journey:)

Edyta Gajew­ska

Pic­tu­res:

TEDx

TEDx

TEDx

TEDx

TED

TED

TED prelection

TED pre­lec­tion

TED prelection

TED pre­lec­tion

TED jury

TED jury

TED jury

TED jury

TED jury

TED jury

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Wlo­chata Pasja
First Austra­lian Labra­do­odle Ken­nel in Poland

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