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2014-01-09    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Human beings and dog

Books and Arts; Book Review; Human beings and dogs; Man's best friend;


Scientific research throws new light on a very old partnership

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behaviour Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. By John Bradshaw.
《狗的内心世界:狗狗行为学的研究能让你和狗狗相处的更好》 作者: John Bradshaw。

The relationship between people and dogs is unique. Among domesticated animals, only dogs are capable of performing such a wide variety of roles for humans: herding sheep, sniffing out drugs or explosives and being our beloved companions. It is hard to be precise about when the friendship began, but a reasonable guess is that it has been going strong for more than 20,000 years. In the Chauvet cave in the Ardèche region of France, which contains the earliest known cave paintings, there is a 50-metre trail of footprints made by a boy of about ten alongside those of a large canid that appears to be part-wolf, part-dog. The footprints, which have been dated by soot deposited from the torch the child was carrying, are estimated to be about 26,000 years old.

The first proto-dogs probably remained fairly isolated from each other for several thousand years. As they became progressively more domesticated they moved with people on large-scale migrations, mixing their genes with other similarly domesticated creatures and becoming increasingly dog-like (and less wolf-like) in the process. For John Bradshaw, a biologist who founded the anthrozoology department at the University of Bristol, having some idea about how dogs got to be dogs is the first stage towards gaining a better understanding of what dogs and people mean to each other. Part of his agenda is to explode the many myths about the closeness of dogs to wolves and the mistakes that this has led to, especially in the training of dogs over the past century or so.
始祖狗最初都是独来独往的,这一状况维持了数千年。但当它们被逐渐驯化后,跟随人类进行大规模迁徙,使得它们的基因与其它相似的家饲动物的基因发生了融合,渐渐的它们看上去更像狗而非狼了。作为 Bristol 大学的人类与动物关系学系的创始人,生物学家Mr. John Bradshaw认为,要想更好的理解狗狗与人类的关系,首先得具备一些关于狗狗进化的知识。他的一部分工作是探究很多有关狗与狼之间传说中的亲缘关系,及由此产生的各种误解。特别是过去一个世纪以来的狗狗驯化的过程。

One idea has governed dog training for far too long, Mr Bradshaw says. Wolf packs are supposedly despotic hierarchies dominated by alpha wolves. Dogs are believed to behave in the same way in their dealings with humans. Thus training a dog effectively becomes a contest for dominance in which there can be only one winner. To achieve this the trainer must use a variety of punishment techniques to gain the dog's submission to his mastery. Just letting a dog pass through a door before you or stand on the stairs above you is to risk encouraging it to believe that it is getting the upper hand over you and the rest of the household. Mr Bradshaw argues that the theory behind this approach is based on bad and outdated science.
Mr Bradshaw说,在对狗狗的长期驯化中,有一个理论一直主导着人类,即,狼群是受一个暴戾的头狼统领的。狗狗对人类的服从就沿袭了狼的这一行为模式。于是,对狗狗的驯化就成了统领权的竞赛,赢家只有一个。为了实现这一点,人类必须使用各种惩罚的方法来让狗狗服从它的主人。不能让狗狗先于你进家门或站在高高的楼梯顶端。这都会让狗狗相信在饲主及其家人面前,它们占了上风。 Mr Bradshaw 认为这种方法背后的理论基础都站不住脚而且相当落伍。

Dogs share 99.6% of the same DNA as wolves. That makes dogs closer to wolves than we are to chimps (with which we have about 96% of our DNA in common), but it does not mean that their brains work like those of wolves. Indeed, the outgoing affability of most dogs towards humans and other dogs is in sharp contrast to the mix of fear and aggression with which wolves react to animals from other packs. “Domestication has been a long and complex process,” Mr Bradshaw writes. “Every dog alive today is a product of this transition. What was once another one of the wild social canids, the grey wolf, has been altered radically, to the point that it has become its own unique animal.” If anything, dogs resemble juvenile rather than fully adult canids, a sort of arrested development which accounts for the way they remain dependent on their human owners throughout their lives.
狗与狼的基因99.6%是一样的。这使得狗与狼的关系远比人类与黑猩猩的更近(人类与黑猩猩的基因有96%是相同的),但这并不意味着狗狗的大脑与狼的工作原理是一样的。的确,绝大多数的狗狗对人类和自己的同类都表现的很友好,于此截然相反的是,狼对其它动物的反应则表现为多疑和攻击性。“家饲驯化是一个漫长而复杂的过程” Mr Bradshaw写到,“每一条生活在今天的狗狗都是这一变迁的产物,曾有是一种群居的野生犬科动物-灰狼,经过了彻底的演变,从而变成了一种独一无二的动物”.如果说有什么相同的话,狗不再是成熟的犬科动物而是停留在了幼年状态,它们终其一生要依靠它们的饲主才能生活。

But what makes the dog-wolf paradigm especially misleading, Mr Bradshaw argues, is that until recently, the studies of wolves were of the wrong wolves in extremely artificial conditions. In the wild, wolf packs tend to be made up of close family members representing up to three generations. The father and mother of the first lot of cubs are the natural leaders of the pack, but the behavioral norm is one of co-operation rather than domination and submission. However, the wolves on which biologists founded their conclusions about dominance hierarchies were animals living in unnaturally constituted groups in captivity. Mr Bradshaw says that feral or “village” dogs, which are much closer to the ancestors of pet dogs than they are to wolves, are highly tolerant of one another and organize themselves entirely differently from either wild or captive wolves.
但是,是什么让狗与狼的关系模式误导了大家? Mr Bradshaw 认为问题出在作为研究对象的狼都是眷养在极端人工的环境下,是选“错”了狼。在野外,狼群都是由关系较近的祖孙三代家庭成员组成,父亲和母亲会自然而然的变成第一代子女幼仔的头狼,但在行为模式上表现的是合作关系而非统治和服从。而让生物学家们得出统治权争夺的结论都是基于那些生活在非自然状态下,被人工眷养的狼群之上的。 Mr Bradshaw 认为,与其说狼是宠物狗的祖先,不如说野狗或“土”狗才是宠物狗的祖先。因为它们之间更宽容,而且在组群关系上与不管是野生狼群或眷养狼群都相去甚远。

Dogs are not like nicely brought-up wolves, says the author, nor are they much like people despite their extraordinary ability to enter our lives and our hearts. This is not to deny that some dogs are very clever or that they are capable of feeling emotion deeply. But their intelligence is different from ours. The idea that some dogs can understand as many words as a two-year-old child is simply wrong and an inappropriate way of trying to measure canine intellect. Rather, their emotional range is more limited than ours, partly because, with little sense of time, they are trapped almost entirely in the present. Dogs can experience joy, anxiety and anger. But emotions that demand a capacity for self- reflection, such as guilt or jealousy, are almost certainly beyond them, contrary to the convictions of many dog owners.

Mr Bradshaw believes that it is difficult for people to empathise with the way in which dogs experience and respond to the world through their extraordinary sense of smell: their sensitivity to odours is between 10,000 and 100,000 times greater than ours. A newly painted room might be torture for a dog; on the other hand, their olfactory ability and their trainability allow dogs to perform almost unimaginable feats, such as smelling the early stages of a cancer long before a normal medical diagnosis would detect it.
Mr Bradshaw 认为,人类很难理解狗狗是如何凭借它们出色的嗅觉来体验、感知世界并做出反应的:它们对气味的灵敏度是人类的1万-10万倍。住进一个刚粉刷过的房间对狗狗来说可能是酷刑;另一方面,它们超敏锐的嗅觉和可训练的特性让狗狗几乎能完成各种超乎想像的事情,例如,在医生做出诊断之前,狗狗就能嗅出患者的早期癌症。

The latest scientific research can help dogs and their owners have happier, healthier relationships by encouraging people to understand dogs better. But Mr Bradshaw is also fearful. In particular, he deplores the incestuous narrowing of the gene pool that modern pedigree breeders have brought about. Dogs today are rarely bred for their working abilities (herding, hunting, guarding), but for a very particular type of appearance, which inevitably risks the spread of physical and temperamental abnormalities. Instead, he suggests that dogs be bred for the ideal behavioural traits associated with the role they will actually play. He also worries that the increasing urbanisation of society and the pressures on couples to work long hours are putting dogs under huge strain. He estimates that about 20% of Britain's 8m dogs and America's 70m suffer from “separation distress” when their owners leave the house, but argues that sensible training can teach them how to cope.
最新的科学研究鼓励人们更好的理解狗狗,帮助狗狗和它们的饲主建立起更愉快、更健康的关系。但 Mr Bradshaw还是很担心,他尤其痛恨为保持狗的纯种而进行的近亲繁殖,这使得现在狗的基因多样性越来越窄。今天的狗狗很少是作为工作犬来繁育了(如牧羊、打猎、护卫),多数都是为了追究某些特殊的外形,这不可避免的造成狗狗身体、性情上的畸形,并随着繁育过程蔓延开来。他主张,狗的繁育要使得它们能保留相应的行为模式以适应它们将要承担的角色。他还担心随着城市化程度加深、人们工作时间增加给狗狗的压力也越来越大。他估计,英国800万只狗狗,美国7000万只狗狗中大约20%,在它们的主人外出工作时,正遭受着“分离焦虑”的痛苦。但他也认为如果训练得当狗狗们能应付的了。

“Dog Sense” is neither a manual nor a sentimental account of the joys of dog-ownership. At times its rigorously research-led approach can be slightly heavy going. A few more jolly anecdotes might have leavened the mix. But this is a wonderfully informative, quietly passionate book that will benefit every dog whose owner reads it.

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