Thursday, December 15, 2011
Do Dogs Really Live In the Moment?
Imagine climbing up a cliff face. Your thoughts and actions are completely in response to where you are and what needs to be done each moment as you experience it. You are (hopefully) not thinking about whether or not you left the lights on at home or if the pants you're wearing would make Stacy and Clinton proud. You are required to act in a way which is as responsive to the situation as you can manage with no extraneous thoughts getting in the way of making decisions appropriate to the moment. The same kind of responsiveness is required when driving through LA freeways, zipping down a steep hill on a bicycle, or diving in shark infested waters off La Paz.
That's the ideal scene of living in the moment. Not many of us can actually do that and I don't think our dogs do either.
Dogs do remember the past or they wouldn't become fearful. Whether it's muscle or cell memory, pictures, smells, tastes and all the kinesthetic remembrances of each event in their lives affect what they do in the hear and now. Sometimes it only takes one trauma, on bite from another dog, on whack with a baseball bat, to completely change a dog's view of his world. But remember they do, as do we - maybe not all of it in the consciuous part of the mind, but it's all recorded somewhere. Those memories affect our present and our predictions of the future.