Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/192

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this view become. If we, with our much wider range of mental vision, and infinitely greater imaginative grasp of remote possibilities, the result of our reading and experience, are still bound by the tether of our own brain limits to anthropomorphic criteria when endeavoring to analyze superhuman existences, still more is it likely that the dog, with his mere chink of an outlook on the small world around him, is completely hedged in by canine notions and standards when his mind has to deal with creatures of higher and mysterious attributes.

At any rate, it will not be difficult to show that the dog's habits are generally consistent with this hypothesis. As far as mental contact is concerned, he treats his master and the human members of the household as his comrades, and behaves in many ways as if he were at home with the pack. Thus all the tribal virtues previously mentioned come into play. He guards the common lair and becomes a watch-dog, and by his barking calls his adopted brethren to his aid. He submits readily to the rules of the house because an animal belonging to a community must be prepared to abide by certain laws which exist for the common good. He defends his master if attacked—or, possibly, if not a courageous dog, gets up a vehement alarum to call others to his aid—because he has an instinctive knowledge of the importance of loyalty to a comrade, and because, as has been shown, loyalty to a leader is especially necessary. He is ready in understanding and obeying orders, owing to the fact that, when acting in concert with wild companions, it was absolutely needful that the young and inexperienced should comprehend and fall in with the purpose of the more intelligent veterans. The same ancestral habits and tendencies render him helpful as a sporting dog, and in herding or driving sheep and cattle. This last employment is very much like a mild kind of hunting, under certain special rules and restrictions, and with the killing left out. It has been observed that the Indian dholes will patiently and slowly drive wild animals in the direction of their habitat during their breeding season before killing them, so as to have the meat close at home; and this could only be accomplished by the whole pack exercising a patient self-control, and by the leaders constantly keeping in check the fierce impulse of the younger members to rush in and kill the weary and bewildered quarry.

The peaceable disposition and readiness to submit to discipline are also tribal virtues of which we take advantage. The dog, when he slinks away with drooping tail when reproved, or rolls abjectly over on his back and lies, paws upward, a picture of complete submission, is still behaving to his master as his wild forefather did to the magisterial leaders of the troop, or a victorious foe of his own species.