Dogs can be great teachers.
Our 2 year old Golden Doodle, Mo, (yeah… if you’ve been reading this blog awhile this is the dog that recently ate a few whole corn cobs) has ‘fear aggression’. That’s when he acts like he’s a dangerous malcontent by growling and being obstinate. But, its not because he is really ‘aggressive’ its because he’s scared (of what we haven’t yet figured out). But, the teaching point here is this: it is easy to mistake fear for aggression. That’s because its easy to act aggressive when afraid. Put all of this together and we have a classic case of misunderstanding: fear interpreted as aggression leads to aggressive responses which makes fear worse… in an ever escalating cycle.
With dogs… the remedy is easy… show love. In the world of people and politics and complex relationships the remedy there too is love… but it ain’t easy.
John, one of Jesus original followers taught this (1 John 4:18):
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
When I show my dog Mo that I love him and he’s safe… the cycle of fear, aggression, more fear, more aggression is broken.
Why can’t we do that as human beings?