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Dissertation Title:

The Human/Dog Bond: Interconnected Spheres of Mind, Culture, and Nature

Candidate:

Cinde Bauer

Date, Time & Place:

July 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Virtual


Abstract

The human/dog bond extends from prehistoric times up to the present, shaped by myriad spheres and an intwined destiny.  This work utilizes three disciplines, comparative mythology, psychology, and dog ethology, to explore aspects of this bond. In addition, this study considers how dog archetypal images of guide, guard, and healer inform the human/dog bond within the physical world of nature and mythopoetically within the spheres of mind and culture.

This study explores several aspects of this interactive bond including: a) the continuing evolution of these interactions since the dog’s domestication; b) different types and methods of communication between the two species; and c) cultural and archetypal characteristics, both individual and universal within this relationship.

Throughout history, dogs possess the abilities to adapt, interact, and communicate with people framed by cultural, psychological, and ethological parameters.  For instance, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Iranian archaeological discoveries highlight both the mythological and practical importance of dogs in ancient cultures.  Research studies illustrate the different methods of communication between people and dogs and the underlying mechanisms of dog cognition and social skills in these interactions. This work utilizes studies by Range and Virányi, Yin and McCowan, and Kaminski et al., among others, to explore the impacts of awareness, intentions, and actions of dogs in these interspecies communications.  Studies by Topál et al., Muller et al., and Bradshaw and Rooney highlight the complexity and interactive nature of the human/dog bond as evident in dog social skills of observation, social learning, and referential communication. Observations by Horowitz concerning the physical communication skills of dogs and their interactions with people also inform this study.

This work then explores prison-based dog training programs utilizing previous research and framed by humanistic psychology. Positive aspects of motivation, increased self-esteem, and attachment are presented highlighting the interactive bond between the inmates and dog participants in these programs.

Details
  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, Track I, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Dana C. White
  • External Reader: Dr. Aubrey H. Fine
  • Keywords: Human/dog Bond, Archetype, Dog Cognition, Prison-based Dog Training Programs