We humans think of ourselves in a way that dogs would see as exactly backwards. To us, the most important thing is our name. It’s how we sign documents, how we introduce ourselves, and how we know other people.
Next, we focus on ‘breed,’ which for humans is a group identifier like race, religion, or nationality. Way down our list is our species, Homo sapiens, and we often forget that we are ultimately animals.
This works for us because it’s part of our psychology, but it’s not the way dogs approach the world. To a dog, its name is the least important thing about it.
Dogs see themselves first as animals. This means that they live instinctually and their goal is survival. They are in tune with nature. Like all animals, they live in the moment and communicate with energy. That’s why two animals of very different species can have a ‘conversation’ and get along with each other.
Next is species, which is where a dog’s need to be part of a pack kicks in. Species is about finding a place in the pack, and working with the pack for survival. This is also where Cesar’s ‘fulfillment formula’ comes into play. It is the species part of a dog that needs exercise, discipline and affection.
Humans created breeds by controlling which dogs mated, selecting particular traits to allow to continue. To some degree, certain breeds do have certain behavioral traits ‘ huskies like to pull sleds, collies like to herd, and spaniels like to hunt. However, the dog psychology behind every breed is the same because it comes from the species level. To a dog, its breed is thus unimportant.
Finally, a name doesn’t mean a lot to a dog. It’s a sound they hear when you want their attention, but your dog will never think, ‘I am Fido.’ They’ll associate the name with the energy (emotion x intent) you express when saying it. That’s why you shouldn’t use a dog’s name when disciplining it, because the dog will make a negative association until its name means ‘Something bad is going to happen.’
Animal, species, breed, name. This is how your dog sees itself.