Dog owners naturally accept that their dog’s behavior is a function of genetics: that a Poodle is inherently different from a Doberman which is, in turn, distinct from a Schnauzer or a Bassett Hound. We understand that different breeds have different temperaments genetically and that’s what ultimately sets them apart from one another. We’d never think of trying to change a Jack Russell Terrier into a Golden Retriever or vice versa. We simply accept our dogs for the individuals that they are.
The question becomes why can’t we do that with ourselves and one another when temperament is just as genetic in people as it in in dogs. There are actually nine areas of temperament that are determined by our DNA: one, for example, has to do with our activity level (are we a Hound or a Terrier?), another has to do with whether we’re outgoing or not (are we a Labrador or a Chihuahua?) and one has to do with our mood and whether we have a positive or negative outlook on life (a Golden Retriever vs a Miniature Pinscher.)
Any path to peace requires acceptance and one way to achieve acceptance and peace is through learning how to accept the individual breed (temperament) of dog that we happen to be. Temperament is as much a part of who we are as is our eye color. Naturally, there are going to be gifts as well as challenges with any type of temperament but we shouldn’t feel ashamed if we happen to be a friendly but occasionally thoughtless Labrador Retriever or if we’re an overly anxious Jack Russell Terrier or if we’re a lay-on-the-couch-all-day Basset Hound. Once we accept the particular breed of dog that we happen to be, all that’s left to do is to treat ourselves and others in the same way we treat our dogs: we enjoy the positive aspects and do what we can to manage the challenges. We don’t criticize or judge or demand change because it’s simply not helpful since we were unable to change who we are genetically.
That’s the gist of the People Are Like Dogs philosophy: accepting ourselves and others through thinking of ourselves as dogs. It’s only a short jump from the acceptance we have for our dogs to being able to have that same kind of acceptance for ourselves and one another. It just requires some practice in learning how to think of ourselves and others as unique and unchanging genetic beings. Woof!