The dog, a designated patient

Personal reflection on the perception of the dog by its human as the one responsible of all the faults.

In systemic psychology there is an interesting concept, wich is the designated patient. In order to define this in general terms, it’s considered that an individual is not ill but that the symptoms are linked to the system. One of the people in the system will be designated (unconsciously) as the responsible of collective suffering. It’s often for this designated patient that the family comes in consultation, it is the bearer of the twists, the problems and so on. But they often have nothing to reproach themselves with. This symptom has a role in the relational dynamics and thus suppressing the symptom serves no purpose since it has a role in the cohesion of the group.

In order for the symptom (s) eventually to disappear, it is necessary to modify the relational structure, to create real changes in the environment and in the ways of communicating.

I think it doesn’t work only for intra-human family relations but rather between humans and their dog. Indeed, it’s by reading the many posts of complaints about the behavior of the dog (dog difficult blablabla) that this link came to me. Often people think that their dog has all the wrongs and this lead to punitive behavior and a break in the relationship with their dog.

I obviously do not judge anyone, we have all done stupid things from this point of view. But the questioning is always good I find, in all forms of human or animal relations. We always ask the dog to change his behavior to adapt to us but most dog owners do not understand that the annoying behaviors of their dog are the interaction between several factors coming from dog ok but also from them and especially from their relationship.

All this interacts in a non-linear but rather circular order and can be serious. It is often the same people who complain about the destructive behavior of their dog but do not solve the fact that their dog can not stand solitude. Or others that their dog be biting but keep shouting when their dog has aggressive behavior.

We say that the dog is man’s best friend and it is not for nothing. The dog is ready to do anything to please his human BUT he must show him how. You have to look at it as a book filled with white pages with a title at the top of the pages: basic orders, security, cleanliness, etc. And you write with him! So if you write it’s that you are partly the author and so if you are partly the author you are partly the one who makes mistakes.

So here is this little article that I hope will make some think and will allow better relationships humans / dogs not forgetting that there are solutions to all the problems if we give the means to understand and we give the means To our dog to understand us.

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