excerpt on Instincts
Hunting & Herding
Whether it be a dog, a cow or a combine harvester, the first essential to maximum effciency with minimum trouble is that the operator should understand how it works. With the combine harvester that is easy; one can take it to pieces and put it together again. One can also conduct a post mortem on a cow, and although it cannot be put together again, one can, with expert tuition learn a good deal about how it works. The same thing can be done with a dog, but for our purpose, we would learn nothing. Why? Because the characteristics which have, through the ages, made the dog such a vaulable servant to mankind are mental, not physical. They cannot be seen. They can only be assessed and not always very acurately.
To assess them at all it is essential to give some thought to the evolution of the dog. In all classes of livestock breeding, man has achieved much of which he can be justly proud. And perhaps more than a little of which he should be thoroughly ashamed! Whether or no we approve of the changes he has made, one thing remains certain-only on rare occasions has he produced something which was not there to begin with or removed something which was. Cows which now produce phenomenal amounts of milk only do so because their wild ancestors produced milk to rear their young. Hens which lay an egg practically every day of their lives could not do so if the wild jungle fowl had not laid eggs to propagate the species. There must always be some foundation, and no one could, for instance produce a breed of cow that laid eggs or hens which produced milk!
This principle applies much more to mental characteristics than to physcial, especially when dealing with instincts. Domestication, selective breeding and, to a lesser extent, training may weaken or strengthen an instinct out of all recognition, but they will neither put it there nor take it away.