In what way?
Emotional collapse or anger.
Many things come to mind about what causes an emotional collapse (despair, fear, failure, giving up, the horror of the situation, etc) let alone reasons for you getting angry BUT one thing is certain, both ‘conditions’ affect your judgment, reasoning ability, and your ability to analyze and take the correct action to resolve whatever situation you are in.
Only there are two sides to this and the other side is the effect that a display of these two emotions will have on others, only this one starts with a ‘twist in the tail’ so to speak.
Up to quite recently I thought that the best survival team was you and your dog.
OK, I know some of you are unsure about that one but my reasoning was you both looked after each other and for the most part, a dog still is mans best friend. It also has a survival skill set vastly better than most humans and (depending on your relationship) will defend you to the best of its abilities.
Right up until you lose it in anger.
Most man-imal relations are based on trust. Trust breeds loyalty and respect.
Only if you abuse a dog through anger, it won’t (as a simple example) want to be with you.
That’s dead important knowing that a dog will remain by your side and NOT want to keep you outside its personal space.
A dog has personal space? You bet ya it has.
Hurt it intentionally and like humans it will react by distancing itself from the pain i.e. YOU. Now consider you cold at night. As a ‘friend’ the dog used to snuggle up to you, now it’s scared, it won’t. You’ll be getting what I’m on about by now.
So what if you lose it emotionally?
Unhappy, need a cuddle, want to discuss something personal?
The prefect companion is a dog. It knows when you are off your game and usually responds with affection. Although it can’t actually speak to you, a dog has a way of making you think. Daft as it may sound the distraction of the dog moderates your emotions and anything that does that eases the problems, just like a dose of magic.
Only lets add the complication of another person.
My ideal group is two persons who compliment each other.
Each has a skill set, a like mentality, and work well together.
Add a couple of dogs that get on with each other and the humans and voilà!
The perfect group is born. You now have companionship, a moderator for each other, a buddy to keep an eye on you. Three vital things a survivor needs to maintain good mental health. Yep, mental health is as important as “do more PT” is to others.
Except by natural effects, by design, group decision, or skill set (remembering my basic rule of the person with the expertise and experience always takes the lead), a leader will usually rise to the occasion. Once that happens, you quickly get a pack like mentality and the Alpha person is looked at as “The Boss”. Provided that it is by consent, the silent group members i.e. the dogs won’t worry.
Fine so far, until they lose it.
Anger is an obvious killer of relationships and lets face it, even in the military, if you’ve got a moody sod in charge it breeds unrest, dissent even, and things start to slip. Now add the dogs and they will pick up on this and further unrest can happen. Not a good state to be in.
Then comes that emotional collapse bit.
To cope with someone who has gone to pieces is damn hard to do.
Sometimes all they need is a bit of reassurance even if it’s only needing a hug but if that doesn’t work, the other person has to step in and take over total command.
In doing so you’ve potentially upset the whole Alpha person hierarchy.
Add your dogs and confusion will reign. With confusion comes conflict if not division.
That loss of expertise can also be telling adding to the strain and stress of survival.
In short, by losing it, you have reduced your chances of walking out alive.
A word about that hug. A dog is naturally protective and as said will pick up on something wrong. Get the wrong dog and it will become possessive thus you trying to embrace its master/mistress may be seen as an attack. Remember a dog is usually loyal to its master first and whatever hierarchy has developed second.
Yet does the same apply if there are only two people?
The statement that “To cope with someone who has gone to pieces is damn hard to do.
Sometimes all they need is a bit of reassurance even if it’s only needing a hug but if that doesn’t work, the other person has to step in and take over command.” is still applicable. Only there was a leader for a reason and in our little team leadership is built on expertise with the other understanding why we adopt this set up. Without a leader or even ‘the knowledge that the person possesses’ the group usually falters. Unless the “sick” person can be re-energized, they are basically dead wood and in a survival scenario, it could be the best option to abandon that burden.
So back to the original question, “Can you ever afford to lose it?”
Simply speaking I think not.
- As a singleton emotional and anger collapse will expose you to danger and that’s not good.
- Singleton and dog? Anger negates the advantages of having a dog.
- Pair and dogs? The whole balance of the group will be affected by both events.
- Pair only? The loss of expertise can substantially reduce your ability to survive if that loss is permanent.