Chapter 1 — ‘Wu Rou’ Means 5 Dogs
Five Elements is an Asian philosophy that came into maturity around the 1st century BC, being explored in depth within The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huang Di Nei Jing). Five Elements was mentioned as far back as 2500 BC (as an oral tradition probably much further back). While Five Elements is often treated as an antiquated Chinese philosophy, we prefer the word system over philosophy. Though it has developed and been refined over time, the system’s basics have not changed. More than ideas that are interesting to argue about, Five Elements represents a system that is less about thinking and more about perceiving nature directly — something your dog is already quite good at!
Perceiving something is before thinking.
When you first meet a dog, walking slowly by or standing off at a distance will teach you a lot. For the direct approach (at your and the owner’s discretion) you can always walk up and pet them! Otherwise, being relaxed and aware is always a good beginning; the dog will notice you and you’ll perceive if he is open to a visitor.
Hang out nearby, take a few deep breaths, and relax your mind. Enter into the Space; the dog is already there. He’ll notice you.., notice him. A friendly dog will walk up to you and make it obvious he wants contact.
The Fire Dog — playful and intense
More often than not, if their owner has taken them on a special trip out into the neighborhood they are pretty excited! When their owner leaves them outside, they are usually on their feet with their face looking toward the cafe waiting for you know who. They will have a fairly intense and concentrated gaze, seeming a little worried; they might be infrequently whimpering to barking anxiously. They’ll pay attention to you for a quick moment if your friendly, but will tend to go back to looking for their owners presence.
The Metal Dog — quiet and observant
Like the stereotype of the human intellectual, they are usually thin, quiet, and aloof, keeping some distance from the crowd. They often like to sit straight up and look around with short glances; observent but quiet. In fact, Metal dogs are naturally obedient and often don’t need to be tied up. They will be happy at the Master’s return however to get their leash on and head out!
The Wood Dog — directed and flexible
A good brand image for the dog. They are wiry dogs, usually in good shape, and active. They may bark or growl which is a typical defensive response. Happy to wait for the Master’s return and gaze around their environment right in the mix, greeting both dogs and humans actively.
The Earth Dog — solid and nurturing
Usually possessing a heavier body type, they are prone to lying down and getting comfortable. They are relaxed, possessing a calm and good natured face, moving and reacting slower than other dogs.
The Water Dog — curious and changeable
They sniff around a lot; people, other dogs, and the ground. They’re often shy around new people and may hide behind their owner. They seem active and focused one minute, then all of a sudden they turn their head quickly and stare at nothing in particular. Just like water, they are all over the place.
What can we say about the Elements? Without saying anything, you already understand more than I can explain. Go wade through the river (Water) or sit on the beach and watch the sea. Listen to the trees (Wood) sway in the wind. At night, sit in front of the campfire (Fire); walk on the (Earth) in the morning and dig up a piece of fool’s gold (Metal)!
Just experience nature directly for now and let it be revealed; no rush — keep watching, it is coming. Even before you can identify the Five Element type for the dog, you will begin to see differences in movement, body type, and behavior; looking and seeing the little things is most important! If you are patient, these will make the big thing.
Keep reading, keep watching!