Thursday, March 18, 2010

The dangers of "humanizing" your dog.

I hear it all the time. "Fluffy is like my sister!!" "Scooter is like my other son." "Muffin is my baby!!"
These are cute. However, they are not in the dog's best interest.
Let me flip the script for a second to see if this makes sense.
A lady has a baby. A beautiful little girl named Piper. She holds her lovingly, snuggles her, strokes her tiny little head. She then gets home from the hospital, lays a little mat on the floor, and puts the baby on it. In the morning she puts a leash around the baby's neck, and pulls it out for a walk into the yard. When she brings the baby in, she puts some water and kernels of food in a bowl and sits the baby in front of it so it can eat. When the baby accidentally pees on the floor, the mom takes it by the neck, sticks it's nose in the pee, and smacks it on the butt.
Sound like a negligent parent?
Because a baby is not a dog, and shouldn't be treated like one. Humans have different needs then dogs that need be met.
So, why is it ok to do the above with a puppy?
Dogs have a certain set of needs that we don't. They crave exercise, they crave leadership, they crave something to do. They have an ingrained need to migrate. When these aren't met, we wind up with a dog with psychological issues.
Putting a chihuahua in a bag and toting it around town is cute and all, but, where is the dog's need to walk being met? It's not. This is for the benefit of the dog owner, not the dog. A dog who is allowed to sleep in bed with you, or to lay around on your furniture is also being done an injustice. Dogs in the wild follow rules. They have limitations. They are allowed to do certain things by their pack leaders and not allowed to do other things. They live with structure, and crave structure on a deep psychological level. We let our dogs go wherever they want, yet smack them or punish them when they do something wrong.
Wait, what? How could they do something wrong when they could do whatever they want?
Dogs need rules and structure. Actually, we do too. We just like to think we don't.
I am not saying don't love your dogs, or don't carry them, or pet them or whatever. What I am saying is, don't treat them like they are humans because then you are taking away the basic needs, and this is not only unfair, but can cause problems. Remember they are a dog first, THEN they are Fido. Treat them appropriately.
The Doggy Guru
Helping you, help your dog.

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