You must have heard that dogs are human’s best friend and dog owner is also called ‘dog parent’. Hearing these two statements, you can imagine the importance that the dog holds in the life of its owner. For us bringing a new pet home is a big thing! We celebrate every yawn he takes, every bark, every milestone he covers and before we know it we are officially a ‘dog parent’. The term ‘dog parent’ comes with a huge responsibility that seems little before the love we hold for that furry creature. The life of a dog parent is super challenging but equally rewarding.
Humans get attached to animals very quickly and this attachment can lead to expectations; just and unjust. The love we feel for our pets can lead us to lose our balance and show an overwhelming love for them. It may make us treat them as human. This can be extremely dangerous. Animals have very different needs than ours, they have different food palette, different health chart, and different physical and emotional requirements. They are not trained the way humans are trained because the language is totally different.
We must be aware of the similarities and differences between dogs and humans. Only in this way, can we become tolerant, respectful and enjoy the coexistence with our pet and he can do the same.
Treating dogs as humans
Dogs have totally different needs than humans and those traits are attributed to canine species. If we treat them the way we treat out fellows, we would actually be disturbing their physical and mental state. We would even be leading them and even ourselves to personality disorders. Their lives are simpler than ours and by making it complicated, we won’t be doing them much good. For example, dogs do not need to sleep in a bed, or change their menu every day. It is of course appreciated to treat them nicely by making a cozy bed for them, letting them try new foods (occasionally) but only if needed. If you start doing something like this for dog, then keep doing it. We know there will be times when you will notice that all that nicety will feel like burden or worse have even negative effect on the dog. Hence it’s always recommended to go by rules. Treat him like a pet! Because going an extra mile (in your mind), you may just be leading them to negative human feelings and thoughts such as revenge or rancor!
Therefore, a good education of a dog is essential for good coexistence. In addition, to achieve this we must understand that they do not think like us. They learn differently, thanks to associative memory. The dog is able to remember the consequences of his actions and relates them to positive or negative acting in conformity.
Similarities between these two species
Like humans, dogs also like to listen to music. When dog hears something nice and soothing, their bodies produce cortisol and endorphins that gives them a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The love for music is so big that the therapists use music in their therapies to calm down the dogs. Therefore, music is the common denominator between the two.
Dogs love to socialize, and so does humans hence human are called ‘social animals’. Therefore the two species find it really hard to live alone. Loneliness can cause as much damage to a dog as it can to us humans.
Differences between the two species
Dogs have an incredible olfactory ability. They are capable of perceiving stimuli that we will never perceive. This makes them super useful for rescue and rescue operations. Humans on the other hands have a very weak olfactory ability as compared to their animal counterpart.
Also, this animal does not have a great capacity to differentiate flavors, so the food manufactured especially for them has all the nutrients needed. Hence it’s always better to feed them their specified food items. Moreover, feeding the animal with the foods that we eat may be more harmful than beneficial.
Dangers of treating dogs as humans
Seen that the dogs are very different from us, it is clear that their needs are different. So meeting unnecessary needs would only confuse the animal. This could lead to problems of coexistence and behavior.
Dogs are pack animals, they like to follow the hierarchy. They behave best when they understand that their human owner is superior to them, or is their leader. In order to educate them to behave the way we want them, they must feel that we are their leader. If we treat them as humans, they could become confused and want to occupy a place that does not belong to them. This could trigger aggressive behavior with family members, other pets and even other people.
On the other hand, humanizing a dog would make him lose his identity. If the dog does not feel like it, he will no longer be enthusiastic about going outside, eating when it is time, rolling around on the floor, playing with other dogs.
Another problem that could trigger humanizing a dog is socialization. A dog that is around humans all the time would not want to be with other dogs. Being around other animals and dogs is essential to his personality and his good development. Restricting this, would make him an unhappy animal that does not enjoy the company of its fellow men and hence he will develop behavioral issues.
This can happen when he’s expected to stay around humans all the time and not given any space or freedom to socialize with his own species. Socialization is fundamental for the balance of the animal, so not having this would motivate the dog to react exaggerated to certain situations, which could cause him unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided.
With all this, we do not want to imply that we should not love our dogs or anything, but we must do this in perspective of what they are: dogs, not humans. All the above mentioned measures may seem small but they sure have a long lasting effect on your dog’s personality development. It is essential to raise awareness of dog’s abuse. It is essential to differentiate between a positive and negative animal parenting. In different countries, people hold animal abuse awareness walks and gatherings. You can also organize one in your surroundings to contribute to this cause. You can find the awareness badges here.