Kind of really sick of the argument that you shouldn’t treat your dog like your kid.
Maybe you should.
Look, I know what they mean. I’m not stupid. I don’t advocate “babying” your dog. I think the infantilization of dogs (and human kids…. don’t get me started) is a HUGE problem.
But it’s not a problem because you’re treating them like a HUMAN. It’s because you’re treating them like a BABY.
If you reared your dog EXACTLY like you reared your kid….. your dog would be awesome.
The problem isn’t the anthropomorphism…… It’s the fact that you never pick the correct “age”.
Some people treat their dogs like infants, and never allow them the ability to develop to their potential. These dogs have no autonomy. No dignity. They never are allowed to develop self control. Or real relationship. They are accessories to their people. They are animated dollies for your entertainment. And that is ruining dogs, dog owners lives, and making trainers rich.
Others, expect their dog to come out of the box a fully formed adult human with fur. They expect them to understand the human world and our expectations. They assume they have all the same cognitive abilities as a person. A guy told me the other day that his dog chewed up his work shoes because he’s resentful of his job and how much time it takes. He seriously thinks the dog was making a statement, AND trying to stop him from going. Like….. If dad has no work shoes….. Dad can’t go to work. WTF?
Look….. The problem isn’t that people treat their dogs like humans. It’s treating them like an “age” they don’t deserve.
When your kid is a baby you manage their every move. They have cribs (crates) and supervision. You don’t allow them to make choices, because they don’t have the development to make good choices.
Cool….. pups and new dogs should get that treatment.
Then as they grow and mature, and learn…… You give them more freedoms. And, responsibilities. You TEACH them HOW to make choices….. And then you EXPECT them to make those choices correctly. The better at making choices they get…. The more freedom they get. And, the more responsibility they get.
You RAISE them.
You raise them to their potential.
If you lucked out and you get a kid that has the potential to be a brain surgeon….. They will have a ton of freedom (and the responsibility that comes with it).
If your kid is a total dipshit….. They may end up living in your basement. They may need a little more direction in life. And that’s OK.
But you give every kid the CHANCE to develop!
A mentor told me “You’re not done training your dog till you can trust them AT LIBERTY!”.
That means you’re not done till you’ve raised them to be as independent and responsible as they have the potential to be!
I realize dogs aren’t people. And their cognition, and whatever can’t ever reach that of a fully formed adult human.
They will always need more guidance than a brain surgeon.
BUT…… If you’re still treating your dog like an infant or puppy….. You’re doing them a disservice.
So to ME…..
Dogs are not to be treated “less than” human adults because they are “dogs”. I am not a “speciest”.
They should be treated differently because their capacity is different. But we should insist that they reach their full potential, AND THEN HELP THEM REACH IT.
We shouldn’t infantilize them.
You don’t put your 13 year old in a stroller and goo goo talk them. You don’t rock your 14 year old and coo to them as they throw a fit in the store cause you won’t buy them the twinkies.
Why isn’t it just as weird to see people doing that to adult dogs?
I’m not suggesting the cold, hard “dogs are beneath us” attitude. I want parents to hug and be affectionate with their Harvard grads. You deeply love your adult children no? You just raised them, and have expectations.
Maybe you SHOULD raise your dog like you do you kids.
Maybe dogs would be better off.
Or…… maybe you shouldn’t have dogs, or kids.
That would work too.