Dogs are not Children

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Why Dogs Need Each Other.

You are probably aware of the fact that most dogs prize human companionship. This is true for virtually all breeds, provided they are cared for properly and socialized among people from a young age. Research conducted at an Indian University indicated that the bond between an owner and his or her dog is similar to the bond between a youngster and a parent. This theory has been explored with research methods that are similar to those used by psychologists to test children. Therefore, although the relationship between you and your dog is strong, it does not replace the sibling-like relationships that occur between a dog and other animals of its kind.

One of the biggest mistakes dog owners can make with their pets is to go too far when treating them like humans. For example, if you are like many animal lovers, you may refer to your dog as your “baby,” or call your pets your “children.” However, it is still important for you to remember that Rover is not a person, and has different physical and emotional needs than do humans. Although there are some similarities between humans and dogs concerning the latter categories, there are also some major differences. For example, humans are solitary creatures, but dogs are pack animals. Even though one can argue that his or her family unit can fulfill the dog’s pack instincts by filling the roles of the alpha male and female, dogs still look for other canines to complete the “pack.” In other words, regardless of how many humans are present, the dog will still look for a pack society of its own kind. It is only in rare cases that a dog does not need the companionship of other canines. For instance, service dogs are trained to interact with only one person and that is essentially the dog’s sole vision. However, traditional household pets need to interact with other canines.

Because dogs are pack animals, as previously mentioned, they are highly social creatures. Without regular social interaction with other dogs, they have the potential to become obstructive, aggressive, and develop behavioral issues. Imagine spending your life in one area without social interaction or regular exercise. You would likely become maladjusted and somewhat emotionally disturbed.

If you are like many dog owners, you have probably heard at least one fellow animal enthusiast talking about how his or her dog does not like other animals and prefers to be around people. However, if this is truly the case, it is likely due to the fact that the dog was not conditioned to playing and interacting with other canines as it matured. When dogs are sequestered from other animals of their species, they will develop trepidation and suspicion when and if they do eventually come in contact with other canines. To help understand this type of situation, picture a child who has no siblings being home-schooled and having no playmates of his or her own age. Then imagine that the youngster is suddenly thrust into a social situation with several other children. His or her first reaction would likely be to run back to the area where only adults are present, because that is what the child was previously conditioned to on a long-term basis. It is no different with dogs, and therefore people who claim their pets do not like other dogs have probably not appropriately conditioned them when they were young. In other words, the problem was likely created by the owner rather than something within the dog’s personality. This is one of the many examples of why keeping dog isolated from other animals of their kind is problematic. Anyone with plans to acquire a new puppy should make socialization with other dogs an integral part of his or her training and speak to a qualified veterinarian concerning how much play time and social interaction is appropriate for that dog’s breed.

About the Author

Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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