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Thread: Pet Dogs

  1. #1
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    Default Pet Dogs

    I've always found the idea of humans "owning" another creature to be a bit silly- I'm pretty sure that my dog thinks that I'm his pet human after all! After watching an interesting documentary the other day on the domestication of dogs though I started to wonder what benefits domestication of dogs has for both the dogs and the humans! Why do we have pets? What do pets do for us?
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Hi, w,

    I just started watching a lot of Dog Whisperer and I can relate it to your question. Dogs and humans can benefit each other by calming each other down. Humans who assume dominant roles with their dogs (through calm and assertive behavior and cognition) can submit their dogs and release a lot of nervous tension. Both end up being more peaceful as they let go of anxiety and accept security (which is the same thing, imo).

    Other advantages: companionship, fun, exercise, distraction, outlet for affection, narcissism, and nostalgia.

    Nice observation about "owning" creatures, btw. It is pretty ridiculous to think that someone can own a creature. Then again, all property rights (even in your computer) exist by virtue of mutual agreement. No one really "owns" anything.

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I originally got my dog as a poor man's security system, not for attacking or guarding, just for barking and a deterrent. I got our second dog as a companion for her. They are only medium-sized dogs. One is way friendly and the other is extremely shy, but people are sometimes afraid of them, which puzzles me no end. I don't mind it though. People that don't know us are welcome to think we have scary dogs.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    Ooh- I love the Dog Whisperer! I think that the difference between what people think that a dog is conveying through its body language and what the dog actually is saying is rather interesting- and it makes it a lot easier to understand the dynamics between pet and owner if you understand what your dog means by rolling over on its back or putting its paw on your computer keyboard (damned dog )

    The fact that dogs are naturally social animals who have a firm beleif in social heirarchies and are used to communicating social position by body language makes human/dog or dog/dog interaction such a fascinating (and useful) thing to study! (and yes- I'll admit to learning things on The Dog Whisperer and trying them out on my own dog )

    and cafe- people are scared of my dog all of the time! He's only 65 pounds, but I think that it's the markings that terrify people
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    I have dogs because they are adorable, they bring me the sense of safety and they are good in moving people (excercise). The main thing because I have dogs is that I love most animals just because I always have. I don't know why.

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    a white iris elfinchilde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I've always found the idea of humans "owning" another creature to be a bit silly- I'm pretty sure that my dog thinks that I'm his pet human after all! After watching an interesting documentary the other day on the domestication of dogs though I started to wonder what benefits domestication of dogs has for both the dogs and the humans! Why do we have pets? What do pets do for us?
    In elfin-speak: I only have humans as pets, currently. My mum dislikes animals.

    To answer your questions, in wildcat-speak :

    The possession is in the mind.
    The possessor and the possessed are one and the same.
    Who needs?
    The one who's owned.
    You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
    They called me the hyacinth girl.
    Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
    Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
    Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
    Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
    Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

    --T.S Eliot, The Wasteland

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    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    After watching an interesting documentary the other day on the domestication of dogs though I started to wonder what benefits domestication of dogs has for both the dogs and the humans! Why do we have pets? What do pets do for us?
    I'm sorry. . . but I find it hard to believe that the documentary didn't answer these fundamental questions that you are asking.

    I suggest that you re-wind. . . and re-watch.
    "The only time I'm wrong is when I'm questioning myself."
    Haight

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    Quote Originally Posted by elfinchilde View Post
    In elfin-speak: I only have humans as pets, currently. My mum dislikes animals.

    To answer your questions, in wildcat-speak :

    The possession is in the mind.
    The possessor and the possessed are one and the same.
    Who needs?
    The one who's owned.
    I'd say the one who owns, actually. Because he did it out of free choice.

    The possessed did not choose the way the possessor does.

    Pets are good because they are more immediate. It is nice to relate to something whose needs are simpler. Where words are not necessary but trust is.

    Perhaps there can be no equals in relationships.

    What the dog gains, is survival, is it not. He chooses a human pack to run with.

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    the documentary did try to answer the question, but I prefer to get other opinions as well and collect as many thoughts as possible on the issue before coming to any conclusions

    and that makes sense I suppose- I chose to own my dog (though I chose him because he sat up like a trained circus bear and licked my hand )- but we both benefit from the relationship- I get a creature that is completely loyal to me and he gets someone to take care of him!

    The adaptation of instinctual dog pack behavior to the way that a dog behaves with its human owners is fascinating though- as is the way that humans misinterpret dog behavior!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  10. #10
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    I'm sure some have already been said but...

    the relationship is pretty much symbiotic:

    I provide food, shelter and a degree of other predatory protections as well as some "pack" needs like petting, grooming, play and leadership while they provide protection, entertainment, affection... in the form of unconditional acceptance.. and my "pack" or "mothering" needs like nurturing.

    There is also some mystical or supernatural (not sure of the word to use) relationship with one. If you'll indulge me for a moment on that I'll try to explain:

    I got a little Cavalier last year to have in the house as an "alarm" (have two gaurds outside but wanted protection in-house.) Anyway, I didn't want to train a pup so I got a 2-year-old retired breed dog. She had had 3 potential owners come to look at her and she would have nothing to do with them the breeder said (this is an unusually friendly breed.) When I arrived, she went "crazy" jumping on me first and then the door trying to get me to open it so we could go. The breeder said she had never seen her act that way and was confident she had just been awaiting my arrival. The breeder, incidentally, was not a "hoogabooga" type and was, in her words, "floored" by the experience. Also, and this, too, is spooky actually, I was totally unfamiliar with this breed but had "seen" her, mentally, for six months before I saw her picture on the internet. It was intense too.. for instance, I came home from shopping one day and the neighbor told me she saw a dog fitting what later turned out to be mine's description at my back door and I actually cried thinking I had missed her... that's how intense the drive to find/get her was. As soon as I saw her picture, I called and picked her up within the hour. From the very first day of meeting her, she absolutely will not be separated from me. Hubby says she sees me as "her job." So, anyway, as I said, I don't know what to call this but there's some indefinable aspect to our relationship.

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