Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts. Okay; we are all guilty of anthropomorphizing to a degree, although some people take it to scary degrees. Last night I turned the channel to a show where human couples had adopted monkey's as their kids. No the animals were not purchased as pets; they were clearly tiny human substitutes. I watched in amazement as one woman was applying makeup to her little hairy daughter; odd to say the least. As far as dogs are concerned we all put human emotions on them at some time or another as well.
I am not into dressing dogs as humans; but I do believe in dressing for warmth. It was we humans who made the smooth coated and hairless dogs so we better keep them warm. My poodles are at this moment covered in blankets; they got a new haircut about a week ago and it was cold last night. It can be difficult not to place human emotion on our dogs but it simply is not how they work. Dog emotions are a far cry from our emotional roller coaster; they tell it like it is. Dogs don't lie; they don't play games, they don't do revenge or spite and they don't spend quality time on stupid drama. When humans think that dogs are doing some of these listed behaviors it is our mistake, not the dogs.
Dogs are very clear and when a dog is feeling; their emotions are shown in exterior body language. It is sad to see dogs clearly communicating to their guardian who in turn are oblivious to what is going on with their dog. I hate to see dogs being hauled around like a little ornaments; with no regard to the true dog wanting to be a dog. When I hear comments like "oh no she doesn't like to get dirty," or "she loves this sweater" I cringe. The list of of human emotions that some people put on their dog can lead to all sorts of issues between canine and guardian. For one; many people think that rules and regulations are mean. I see dogs who don't listen to their guardian all the time; this is probably one of my biggest irks. Dogs have to listen; yes dogs have their own mind and their own agenda but if I speak they must listen. If you have not taught your dog to listen to you; then you have failed.
Not listening and doing what they are told are entirely different; albeit the same. Not listening is simply a lack of respect and not doing as you as is very "I'll do what I want." It amazes me when people call their dog and they don't even get an acknowledgement; and they are okay with this. "Oh; she is busy right now; she didn't want to go for a walk today," or "she has to be in the mood." No; it's not cute and it could be dangerous. When you add a dog to your family you should learn about dogs; really about dogs. We are the leader; bottom line. If your dog is the leader and believe me there are a lot of leader dogs out there ruling their guardians lives. If you are not a good leader then you have failed your dog.
The term leader is getting a bad wrap these days. With regards to dogs in our home; they need a leader and that must be the human. Being a leader has nothing to do with strength, physical assertion or anger. Leadership is the act or an instance of leading; and when paired with the canine species it is our job to show them how to properly live in our very human world. But to try to mold them into little humans or misconstrue their behavior as human is unjust to them as a species. Dogs display a lot of behaviors that may be unwanted by us; and that is because they are dogs.
It is difficult to not put human emotion onto our dogs; hey I'm guilty. But to try to mold them into little humans or expect them to act like a good little human; well that is where it all goes wrong. Dogs growl, dig, mark, jump, bite, lick and steal. All of which are very unacceptable behaviors for a human; but they aren't are they?