Do you know what it means for a dog to be humanized? Transferring our way of seeing the world as human beings to the animal world is an increasingly frequent phenomenon today. Treat dogs like children, dress them up in costumes, celebrate birthday parties for them in the style of what they would do for children … All this may seem tender and even fun, but how does your dog perceive it?
Next, in Animal Expert, we talk about the characteristics of a humanized dog . Do you want to know if your faithful companion is one of them? Then keep reading!
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- What does humanizing a dog consist of?
- Is it wrong to humanize dogs?
- How to know if your dog is humanized?
- Behavior of a humanized dog
- Consequences of humanizing your dog
- How to dehumanize a dog?
What does humanizing a dog consist of?
Humanizing a dog is about giving it anthropomorphic characteristics . This means attributing emotions, attitudes and views of the world typical of the human being. Not only does it happen with dogs, but the humanization of any animal receives this name.
This does not mean that treating dogs as family members, giving them care and nurturing, is a negative practice. The mistake is to ignore the inherent needs of the canine species, turning to providing care similar to that you would have with a small child, thus falling into the failure to treat a dog as a baby .
Dressing up your dog for Halloween, for example, may be fine for an occasion, but dressing it daily with clothes that do nothing to protect it from the weather? That is questionable, especially when this clothing does not fulfill any function beyond the decoration itself.
This phenomenon of humanizing the dog usually develops when the animal’s guardian is alone , with his pet as the only company. It also arises from a desire to understand the dog’s emotions, which leads to misinterpreting them, since it is intended to find an equivalent between his reactions and those of the human being.
Is it wrong to humanize dogs?
Surely you are wondering what is the problem in humanizing your dog? The main drawback is that, when treating him as a human being, the basic needs of his species are overlooked , which translates into multiple behavioral problems that, in most cases, are interpreted as “whims” by the owner. Thus, humanizing dogs is a mistake .
Although it is normal to feel tenderness and love for your dog, this cannot blind you to understand that they are different animals from us and that, although they share many characteristics, recognizing those that are characteristic of the species will help you provide a better quality of life. For example, preparing a birthday cake and throwing a party is not the most important thing for your furry friend, as it is if he has the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and people, exercise daily and receive a proper education, for example.
A humanized dog, moreover, is usually allowed anything inside the home, because there are no limits when thinking that this can “traumatize” him or mean that he is not wanted. The result is difficult animals to control , which generates many conflicts in the home.
The ideal is to find a balance between the love and care you provide your dog, always necessary, and the recognition and satisfaction of his instinctive needs. Only then will your pet have a balanced life and the relationship between it and the family will be harmonious.
How to know if your dog is humanized?
The humanization of the dog is the product of the relationship it has with its human companions, that is, with the way it is treated. If you recognize yourself in several of these actions, then you humanize your dog.
1. Eat the same food as you
Something typical is getting the dog used to eating from your own food . A bite to share an ingredient that you know he likes may very well eventually, but pretending to eat the same food as people is a mistake. Why? The nutritional needs of dogs are different from human, so not only will they lack vitamins and minerals, but it is very possible that you are administering ingredients that are common in culinary preparations but toxic to dogs.
We can offer the animal a homemade diet without problem, since in fact it is highly beneficial, but well done. For this, we recommend consulting the article “Natural food for dogs”. Thus, the mistake here is not to give food for human consumption, but to give food cooked and subjected to inadequate processes for the dog’s digestive system.
2. Getting the dog used to the toilet
Trying to get the dog to learn to urinate and defecate in the toilet is also a sign of humanization in dogs. As fun or practical as this may sound, it is unnatural in dogs and can cause you to not recognize what other dogs do when they are seen raising their paws for this.
3. Treat the dog like a baby
Dressing him up as a baby, riding him in a stroller , stroller or stroller for infants is also very harmful. The dog needs to explore, sniff, run, and jump, and by transporting it in this way it cannot. The result: stress from lack of interaction, in addition to destructive behaviors.
On the other hand, it is very common to attribute to the dog feelings that are properly human , such as guilt and hatred, which leads to linking certain attitudes that you observe with said emotions. By doing this, you completely ignore what a specific reaction may be generating in the dog. Of course, dogs are animals that have feelings and experience emotions, some even very similar to ours, but as we say not all. Thus, a dog is able to identify that it has done something wrong just when doing it, but after a while it will not feel this “guilt”, as we could do. Likewise, there are still no conclusive studies that deny or confirm the exact emotions that dogs feel.
These are just some of the things that humanize your dog and you must keep them in mind to avoid them and meet the real needs of this animal species.
Behavior of a humanized dog
You will notice that your dog is humanized because it does not respect the rules of the home . It is common in these dogs to pretend to exceed the limits that are usually set for a pet. This obviously is because you have allowed it. An example of this is that the dog tries to get on the table to take food, wants to occupy the same spaces as humans in bed or on the couch, among others.
The aggressiveness is also a common factor when you have a humanized dog, and mostly occurs when the can not get what you want. For example, start biting if you don’t want to pick him up, get violent if you lower him from a chair or bed. In general, when a person perceives any of these reactions in their dog, they choose to undo the action that has bothered the animal (return it to the chair or bed). In this way, however, the dog is only reinforced by the feeling that with a few grunts he will get everything he wants.
It is also frequent that they show fear and nervousness before unknown stimuli , frightening themselves uncontrollably, and that their tutors react as they would with a person. Although fear is a normal emotion, it is important to understand how to manage it in a dog, since the animal does not understand encouraging words such as “don’t be afraid”. Likewise, it is essential not to reinforce negative behaviors, such as hugging the animal when it is very upset, but rather working on the appropriate reactions, such as petting the dog when it remains calm.
Consequences of humanizing your dog
Beyond how fun it can be to treat dogs as if they were people, or the happiness you think you are providing in this way, the truth is that this abnormal education and completely away from the instinct of the dog has serious consequences for their health , both physically and psychologically.
- Stress: It is triggered because the animal cannot satisfy its instinctive needs , such as running when walking or exploring the street.
- Neurotic-destructive behavior: the dog cannot properly drain his desire to play, as he is not stimulated to do so (overprotection), so it is common for him to become destructive and adopt repetitive behaviors , such as biting his tail or obsessing over a specific object.
- Socialization issues: A humanized dog is seldom allowed to interact with other dogs, as they are thought to be able to harm him. As a consequence, the animal develops insecurity when it comes to relating to its fellows, and many times it does not even recognize them as equals. This is reinforced in dogs that are taught to use the toilet and in those who wear clothes all the time, as they are unable to decipher and understand the behaviors of their breed.
- Overweight: Humanized dogs tend to be obese, as they are given diets that are not suitable for them, in addition to giving them sweets and treats. It is also common for them to gain weight because the caloric expenditure in exercise is much less than the amount of food they consume. This triggers other health problems, such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
- Anxiety: occurs when the dog gets used to being 24 hours a day with its human companion, so it reacts negatively when having to separate. Because of this, she has diarrhea, tics, palpitations, and other signs of separation anxiety .
How to dehumanize a dog?
The first thing is to recognize and understand that your dog belongs to a different species than yours . That does not mean that you should stop taking care of it or pamper it, just do it in the right and necessary measure, while allowing it to unleash its instinct and perform the activities that every dog needs to be healthy.
Start exercise sessions for your dog. Take him out for a walk, jog in the park, play fetch and fetch with him, let him explore the world around him, meet new smells, other dogs and other people. To socialize it correctly, do not hesitate to review the article ” How to socialize an adult dog “.
Understand that your dog needs quality feed or homemade food but specially formulated for dogs . What is tasty for you can be negative for him, in addition to lacking the elements he needs to be healthy.
The education is important. It does not imply being strict or authoritative with your dog, just setting limits, as with any other family member, on what actions are allowed. With these guidelines, coexistence will be more harmonious, and you will save your dog confusion when he does something that bothers some people and that you usually allow.
Also remember to use a veterinary ethologist to study the specific case of your dog if it is already humanized.