K9academy


HomeCalendarFAQSearchMemberlistRegisterLog in

 

 Anthropomorphism

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Author Message
Steven_L
Admin
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1628
Reputation : 120
Join date : 2009-09-28
Location : Southern California, USA

PostSubject: Anthropomorphism   Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:00 pm

an·thro·po·mor·phism (ān'thrə-pə-môr'fĭz'əm)
n. Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.

American pets are getting naughtier by the minute. As the demand for dog behaviorists and for prescription medication to combat "Doggie A.D.D." and anxiety continue to escalate, we have to wonder who's to blame for this hazardous trend. To answer the question, we have to first understand the phenomenon behind treating pets as humans.
As the number of kids per household declines, the number of pets is increasing. Baby boomers, a powerful segment of today's market, are quickly becoming empty-nesters and replacing their grown two-legged children with four-legged ones. Look no further than the proliferation of the term "pet parent" versus "pet owner". In fact, a full 83% of pet owners now call themselves their pet's mommy or daddy.

One possible incubator of anthropomorphism leads directly to the burgeoning pet retail industry and the marketers who want your every pet dollar. Now a $43.4 billion annual jackpot for companies - larger than the entire U.S. toy industry - pet care spending has reached unprecedented levels of growth and staying power despite a recent turbulent economy.

"By buying pets human-type gifts, we are making ourselves feel good and making them happy." says Bob Vetere, chief operating officer of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. According to marketing strategist Lisa Lehr, this trend suggests a hugely profitable strategy for entrepreneurs in the pet business to position pets as members of the family. "People are eager to spend a lot of money on their pets. You might as well be positioned to receive your share," states Lehr. The unfortunate consequence, however? A misguided view of canine psychology that's given rise to undesirable dog behavior in thousands, if not millions, of homes across the country.

Expecting dogs to think like a human is fairly widespread among pet owners. One reason that ancient Fido likely earned the title "Man's Best Friend" versus other animals was his remarkable ability to adapt his life to fit with ours. It is this very skill set that is likely the cause for our frequently misreading of his intentions and motives.

Dogs ultimately need rules, boundaries and limitations. When dogs live with humans, the humans become the dog's pack. For this modern relationship to succeed, we must be perceived as the pack's leader. To a dog, constant affection, gifts and accommodations without rules, boundaries and limitations goes against every grain in a dog's instinct.

In other words, dogs need to be treated like...well, dogs. And, pardon me, for such a politically unpopular statement!

All but the most chronic anthropomorphic dog owners can improve their relationship with their dog and ultimately their behavior if they make a valid effort to understand their dog's unique emotional makeup. Whereas throwing your dog a birthday party (hey, I've done it!) or filling a holiday stocking with treats is not a heinous dog-behavioral crime, people should be wary when their own actions impinge on providing proper timing and fair corrections for their dog.

When a dog is in any other state than being calm and submissive (e.g., if he's aggressive, obsessive, scared, hyper or anxious) and we give him a hug or pat on the head and tell him it's OK, it is comforting to us, but it only feeds the state of mind for the dog, making the experience more intense. While we think we're soothing the dog, the dog sees us as being a weak leader.

Let's look at an example. Many dogs are naturally afraid of fireworks or thunder. During the experience, the dog is in a weak state of mind. If we step in and comfort the dog in a way we understand (e.g., hugging or baby talk), the dog actually sees us as being weaker than himself at that moment. For your dog to be in a weak state of mind, and then be surrounded by a weaker state of mind, only intensifies his original fear.

Anthropomorphic "parents" often discover that their dog has separation anxiety (sometimes manifested by destructive behavior). In a pack, the leader is allowed to leave, however the followers never leave the leader. If your dog instinctually sees you as the follower and you leave him, the situation causes so much mental anguish that he begins to take it out on your house, or worse, on himself. Owners may want to think twice before buying that $3,000 four poster canopy doggie bed and catering to their dog's every humanistic desire.

Whether it's the pet marketers to blame, or the glut of Hollywood films now portraying pets as humans (have you seen Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua?), giving dogs mixed leadership signals throws him off balance, confuses his psyche and ignites a canine imbalance. Whenever we try to evaluate canine behavior using human values we run the risk of misinterpreting our dog's emotions and motives, while making minor behavioral issues become chronic.

So the next time you want to join the 63% of dog owners who engage in a little kissy kissy with Fido on the bed, let the conventional disciplinarian in you take over and remind yourself that it's not only OK to treat your dog like a dog, but it's the BEST way to live in complete harmony with him.

From Michael Landa, for About.com

_________________


For more information on your furry companion visit K9Domain!
http://k9domain.web.officelive.com/default.aspx


Last edited by Steven_L on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://k9domain.web.officelive.com
Betterdog4u
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1139
Reputation : 222
Join date : 2009-10-19
Location : Eastern Iowa

PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism   Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:21 pm

I guess I agree in part with the author, but must disagree with a few points made.

I agree that current "marketing" is geared toward selling us something to make our dogs happy and at the same time making us feel good that we are giving our dogs great gifts. It's called instant gratification!!! And it's also true that many dog owners treat their dogs like little humans, babies, kids or one of many other terms use to humanize our pets.

But where I guess I have a problem is: In itself, buying your dog expensive gifts is NOT the real problem!!!

The problem comes when humans (who have a natural need to nurture) replace thier feelings of emotional love for other humans and put these feelings onto thier dog. Often times humans have issues connecting with other humans on an emotional level. The result is that they subsitute this connection and expect the dog to be able to fill this void. They then think that the dog completely understands why they got an expensive gift. They also think that the dog can tell the difference between a $4 collar and a $5000 diamond studded one. Since a dog is not capable of offering this connection back, humans invent it in thier mind. It becomes dangerous when the owner ALLOWS the dog to do what ever it wants to, and they do not (or will not) take a leadership role with the dog.

The author also states: Dogs ultimately need rules, boundaries and limitations. When dogs live with humans, the humans become the dog's pack. For this modern relationship to succeed, we must be perceived as the pack's leader. To a dog, constant affection, gifts and accommodations without rules, boundaries and limitations goes against every grain in a dog's instinct. I cant argue with the "rules, boundaries and limitations" thing ... Dog's need structure and leadership, but I dont believe that the dog will take over the leadership role. My opinion is that the dog will simply not respect for you, and therefore will not listen to you. There is a reason I believe this. It has been my experiance (time after time) that as soon as someone who has good leadership skills walks in the room and begins to use them, the dog falls into line rather quickly.

It sounds to me as if the author is a "Cesar" follower so it doesn't suprise me to see the CM retoric being used. The line stating that the 63% of dog owners who engage in a little kissy kissy with Fido are causing thier dogs to become "unbalanced" is simply ludicrous. I give my dogs TONS of love, it just happens to be in equal preportion to rules, friendship and proper guidance.

Yes, Anthropomorphic "parents" do cause problems. But a simple "Attitude Adjustment" via some basic instruction by sites like this (and in person by ppl like us) could keep thousands of dogs out of shelters and rescues next year. It up to all of us who "know better" to educate those who don't!!!

_________________
- Michael -

Full of Life ... and Herself - Visit Patchs' Website
My Best Friend & Faithful Companion - Visit Neka's Memorial Website
My Little Buddy for 15+ Years - Visit Chip's Memorial Website



Last edited by Betterdog4u on Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ABETTERDOG4U.com
Betterdog4u
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1139
Reputation : 222
Join date : 2009-10-19
Location : Eastern Iowa

PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism   Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:25 pm

BTW, I forgot to mention one other thing. It is posible to say, "My two dogs sometimes fight over the ball like to little kids" without being anthropomorphic. Knowing the difference is in the word "LIKE" in the phrase "like two little kids".

_________________
- Michael -

Full of Life ... and Herself - Visit Patchs' Website
My Best Friend & Faithful Companion - Visit Neka's Memorial Website
My Little Buddy for 15+ Years - Visit Chip's Memorial Website

Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.ABETTERDOG4U.com
Steven_L
Admin
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1628
Reputation : 120
Join date : 2009-09-28
Location : Southern California, USA

PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism   Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:11 pm

Can't say I disagree with you on those points there Wink

_________________


For more information on your furry companion visit K9Domain!
http://k9domain.web.officelive.com/default.aspx
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://k9domain.web.officelive.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism   

Back to top Go down
 

Anthropomorphism

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum: You cannot reply to topics in this forum
K9academy :: Dog Forums :: Dog Training and Behavior -
Make a forum | © phpBB | Free forum support | Contact | Report an abuse | Free forum