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Thread: Anthropomorphism

  1. #1
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    Default Anthropomorphism

    Just for discussion.

    The Dangers of Anthropomorphism - Experts Say It's A Mistake To Humanize Your Dog!

    Anthropomorphism is a word that means to assign human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects. Humanizing a dog happens all too often as their human swears, “my dog doesn’t know he’s a dog!” I assure you he does.

    BOISE, Idaho — "Oh, isn't he cute? My little smootchie-wootchy!" Some women talk baby-talk to their boyfriend or husband.

    Some folks talk baby-talk to, well, babies.

    And some of us talk baby-talk — to our animals.

    "You shouldn't use the D-word, as far as we're concerned," Diane Turner said. Turner is the proud owner of a pug named Madison, and, as the local pug meet-up group organizer, she's speaking for the entire pug-owner world.

    "Madison is my baby, and that's the beginning and end of everything."

    So, what's wrong with this picture? Some experts say that humanizing your pet — anthropomorphism — is just not the right relationship.

    "People humanize dogs and don't understand their psychology as pack animals," Cesar Millan, also known as the Dog Whisperer, said on his Web site. Millan has made a business — and a small fortune — by helping people live happily with problem dogs. He's been known to turn a nonstop barker/biter into a pussycat in a matter of 30 minutes.

    "I begin by showing the dog that I am the pack leader," Millan said. "I fulfill the dog's need through exercise, which is walking the dog in the correct way. I give the dog rules, boundaries, and limitations ... and then affection." Millan said that especially in America, dog owners tend to overdo it on doggy love. They "give affection, affection, and more affection, when what the dog really needs is exercise, discipline — and then affection." Turner contends that, at least for her pug Madison — and any other pug for that matter — the outpouring of affection is in no way detrimental.

    "She is our baby; they're part of the family and have the consideration anyone else in the family has. They send (Madison) cards, she sends cards, gives and receives Christmas presents.

    "They're obviously not human," Turner acknowledged, a bit begrudgingly, "but that doesn't make them any less a member of the family." And, she adds, it's not that Madison runs roughshod over the household. Turner believes in disciplining Madison — but more as you would discipline a child.

    Millan says, though, that treating dogs like people can cause problems and, more often than not, it just doesn't work.

    "Many of my clients call their dog their soul mate or their baby, but the dog tears up the furniture and drags them all over the neighborhood on a walk," he said. "The client pleads with the dog to behave, cajoles the dog, and offers her treats with no change in the dog's behavior."


    Dogs are animals, Millan said, and they respond to calm-assertive leadership — "not emotional arguments or negotiations." Dogs have found themselves in an odd predicament by living with humans, he said. In the wild, canines don't need humans to achieve balance. They have a pack leader, work for food, and travel with the pack.

    But when we bring them into our world, "We need to help them achieve balance by fulfilling their needs as nature intended them to be." Millan's formula: "exercise, then discipline, and finally, affection."

    "As the human pack leader, you must set rules, boundaries, and limitations and always project a calm-assertive energy." By adhering to his formula, Millan said, you'll be able to connect with your dog in a deeper way.

    On the other hand, pug owner Turner said there's no need to restrict affection.

    "Madison has rules, she knows she has limitations. And she is very apologetic when she knows that she's done something wrong. She comes and gives me kisses — just like a child would do."
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

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    This one is also anther interesting article but is too long to post here so I have just provided a link and the opening statement;
    The dog delusion | The Humanist | MyWire

    THERE WAS A TIME when "Dog is my co-pilot" was merely a fun slap at the "God is my co-pilot" bumper sticker, and it was funny precisely because nobody would ever think to elevate their dog to such a height. Within the past decade, however, pets--primarily dogs--have soared in importance. ("Dog is my co-pilot" is now the slogan of Bark, a magazine of dog culture, and the title of an anthology--published by Bark's editors--billed as essays, short stories, and expert commentaries that explore "every aspect of our life with dogs.") Canines, with their pack instincts and trainability, are by far the most likely pet to be anthropomorphized as a family member, a best friend, or a "fur baby," treated accordingly with gourmet meals, designer apparel, orthopedic beds, expensive therapy, and catered birthday parties. Some people even feel (and in some cases, demonstrate) that their dogs are worth dying for. Others say the animal lovers are going too far.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

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    To me our pets are our pets. Some humanise them and I agree it can lead to problems. We see this in the bird community all the time too, dressing them up, making them into what some need from them as surrogate children and then wonder why problems occur with the birds.

    My dogs, cats birds are a much loved and respected part of my overall family. Each have their own needs for their species and I try to cater to this as much as possible to provide an appropriately enriching environment for their needs. They also have to fit in with mine as I do theirs which is why I choose carefully which pets suit us and if we suit them.

    I see no problem at all with people having human type fun with their pets on an occasional basis. EG including them with family festivities, own pressies, occasional dress up for photo or card opportunities etc.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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    Two different issues. Anthropomorphising is wrong and generally done IMO by ppl who lack important human relationships. To put it bluntly - IMO it is pathetic. Dogs aren't ppl. Then again I wouldn't baby talk a baby. I work with awoman who us a classic example of thus and who went out and purchased an impulse puppy mutt thing a couple of days ago.

    The other issue is love and devotion. How far would I go for my dog? I know I would kill another dog that attacked mine. I don't love dogs. I love my dogs. Sometimes I love friends dogs. However, I hate this idea that to be an animal lover you have to love them all. There are several breeds I am wholly dispassionate about lol. Would I die fir my dog? Dunno...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Di_dee1 View Post
    To me our pets are our pets. Some humanise them and I agree it can lead to problems. We see this in the bird community all the time too, dressing them up, making them into what some need from them as surrogate children and then wonder why problems occur with the birds.

    They dress up their birds!!!

    Wow, dogs and cats are one thing...but birds?

    Occy, I don't believe that it is a problem with people who lack human relationships, I think it is more broad than that to be honest. I acknowledge that there are people in this world who do substitute animals for family because they are lonely or isolated, but I think it is more of a general direction that western society as a whole is taking in regards to how we treat our animals, particulary dogs.

    I also believe that many of the issues we see with our dogs now are all because we have ceased to see them as canines in a true sense. We see them as part of our families now. We see ourselves as being part of their pack.

    I am sure my dogs recognise I am not a canine. I am also sure that although they respect and acknowledge my leadership, I am not part of their pack.

    When I have rescues in, I watch them all jostle and I watch them determine where each dog sits in the new order. They would do this with or without me being there. The leader will be the leader regardless of me being there or not. My leadership plays no bearing on their pack. They each respect me as I am the stronger and more capable animal, but I am not a leader of their pack.
    Last edited by Anne; 11-27-2009 at 08:23 AM.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

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    Running out another line of thought - it's like this crazy diet thing and dogs now not being suitable to live outdoors.

    We debate and argue different diets. No-one is ever game to stand up and say "I feed mine table scraps only" or "I feed my dogs food that I purchase from the supermarket" because simple things like that are now considered heinous crimes against canines.

    If your dare admit to allowing your dog to sleep outside you are branded a horrible uncaring person.

    When did dogs cease to be animals?

    For those who might want to take my words literally out of context - stop right there. I am not saying that all dogs can survive outside or that feeding crap to a dog is good for it. Put the discussion in context please before you respond. I have dogs that live in side and I feed them primarily a raw diet. Go beyond that and think about the actual discussion and read the articles provided.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

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    I need to echo Anne-birds
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

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    Yep, birds. Owners can be like that with them just as some are with dogs. Admittedly the numbers are far smaller. One girl even has a business of bird costumes. Needless to say, I never posted in those threads. They think it just as cute as people do doing it with dogs and cats.

    To me...what is the difference whether a bird cat or dog or pet snake, etc.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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    That reminds me of another Pug specific forum that I am on Di Dee, there is a forum section that is specificlly for members to talk as if they are their Pugs. There are all these threads with "Ruff..hi, I'm Rosie and I fink vat ur very handsome Butch" and that sort of stuff.

    It makes my skin crawl!!!
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    That reminds me of another Pug specific forum that I am on Di Dee, there is a forum section that is specificlly for members to talk as if they are their Pugs. There are all these threads with "Ruff..hi, I'm Rosie and I fink vat ur very handsome Butch" and that sort of stuff.

    It makes my skin crawl!!!
    On the bird one that I am referring to, I did like a thread. The woman was posting, I guess like in my label thread but she did it by her bird giving the information...eg, Hi, this is polly, ***isn't doing well at the moment so I am going to fill you in....cute. Loved it, done from the bird's perspective too.

    The type of threads though you are talking of would be cringe making to me too.

    I don't do coochy coo talk to the pups, it is mainly "hi monsters.....

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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