Do other countries have the gushy "Who's a good boy?" attitude towards their dogs?

A lot of Americans have the gushy “Who’s a good boy???..You’re a good boy!!” beaming attitude of approval towards their dog as their dog wags their tail furiously.

Just wondered if this is common in non-American nations as well? (I realize that “non-American” spans an immense and diverse range of cultures, so it can’t be a blanket term)

We’ve noticed that in the Caribbean, many Europeans, especially the French, vacation with their dogs. They bring their dogs to restaurants, the beach, on hikes, etc. That said, they do not gush over the dog, it is just there, not begging or wanting attention.

If your dog is sitting at the table at your vacation restaurant, I think it is fair to say one thinks of it in family terms.

Dogs with jobs might sometimes be considered in less gushy ways by farmers, mailmen or security. But considering how great dogs are, probably less often than supposed.

Some countries have packs of scary wild dogs roaming around. I suspect these countries can be less effusive. In other countries, dogs are beloved but clearly play a lesser role around the house and would never be considered good parental substitutes.

I’ve read that German pet talk is conventionally conducted in a “silly” squeaky voice and includes phrases like “Guter Junge! Was ist er? Ein guter junge, so ein guter!” (Good boy! What is he? A good boy, such a goodie!), “Braver Hund”, etc. Basically your typical canine conversation of lavish compliment.

Apparently this actually has a name, “Dog-Directed Speech”, and of course there are scientific studies of it.

In certain parts of the world, it would be “Who’s a tasty boy? Who’s a delicious boy?”

? Is that really true about dog-directed speech in some languages, or is it just a gibe about some Asian cultures having a tradition of eating dog meat?

In particular, it would be interesting to know if that sort of phrase is really used in dog-directed speech toward pet animals in cultures where dog meat is eaten. Because AFAICT from very very skimpy knowledge of the subject, there seems to be sort of a general taboo against references to killing and eating in pet-directed speech toward members of species generally considered edible.

For instance, horse meat is eaten in many European cuisines but AFAICT European horse owners don’t praise their horses with references to what yummy sausages they’re going to make. American pet pig owners don’t coo to their pets with remarks about their bacony deliciousness.

It’s not a particularly logical taboo, of course, since Fido and Sunshine and Wilbur can’t understand your references to killing and eating them; they just hear the affectionate tone of your “pet talk”. But, perhaps understandably, humans still seem reluctant to introduce that kind of ghoulish note into their pet-directed speech.

Moderator Note

If this is indeed a comment about some Asian cultures eating dogs, then it is out of line. Please refrain from such comments in the future.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

My brother had two pet chickens he named Original Recipe and Extra Crispy, but he loves black humor.

A former co-worker of mine grew up on a farm in China. One time at work we were talking about dogs and he mentioned they had dogs on their farm when he was a kid. I asked him what they were named and he said they didn’t have names: they were just there to “bite thieves” (I think that was the term he used).

My (Chinese) wife also told me a story about how her sister had a pet rabbit but when she went off to university her father killed it and cooked it.

Of course, nowadays Chinese people in big cities probably do as much coddling of their pets as people in North America.

Not exactly the same, but when a farmer friend in Ontario decided to get into raising beef cattle years ago, he started with two cows. He had a number of horses, all of whom had names, so I asked him if he named the two cows. “Yep,” he replied, “They’re called ‘Lunch’ and ‘Dinner.’”

More to the OP, I don’t own any dogs, but I do have cats, and I have been known to say, “Who’s a good cat?” while giving them belly rubs or ear skritches. Mostly, I get looks that can be interpreted as, “Why do I put up with this?”

Well, we have a brand of dog treats in the UK called ‘Good Boy’ which was established all the way back in the 1960s, so I would say (a) this is not a uniquely American thing and (b) it’s not new, either.

For the record, my Dylan Dog is a Very Good Boy.

I’ve seen MANY French people gush over their dogs. Why wouldn’t they?

I’ve never been to France. Because St Martin is French, many vacationers there are from France. I’m just sharing observations. Their dogs seem well trained and totally comfortable lying under a restaurant table.

Reminds me of having a wonderful charcuterie lunch on the large verandah of an old farmhouse that had become part of a winery complex here in the wine country of southern Ontario. The official winery dog, a very relaxed and pleasant old fellow, spent a good deal of time under our table, attracted perhaps in part by an instinctive alignment with my canine-loving brainwaves, or perhaps in part by the fact that I was surreptitiously feeding him portions of my cheese and cold-cuts. :yum: Anyway, lunch among the vineyards on a warm summer afternoon, on the verandah of an old farmhouse, with some very nice wines, and with an old dog relaxing under the table made for an extremely pleasant afternoon. I believe the serving staff asked if we minded the dog. I was grateful that I didn’t have to pay extra for his company!

I used to have a pet cat with a really gorgeous pelt. I told her she would make a wonderful pair of earmuffs when she purred on my lap.

Damn, I miss that cat. She was so sweet. :cry:

Devotion to a dog by a French agent in WWII (Lily Sergeyev, code-named TREASURE) almost torpedoed a deception campaign aimed at convincing the Germans that the invasion of France would occur at Calais, not Normandy. According to MI5:

“TREASURE had left her beloved dog, Babs, in Gibraltar due to British quarantine rules, but was intent on bringing Babs to the United Kingdom. In 1943, she told Sherer she would refuse to send any further messages to the Abwehr until they had been reunited. TREASURE relented a few months later and restarted communication with the Germans, but the situation deteriorated again when the unfortunate Babs died in Gibraltar, a few weeks before D-Day. TREASURE confessed to Sherer that she had hatched a plan to wreak revenge on the British for Babs’ death by warning her German handlers via a code that she could insert in her transmissions to indicate that she had been compromised, but would not tell Sherer what the code was.”

International Women's Day: MI5's first female agent runner | MI5 - The Security Service

I may have slightly taught my cat to speak. When I say “Who’s a good girl,” she goes “Guh guh.”

Just because they’re destined to become food doesn’t mean animals can’t be considered pets and treated with affection.In the U.S., 4H students raise and often pamper the their animals, proudly showing how well they’re cared for.

If you can, watch the outstanding School Days with a Pig, supposedly based on a true story. A 6th grade class raise a piglet, P-chan, as a class project to teach them where their food truly comes from. At the end of the year they debate whether to they will follow through and send P-Chan to the processor or leave it to next years class. The acting and discussion during the final debate between the children is brilliant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPAaT8MH8E4

This isn’t Babe! They decide to send P-Chan off.

Our neighbors own a farm/orchard/farm market. Every year in March they purchase 4-6 feeder pigs that eat all the food that’s not fit for sale. They post pig pics on Facebook documenting their rapid growth. People request pig pics when they don’t post often enough.

The pigs have a pretty good life, with just one bad day. Yet, when they post pics of the pigs leaving for slaughter, there are always some people who freak out on them. There are actually people who think the pigs are farm pets!