Dog People: does dog psychology affect your human relations?

Inspired by this thread.

Disclaimer: I’m a cat person, but every now and then I hang out with dogs and their person(s) and notice that some of them view human life in terms of a man (sic)-vs-dog relationship: as a matter of authority, alphaness, dominance, obedience, and control.

Of course, a lot don’t - and their dogs may be just as well behaved, btw. But it’s a phenomenon I think is worth examining - especially to ask: Is this personality particularly drawn to dog fancying, or does keeping and raising dogs (especially multiple dogs) encourage people to see human relations in doggy terms?

Please spare me any lectures about the “nature” of dogs (or humans, or cats) and why it’s “necessary” to treat any of these in any particular way.

I am a dog person and I’m very very good with dogs. It doesn’t impact my view of people relationships except that I know dogs are better than most people (it’s not even close, really).

It doesn’t affect my adult relationships, but I do find that rearing children has a lot in common with owning a dog. Dogs are like perpetual toddlers. I honestly think I can relate better to my friends who are parents of young children than I would be able to were I not a dog owner.

Or, maybe I am just pathetic and grasping at straws :smiley:

Well, occasionally I’ll meet a dog out with its owner in a public place and give the beast a head scratch and belly rub.

I’m far less likely to greet strange humans that way. All the screaming and having to explain things to the cops tends to be a discouragement. :frowning:


I guess I’m reacting in part to trainers and judges I see on TV dog shows. Some of them really appear to be carrying a massive stick up their asses, as if nothing would delight them more than to bring all us poor pathetic humans to heel. (Case in point: anyone at an AKC show whose title appears as “Mr.” or “Ms.” on screen.)

When I got my first dog as an adult, I did a lot of reading and decided to try Clicker Training. That led me into Behavioral Analysis, and I ended up attended several graduate level workshops and seminars. It was before I had a child, and I absolutely have raised her differently as a result. I also find that I automatically analyze, check for the ABC*, and start adjusting accordingly when I have a chronically unpleasant relationship with someone.

So, yes, but maybe not in the way you are describing.

*Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence - the building blocks of behavior analysis.

I am most definitely a dog person… I share my house with 5 of them. I have competed in dog shows for 27 years, both conformation and obedience. But I don’t think it effects the way I interact with people, other than the fact that I gravitate toward other dog people.

I would never call myself a ‘dog-person’ or ‘cat-person’. I have two dogs and two cats and like them all pretty equally, and my understanding of their behavior and training (yes, I train my cats too, they are not any harder to control than the dogs) influences my understanding of human relationships.

However I am not a believer in classic dominance-based dog training. Yes, it is important to maintain boundaries in your relationships, and be assertive, but I am not interested in ‘dominating’ anyone of any species. I am extremely interested in behavioral conditioning, which works on everyone and can be achieved with a variety of methods.

My male dog and male cat have similar personalities - clingy, affectionate, somewhat insecure and easily frightened. They need a gentle hand and can be rewarded with cuddling and petting. My female dog and cat are both more independent, and they are highly food-motivated so when I am teaching them something new it is all about treats. Their species has nothing to do with it.

I use dog philosophy when dating: Speak firmly and show no fear. :stuck_out_tongue:

My view, as a dog person: People who think like this shouldn’t be allowed to own pets.

We always had multiple dogs growing up, and looking at the pack structure they developed totally applies to humans: Dogs negotiate. They have different priorities. Some care more about seating places, some care more about food, some are possessive of their toys. The alpha dog can be gracious and let betas and gammas go first on things they care about less. Obedience and control is necessary to have dogs fit into human life (apartments and leash laws and not letting them get hit by cars), but it isn’t and shouldn’t be the way their social structure works.

And if they get out of control, put your knee on their neck and growl at them.

Must…obey…OP’s wish to not discuss the nature of dogs…

I tried sniffing the crotches and asses of new aquaintances, but I really can’t determine anything by it. I haven’t figured out why it is so important to dogs.

Sounds like an episode of Ally McBeal.

How I relate to my dog is completely separate from how I relate to humans. Yes it is. It really is. My relationships are the bestest in the whole world! Yes they are. Who has good relationships? I do. Yes I do!

I see what you did there.