I don't "get" dogs or "dog people".

I live with a cat, or feline American as he preferrers to be called. I have always lived with cats. I don’t dislike dogs, but I have never once felt the desire to own one for companionship.

How is a dog a companion? They just make me think or retarded mute hyperactive children, wheras cats are like roomates. Cats do their own thing and don’t act so damned needy.

I have watched cats and dogs each in groups. When I watch cats in a group they tend to interact like people, with one another within the group itself. When I watch groups of dogs they may interact with each other but it seems they are always looking for cues from nearby humans, like the need reassurance or something. It disturbs me to be depended upon like that.

I really do like dogs, but I don’t want to be responsible for one with the minor exception of outdoor dogs which seem to me to be an entirely different specis than indoor dogs. I keep “Bonez” and these bacon flavored treats in my desk because people bring dogs in to work all the time and I like to pet them and play but I just don’t get the kind of devotion it takes for someone to want to have one in their home. Not to mention you have to take them out to poop and pee. ugh! My cat makes poop and pee in the toilet just like I usually do.

Can someone explain this dog thing to me? Is it like having a short-lived kid? Is the thoght along the lines of “I want to take care of something dumber than me that needs my attention all the time but I want it to die before I do.”. Cats die too, but I have never felt guilty about a cat dying the way I see people when a dog dies. I just don’t get it at all.

p.s. I fucking hate parrots and ferrets, btw.

I can’t think of an animal I don’t love. I have 4 cats and a dog, and I’ve had ferrets in the past. I just love the company of animals, doesn’t matter what kind.

I don’t get them either. I am taking care of some dogs this week, and they are about to drive me bonkers. I am an animal lover, I try to treat all with equal kindness and love, but dogs do bug me.

These are some major gripes that I don’t know how anyone is able to overcome: They jump up on you. I know you can train them to stop, but, I would rather have something that you didn’t have to train to stop. They bark a LOT. They show affection by licking you. They are WAY needy. They like to run away when you let them out to do their doggy business. They chew things – couches, chairs, clothes, shoes, cassette tapes… They have that particular doggy smell. They like to dig major holes in the yard. Okay, this is a gross one… really gross… don’t read if you are eating… seriously… they will eat puke or something else’s doody if they can get to it. Gag. And then they want to lick you.

I do realize and admit that having them in the house can help make you feel a bit safer. And they can be sweet. But…

Sorry for the rant, but as I mentioned before, they are driving me bonkers.

Well, I admit to being more of a cat person. Had cats my whole life and feel a real affinity for them. But nothing could replace my dog, either.

All of those nasty things you guys said about dogs are true to some extent, at least about some dogs. However, the one thing that a dog can offer you that almost no other person or animal can is unconditional love. Even if you forget to feed them before you go to work. Even if you’re in a bad mood and don’t want to talk to or play with them. All my dog wants is to be with me and to please me. She will get in the tub for a bath without being told twice (she hates baths.) She takes nasty medicine that I give her because I love her and want her healthy. Her favorite place to lay in the whole house is in the doorway between the living room and kitchen/diningroom area because she can see me wherever I go. She lays in the floor and watches me or my husband all the time unless she’s playing with her toy, and then she stops playing if one of us moves or says something. Then we have her whole attention. She is ecstatic to be taken for a ride in my truck even if all we do is go to a drive-thru for take-out. Her greatest delights are to go for a walk with us, play tug-of-war with us, or have us rub her tummy.

She is a black lab mix and her name is Ladybug. You can see her picture here

Frankly, I adore my cats, but it is just not the same kind of love and enjoyment I get from my dog. It’s every bit as real and intense, just totally different.

I don’t have too much to add to this thread, except to say that I’m a dog person. I’m very allergic to cats, and despite taking shots I’ll never be able to have one in my house. (Unfortunately, being a single guy, it means my pool of prospective mates is about a third that of any other guy – the majority of women I know have cats, and I could never ask anyone to part with their pet on my account.)

So, why dogs? Like what was stated previously, you get the gift of unconditional love. She senses when I’m feeling down or sick or tired, and treats me accordingly. She’s always there for me.

Unlike cats, dogs wear their emotions on their sleeves, expressing them much like humans, something that many people find appealing. Dogs can be obedience trained, unlike cats, and there’s things you can do with them that you can’t with cats, like agility, water and herding competition, and Flyball for starters. I can take my dog camping or hiking – she does just fine staying close to me without a leash. I even take my dog on road trips – it’s something I can’t imagine doing with a cat. Dogs seem to have a love for life, and they show it.

Different breeds do have different personalities, and levels of “neediness,” and poor behaviors such as digging, chewing and so on also vary from breed to breed. Dogs can act “needy” because they were bred to be human companions, and to work. Dogs are definitely higher maintenance creatures than cats, but the rewards are worth it.

Consider this, too – at Barnes and Noble and Borders, you don’t see many books describing the relationships between people and cats, but there’s hundreds of books devoted to the human-dog bond. The authors of those books can answer your question much more eloquently than I could.

By the way, you can see a picture of Bailey at http://www.cyburbia.org/bailey/bailey.jpg . No, she’s not a parti-colored Poodle. :slight_smile:

Nicely said, elmwood.

Oh, and Bailey’s beautiful. But what the heck is she?

Bailey’s a Portuguese Water Dog, or in the eyes of Portie fans, “Del Sur’s Dock of the Bay, a white-black parti curly.” The majority of Porties are “black wavy,” so they don’t look much like Bailey at all.

BTW, Porties are very high maintenance dogs, and I’ve seen more than one dog breed guide that considers them as less than ideal for first time dog owners. They’re closely related to the Poodle, but they’re not as far removed from their working past as many other breeds, so they tend to be emotionally needy, they need an outlet for their work drive, they’re very mischevious, and they need a lot of grooming. They sometimes expect to be treated as equals – on Portuguese fishing vessels, they were given a share of the catch as their “salary.” On the other hand, they’re extremely intelligent and perceptive, very loyal, good with other dogs, relatively calm and quiet, very easy to train and eager to learn (she was outside-trained in under a week, and picks up most new commands after five to ten repititions), and they don’t smell or shed. Compared to other dogs I’ve been close to, the Porties I’ve met seem the most “human” of the lot.

zen101:

I think you are anthropomorphizing the animals. Animals don’t think like humans.

quote: I live with a cat, or feline American as he preferrers to be called
Really? I am curious to know how he phrased his preference.

quote: Cats do their own thing and don’t act so damned needy.
Except when they hear the can-opener. The cat isn’t your friend; you’re just his meal ticket. You know when he nuzzles you? He’s not being friendly; he’s scent-marking his territory.

quote: they are always looking for cues from nearby humans, like the need reassurance or something. It disturbs me to be depended upon like that.
Dogs are pack animals. They’re not being needy; they’re being sociable. They want you to join the party, and they wonder why you are so standoffish.

I freely admit that dogs take more care than cats. But they give back a lot more. It’s a two-way bargain. And if you ever plan on having kids, you will find that dog-people are much better prepared for the task than cat-people.

Dear person who doesn’t “get” dogs:

Welcome to the education seminar. I think there’s a seat right over there. Sit your ass down before I bitch slap you… :wink:

How is a dog a companion? Well, for one, I can take her in the car with me without her flipping out and clinging to the windows like some sick stuffed cat toy with suction cup feet… she actually enjoys riding in the car… and she loves going for walks in the park. How often do you take your cat out?

“Just like I usually do”? Usually? You go elsewhere at times when it isn’t usual? EWWWWW! I have what they call a dog door built into the side of the house. It’s a really cool invention that I guess you’ve never heard of. It allows my dog (and my three cats) to urinate and defecate outdoors. I know, it’s so technologically advanced that it just boggles the mind but really, if you house train animals they really do understand the concept of not shitting in the nest.

“Is it like having a short lived kid?” No, it’s not. Dogs are not short lived. Nor are they nearly as demanding as a child. Although, many folks, me included, consider their dogs (and their cats) as “if” they were indeed, children. I love them, pamper them and consider their needs much like I would a child’s. Contrary to what some think, I made a major commitment when I took these animals in. It wasn’t for a week or a year or only as long as it was convenient. I took these animals in as part of my family. That means that I wouldn’t give them up just because it became inconvenient for me. I wouldn’t put them to sleep just because they were ill (unless the illness were beyond help). I made a commitment to love and care for them until the day they die. That is a commitment that could be as long as 30 years. That is the commitment I made. I didn’t take it lightly and I’m offended by folks who think a pet is some silly little thing they can dump when ever they feel like it.

You have “never felt guilty” about a cat dying? Me either. Because I never caused the death of a cat. That’s about the only way I’d ever feel “guilty” about ANY death. Would I feel a crushing grief if my dog died? Yes, I would. I would feel grief and expect to go through all the stages of grieving if I lost one of my cats too. Because I love them. I would greave because I had suffered a loss. Would it be as deep as what I felt at losing my brother? Yes, it would. We are talking about love and commitment. If you can’t understand that than nothing I can say will make you see how this pain can be so deep.

FWIW: My dog doesn’t jump on me, drool on me or bark unless there is something seriously wrong. You, bwk, are sitting for some very “untrained” dogs. Sadly, you blame the dogs when this is really the fault of the owners for not giving them the proper training.

Byz: Dog doors are a less than practical solution for those of us who live in rentals such as myself or in cities with leash-laws and major highways (such as myself).

For a dog door you need a fence and non-shared property. I like dog-doors and helped my grandfather install his very large electric dog door (has sliding bolts that respond to a transmitter within the collor of his dogs. It’s a neat toy.). they just don’t work for most people as a practical suggestion. ya know?

Also just so folks know, and as a re-statement. I live dogs. I like dogs a lot. I just dont get them for some reason the way I get cats. Hell I have owned dogs, in fact I think I at one time may hog gotten them (or thought I was one because when I had German Shorthairs as a little todler I used to get out of bed and go take naps with them in a big “dog pile”.). But I was never responsible for them and I don’t get the desire to be responsible for them.

Maybe cat folks are more solitary than dog people?

mbh:

As for “usually do”: I reserve the right to poop where I want. If I start saying I “always” go in the toilet and then some day feel like going in the hamper I’d feel foolish, wouldn’t I?

As for “feline American”: read some Heinlein you’ll get it. He was cat people too.

As for cats and can openers: I have a gravity feeder. Canned food makes kittys have icky breath.

As for “scent marking”: I’m aware of it and cool with it. But it just further demonstrates that a relationship with a cat is a two-way street. Cats pick you just as much as you pick them. And while many cats are not as overtly affectionate as most dogs (while some are just as affectionate just less energetic about it. Both of my Rex cats were above average love givers and treated me like they were mommies to me, constantly grooming me and so on.) the fact that the demonstrate more self reliance and independence than typical dogs do makes the love between my cats(s) and myself much more meaningful. A dog, IMHO, is a slave to his or her need to love you and therefore the love you feel from a dog is invoulintary and compulsive. Call it extreem co-dependence. A cat’s love is more or less voulintary and therefore, to me at least, more genuine and treasured.

You are probably right about dog people being better as parents as I am becoming aware being even a part time parent is the most difficult thing I have ever done and I usually doubt that I am doing it well. I’m much better at being a “buddy daddy” than being a “good parent”.

Apparently I “live dogs”. Apparently I also don’t preview.

Please note, I do not live dogs. I love them. I love most every animal I just don’t respect them all as individuals.

Again not, that my love for most animals does not include
ferrets and parrots as I noted previously.

who holds the current record for longest strings of posts simply to correct spelling errors?

read “not” as “note” please.

And if I spelled anything wrong in this one I’ll never know because I’m not even going to read it.

Byz, you are my kind of pet owner. (I think…you don’t baby-talk them with a cute little voice do you? :slight_smile: )

Are you implying that cats never legitimately act friendly? Are you one of those people who thinks that only humans have and display emotions?

Whoops, wanted to add: Dear mbh, please read up on the subject of humor, especially jokes.

Elmwood is dead on, but Byz gets extra points for originality.

Listen here 101, I’m not even going to go into all of the arguments about which animal is more intelligent, or all that glurge about unconditional love (however much it may be true). What want to say is the same thing that Byz closed with.

When you have a well trained animal a magical thing happens. The animal learns what behaviors are negatively rewarded and discovers the wonder of doing the right thing all of the time. Things suddenly click at that point. Your animal responds to you in a coherent fashion and works with you rather than against you. Animals that are pests usually receive mixed or inconsistent signals from their owners. This never allows things to “click” as I described. Instead, what you get is incoherent behavior and a complete nusiance.

My last dog was trained to 60 commands and was a pure joy. I could give him up to three commands at once and he would follow all of them. My two and a half year old wolf hybrid is up to 25-30 commands with half of them almost reflexive. He too is beginning to “click” and having him around is a sheer joy. (And no, I might not have said that this afternoon while I was giving him a bath). His wolf nature simply puts other breeds to shame. He is bright, agile, highly instinctive and playful. Now that I have firmly established exactly who is the Alpha male (an oft omitted step by others), there are no longer conflicts of authority.

Many people fail to give their animals this simple level of instruction and end up with scattered, insecure companions that are a total time dump. My cat is extremely affectionate, but remains a huge pain in the @ss when it comes to entering and leaving all the time (though he is being trained out of it). My pup is so happy to be with me, that he will hang out for hours without a single whine. Something my cat is incapable of.

Anyway, so much of what you described about dogs refers to dysfunctional pets. I estimate that fully half to three quarters of all dogs are poorly trained. Go to a dog show or a herding demonstration sometime and watch the splendid coordination of a trained pet and its owner. It can truly be inspiring.

I’m so jealous of your well-trained dog! Sparky (80 lbs of frisky golden retriever puppy) knows “sit” “stay” “down” “chill” and “bedtime”… and that’s it. I’m sure the responsibility for that lies solidly at our feet as owners, I just don’t know squat about training dogs, he is my first one.

TroubleAgain – no, but I do talk to them. I figure my cats understand about 50 words, my dog about 200… one thing they all understand is the command, “MOVE!” This really comes in handy when they all get into a cluster fuck when I’m trying to bring in the groceries.

And as far as cats being less “needy”… HA HA HA HA HA! I laugh myself into a hemorrhage here. My cats are far MORE needy than my dog… they are gluttons for love!

Zenster – extra points? Are these like the points given out during “Who’s line?” :slight_smile: And clearly establishing that you, the owner, are the Alpha dog is the most key training component you can impart to your dog; I’M the top dog! There is no question about this in her mind. When I speak, just like E.F. Hutton she listens!

Opal – I started training my dog from the day I got her. I read about 6 books and most of them have the basic advice sussed up. The only thing I didn’t do was use a choke collar on her; I think they are inhumane and not necessary… her obedience is testimony to the fact that I was right.