Dr. Platzhund
4 minute read
30 Nov 2013
7:20 am

Psychology of pet owners

Dr. Platzhund

Far too many dog owners have the deep-seated desire to step back and allow their dogs to control human lifestyle to the extent of abuse, subservience, displacement and pathological perversion without realising that this is not what makes a dog happy.

Picture: www.sxc.hu

Dogs bought or adopted into this regime have no choice.

Most dog owners have a distorted view of loving animals. So many people live a mundane existence and willingly enjoy servility towards their pets. Their lives are not complete unless everything revolves around the companion animal – even to the point where they ask their dogs, permission to venture out of the home.

How these people communicate is a psychological thesis on its own. They claim that the dog has full cognisance of their request and are delighted when consent is given. If the dog does not want to let them go out, these people seem to comprehend and comply. The dog is no longer subservient. The dog is capable of a wide range of communications today, even extolling their extreme displeasure about visiting the vet. Why these dogs are not attending lectures at university remains a mystery.

In some instances, control is non-existent and the dog ends up biting the hand that feeds it.

I even have people talking to their deaf dogs. Even when they inadvertently step backwards and stand on a dog’s toe, causing it to squeal, they will bend down and apologise to the animal.

Does the dog forgive them or associate them with trauma? More likely the latter, because the pet has no idea what an apology is. They certainly do not apologise to the owners for dropping a brownie on the Persian carpet, chewing the furniture or killing the cat.

While I fully understand the enormous benefits of owning pets, there is a difference between talking to the dog for one’s own benefit, such as confidentiality, good listenership and constant vigilance, and truly believing that the dog understands what one is saying – that is the distinction between therapy and instability.

I cannot fully understand the psychology of people talking through their dogs, although I experience this several times a day in private practice. Some will ask their dog if they want to be sterilised now or later, in front of the veterinarian. They will ask the animal to relate how naughty it was today and why they have brought it in.

I have never heard an animal confession to date. Maybe I am on a different wavelength and cannot get the same messages across, like those charlatan animal communicators who can talk to elephants without subsonic sound.

I often wonder why such animal communicators are not offered honorary veterinary doctorates, because they can discern what ails the animal merely by talking to them. It puzzles me that they are diagnosticians without the need for physical examination, blood tests, imaging techniques and surgical intervention.

Some pet owners seem to possess similar abilities because they know their pets so well. They even know that when the dog stares at them in the kitchen while cooking it means they are hungry. Some will tell you that when they use the same words and tone on their human baby and the dog runs up to them nudging the infant away that it is just showing jealousy. That only humans have the ability to be jealous is irrelevant.

Humans try to teach dogs their values without understanding that the dog is only capable of learning on a canine level and can only understand canine values.

It is phenomenal how some dogs learn certain things about life with dysfunctional and inconsistent owners. The communication between humans and dogs starts to break down when certain rights and privileges are afforded to unworthy candidates. This precipitates behaviour problems and disobedience, which some pet owners attribute to a phase the animal is going through. The fact that the dog is nipping ankles and toileting indoors for 14 years is certainly a lengthy phase and will grow out of it when it passes away.

The dog in the human pack is allowed to jump up next to them on the couch while they watch television, which I am sure dogs prefer to chasing rodents and birds in the garden.

The majority of these dogs are also allowed on to the bed, albeit just for a cuddle in the morning. It is disconcerting to wake up to being licked in the face soon after the dog has licked its anus or some other undesirable activity.

Dog-lovers love being licked all over their face, which they will explain is nothing more than being kissed because the dogs love them to bits.

The fact that only humans can love, in the true sense of the word, will never be believed.