TheConnection between Dogs and People
TheConnection between Dogs and People
Theanimal-human relation or bond can be termed as an extraordinarymatter. Out of the numerous and different domesticated species ofanimals, it appears human to have fallen fondest with dogs.Apparently the dog was the first species ever to be domesticated byman (Clutton-Brock, 1995). The relationship between man and dogs isthe longest compared to the ones with other animals to have beendomesticated away. Relationship between man and the dog has continuedto grow and at more researches has continued to be done, revealingeven more intricate connections between dog and man. It is assumedthat dogs will help people tackle most serious andlife-threatening diseases in the years yet to come. The goal ofthis essay is to conclude how important the relationship between manand dog is from both looking into the psychological point ofview.
Domesticationinvolves the responsibility of caring, feeding, and breeding ofspecies by human beings. Animal domestication dates back to aroundthirty thousand years ago by hunters and gatherers in Ice Age Europebefore the agricultural revolution. The first animals to bedomesticated were carnivores: dogs, wolves, and coyote. Dogs andwolves have a very close genetic relationship. This was an accidentalrather than a planned occurrence since these carnivorous species wereattracted to the humans through the smell of hunted prey. They werethen domesticated to aid in hunting, as they are predators by nature.Domestication of subsequent animals was done for food, clothing, andtransport and generally as beasts of burden. This domesticationmarked the advent of veterinary medicine (Tipper, 2011).
However,in more recent times, domestication of animals as pets has been onthe rise. Human-animal relationships have become more personal ratherthan the ancient functional units, especially the relationshipbetween humans and dogs. In the United States of America, more thansixty percent of households have pets, thirty eight percent of thosebeing dogs. These pets are part of the family they live with and stayindoors. This human-animal relationship has developed and has mutualbenefits to both parties. There are three theories explaining whyhuman beings seek these relationships:
Biophilia hypothesis: unlike phobias, philias are the attractions towards the surroundings and therefore biophilia is the intrinsic affinity of human beings toward their natural environment including animals and therefore the relationship between humans and dogs[ CITATION Mar04 l 2057 ].
Social support theory: human beings are social in nature and require a support system, which can be provided by domesticated animals. This is done by establishing a close relationship in which companionship is offered and both parties feel a sense of support and attachment toward each other[ CITATION Mar04 l 2057 ].
Self-psychology: this is also called the self-object theory, which suggests a very close attachment, where an individual feels whole only when with the animal. This explains why some people carry their dogs everywhere because they feel incomplete otherwise [ CITATION Mar04 l 2057 ].
Humanbeings are very diverse in terms of their personalities and how theyexpress their emotions. Therefore, each human-animal bond is uniquewith regard to the involved individual. The relationship between dogsand their owners is displayed in three ways:
Dominant-subordinate interaction: this interaction is based on rules, which the dominant owner sets out to control behavior and set boundaries. This interaction should not be confused as oppressive. The affectionate bond formed is determined by the rules set out by the owner, as it is natural to be dominant as human beings to animals. Therefore, the dog is expected to understand and maintain closeness with the owner in line with these rules.
Leader-follower interaction: this leadership relationship involves showing the dog what to do and what not to do. The most important tool in this relationship is effective communication between the owner (leader) and the dog (follower). Therefore, the behavior of the dog is all taught and directed by the owner. This interaction is effective in creating compassionate relationships with the dogs as they rely heavily on their owner for guidance and at the same time acknowledge the support received.
Nurturer-dependent interaction: this involves giving rewards to the dogs so as to get a submissive feedback. These rewards may be in the form of food, praise, or play hence, the dog’s behaviors are guided by affection. The dog, hence cooperates with the owner expecting rewards.
Whenwell utilized these interactions can be used to establish positiveand lasting relationships between individuals and their dogs. Theycan be practiced solely or can be incorporated with each other atdifferent levels of interactions to yield desired results expected bythe owners. The fact that dogs also require attention and affectionshould be considered when interacting with them at any level (Tipper,2011).
Cognitionis a combination of mental processes and abilities together withreasoning and remembrance. Dogs are preferred as pets by manyindividuals because of their high cognitive capacity. The IQ of a dogis equivalent to that of a two or two-and-a-half year old child, withborder collies, poodles, and German shepherds having the highest IQin that order. Dogs also have an understanding of language and canlearn up to two hundred and fifty words. They also have an arithmeticunderstanding and can learn simple basic arithmetic. They can learnrepetitive tasks which they learn to perform as routines such asusing the washroom [ CITATION Sta94 l 2057 ].
Dogsalso have a strong social aspect and therefore are able to developclose bonds with their owners. They can recognize different membersof a family and can recognize strangers. They bond with individualsin a unique way depending on the manner in which they relate witheach. Dogs also display basic emotions such as joy, anger, anddisgust in their own unique way. This means that communication iseasier making dogs to be preferred as pets [ CITATION Sta94 l 2057 ].
Dogshave a lot to offer their owners who benefit from them physically,emotionally and socially. Dog owners participate in activities thatare more physical while playing with them and this exercise isimportant for body fitness. These physical benefits contribute to thehealth of the owner. Keeping a dog reduces cholesterol, lowers bloodpressure, and reduces the chances of having a heart attack. Dogs alsohave a special capability to predict seizures, hypoglycemia, andcancer, hence enable one to take measures before the illness is outof hand. Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), which involves the use ofpets as a form of treatment has been adopted in the modern field ofmedicine. Children with autism have responded well to dogs developinga close relationship and response mechanism. Mental illnesses ingeneral are well controlled by employing AAT[ CITATION Joh11 l 2057 ].
Dogowners also have a sense of companionship hence dogs have beenreferred to as “man’s best friend”. The physical contact sharedwhile handling and embracing the dogs eliminate loneliness and liftsone’s spirits. Having a dog also reduces anxiety and gives one asense of security. Dogs also promote interactions between people asthey provide topics of discussion. Dog owners also have something tonurture, which gives them a feeling of wholeness[ CITATION Joh11 l 2057 ].
Dogshave become part of our society, the relationship between man and dogcontinues to grow even stronger, and dogs are now considered part offamilies. Providences and nurturing are reciprocated to man in theform of companionship, love, and trust by the dogs. Special trainingoffered to dogs has made them part of security teams worldwide.Therefore, dogs and human beings will continue sharing an inseparablebond and benefiting from each other. There are some related articleson animal behavior and object permanence. According to Jann Gumbiner,a pet can be effective in therapy when nothing else works. Getting adog can feel connected with other living beings (Tipper, 2011). Theimportance of dogs is more than people thought. It is evident that,the human dog bond has become an essential aspect of human life. Thebenefits of a dog to human being are tremendous, and in turn, peopleshould be encouraged to keep dogs as pets in their homes.
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