Applying human characteristics to dogs can be very unhelpful. We have grown up on a diet of films and cartoons that portray dogs and other animals as having the full human repertoire of emotions and logic. Whilst studies are animal_human_dogface2beginning to show that dogs are capable of feeling a wider range of emotions than the scientific community had previously thought, when it comes to many everyday folk they often attribute far too much rationale and understanding to their dogs.

I remember an incident back in the day when an instructor told me my dog was ‘taking the piss’. I replied ” dogs don’t take the piss, they either don’t understand the command or have a more rewarding alternative.” Whilst I stand by that comment I can see now that I could have been quite a tricky student to deal with! It is a good example though of how giving dogs reasoning beyond their ability can draw you down a road that is unhelpful at best. My experience is that dogs are quite straightforward and honest. They are trying to understand our crazy world and do what works for them.

Whilst I am not advocating a ban on anthropomorphic cartoons I think it is worth bearing in mind that for many reasons it is easy to get drawn in to thinking things are more complicated than they are.



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