Anthropomorphism and Dog Keeping

Wag Wiki, 24 Apr 10, By Rana Atheya

Many of my dog lover friends will tell about their pet- saying with pride “we keep him like our kid”, and to be honest they are actually doing it that ways. I have realised while handling my own dogs, many times I have been treating them like human beings.

When I go for counselling to our dog trainer- Nabheesh Lal, I get to know that I am at mistake while treating my dogs like human beings. He will tell me- “treat them the way they are, don’t spoil them by humanising them”. His training tips work magic while training our Golden Retriever- Mirchie.

Another example other than training is food and nutrition. As a novice we start feeding our new puppy, what is good for a human baby; however dogs like Labrador Retriever grow up to 30 Kg in 2 years. Our kid will grow 30 Kg in 12 years. Look at the difference in the growth rates of our kid and a puppy. Can’t actually give same diet and nutrition to both. Human baby will need 15% protein where as a puppy have a need of around 25% protein.

Coming with this thought I kept on applying more mind on data and realised that this is something very common across pet owners. Whether it is a fish, bird, cat or a dog we start treating them like humans. At times it can be bad for the health and behaviour of our pet.


More research around this, got me to know a term called Anthropomorphism. It literally means recognition of human characteristics in non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts. More can be read about it on this Wikipedia Link.

Anthropomorphism is what we all go through as a basic instinct. It’s not limited to pets, it goes beyond. Like sometimes we treat our cars like living beings, we will make out eyes out of the headlamps of a car. Little funny as a thought but good to realise that I keep suffering from Anthropomorphism  a human being. I feel it’s a learning and worth sharing it with you all.

Happy DogSpoting!!!

About the Author

I have a Golden Retriever called Bella. I have always lived with pets since I was born. My father was a professor in veterinary sciences. I write to share my experience of pet keeping.

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