It doesn't surprise me the emotive backlash I received from a 'few' dog owners in regards to my Facebook post, that a major part of the problem in regards to people humanising dogs and therefore the continuing rise in dog bites, dog attacks and aggression, is what is now termed by many in the industry, the 'furbaby syndrome', the humanising of dogs. I am sure this article will also receive a strong backlash...
I understand that many feel that it's their right to call their dog whatever they like. And I agree, it is your right. However, it cannot be denied that most (not ALL) dog owners that have a furbaby/furkid relationship with their dog, or view their dog from that position, choose to do so because they have, what I consider, an unhealthy overly emotional attachment to their dog, and unless we start to address this issue head on, then the issues we are currently facing in regards to dogs, such as children being bitten, will continue to increase.
Please don't come on my Facebook page, playing the "I am offended" card, giving the impression that you are being personally singled out and victimised by me, because you hold a certain view, and that it is wrong for me to hold a particular view. I am sure, that if I wrote a piece suggesting that most car owners break the law and speed, I wouldn't have the emotive stance I have in regards to this subject, no matter how much the person loved their car. For me, it just goes to prove that referring to dogs as furkids and furbabies, has a very deep emotive undertone to it, and it affects many of these people at a deep emotional level, not in only how they relate to their dog, but also when their deeply held emotive views are challenged by professionals like me.
If you choose to relate to your dog as your furry little child, then of course that is your choice. However, it is a well known fact, that how we relate to dogs at an emotional level, also affects how we treat and interact with them on a social level. So please, don't blame your dog and get upset when it decides to act like a dog!
I have yet to come across one dog owner that views their dog as their furry little child, give me a logical or rational explanation on why they need to relate to their dog or treat their dog on this level, other than, "I love my furbaby so much, because he loves me unconditionally". Humans can tend to be very emotional beings, and nothing makes us feel better than knowing we are loved unconditionally, and who better to take on that role than our dog? Even though this belief of unconditional love from a dog is nothing more than pure fantasy created by humans that are needing this strong emotional attachment, that they possibly can't find in their own relationships for whatever reason. I regularly go into homes, and see dogs receiving much more affection and love, than the dog owner offers or expresses to their own family members. Having a stronger love for an animal over a human, is very odd to me, but it appears not for everyone.
Nobody is suggesting we shouldn't love our dogs, especially me. However, what I am asking, have many dog owners crossed the line of what is considered a 'healthy' relationship with their dog? Are they asking from their dog for more than their dog is able to offer at an emotional level? And therefore, are we really being fair to our dogs? And is it any wonder we are seeing more and more confused dogs in homes?
What concerns me more than anything, is the messages being passed on to young children by their parents, such as "our furbaby loves you unconditionally". In so many homes, dogs are being treated no differently than another child in the home, and young children are mimicking and being influenced by their parents, grandparents, other family members and family friends, on how they relate too not only the family dog, but also all dogs in general. Social media and TV also have so much to answer for, in this regard as well.
Nobody can deny, that there is a continuing increase in the number of dog bite and attacks each year, especially in regards to young children, and yet all I hear is that we need to research why this trend is continuing to rise. Isn't it obvious, that a major influence is a continuing rise in the humanising of dogs, and what is now generally termed the 'furbaby syndrome'? Many in society have lost touch in regards to the true nature of what a dog is, and then blame the dog when it instinctively acts like a dog.