What Do You Mean to Your Dog?

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    Oct 10, 2013
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What Do You Mean to Your Dog? Photo by Raquel Cervera

We all know it is impossible to learn what dogs think, thinking here, of course, being a process completely different to ours, since there is no vocabulary in it. We process our thoughts with words and also visualize things or use symbols, but we don’t know how they do it. Nevertheless, we have to accept that they do think in their own way.

It has been said by experts from Duke University Canine Cognition Center in North Carolina, this being one of the few labs that has focused on the thinking process of dogs, that these are the animals that best understand human behaviors and gestures,  even better than chimpanzees.  So yes, dogs do have that ability, they are extremely intelligent beings and we have to respect that in them.

This being said, we then have to think about what we, as dog owners, mean to our dogs.  If we as humans normally give meaning to almost everything in order to respond, we have to consider then that our dogs also do it in their capacity.

We expect a lot from our dogs. They mean something to us. But, do we know what we mean to them?

We are the most important being in our dog’s life, since it does not live in the wild anymore and therefore, does not belong to a dog pack. It has been explained to exhaustion that in animal packs there are leaders and rules all the members have to follow in order to belong to it. If we become the leader of that dog, it gives us the value of being the most significant figure in its life. We are everything to it, we are its family, the one it belongs to, the one which gives it the sense of not being alone in the world.


Becoming their “everything” implies a lot. We are now the person who teaches them, the one who will show them the rules to follow, the ways to avoid the dangerous roads in order not to take them, the proper way to behave in and out of the house, the adequate behavior to use to relate with other dogs and also humans.


When we bring a baby into our lives, it is expected from us to become the barrier that will protect him or her from anything that may be classified as dangerous, right?

Well, when we bring a dog home, we also become their protectors, even when they also protect us in return. Sometimes humans only think about this role of their dogs and not their own.

Protection from diseases, from other dangerous animals, from the weather, from hunger and thirst, from any kind of abuse, from neglect and from anything that may constitute harm to their dogs is an obligation of the dog owners and not just something nice to do. The dog depends totally on its owner and that is just part of the responsibilities the owner acquires when having a dog, just as parents also acquire the same with their babies.


Dogs are playful animals. We love watching them play around with any toy or object they adopt as such. But, do we play with them? It is not the same to simply observe a game as to participate in it, and dogs love their masters to play and enjoy the moment with them. Children tend to enroll more in this type of activity with their dogs, but adults are more likely to ignore it. Why? Playing is as good for one as for the other


One of the most well known characteristics of dogs is their loyalty to their owners. Dogs are expected to be loyal, but are their owners as loyal to them?

I was shocked to hear in this morning’s news about a woman who moved away from her apartment and left her pitbull abandoned as if it were an old piece of furniture she did not care for anymore. It was the administrator of the building who discovered the poor animal, and nobody understands how it could survive for two weeks without food or water. Of course, the emaciated dog was at the verge of death and is being taken care of by the local authorities, the same ones who fined the woman with  $25,000 because she had broken the law. Was that an act of loyalty on her part? Would her dog had done the same to her?


Humans love to bring home a dog to keep them company, especially those who live alone and put that responsibility on the dog. If they do give us that company, do we respond the same way, or do we just know that there is another living thing with us and not even pay attention to the dog when it needs it?
We are very used to thinking about what our dogs mean in our lives and I hope this has made you consider a bit more what we in turn represent to them and never forget what is expected from us also.

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The author is running a site and a blog related to dog training,grooming and dog care. For more information about dog training and dog care, pay them a visit.

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