Three types of dog-human relationships seen
Relationships between dogs and their owners generally fall into three distinct categories, according to a university researcher.
As a result, says David Blouin, a cultural sociologist at Indiana University South Bend, some dogs live pampered lives while others are still expected to work for a living, all depending usually on their owner’s lot in life.
Blouin, according to Science Daily, says the attitudes of dog owners generally fall into one of three following categories:
- Humanists, who highly value their dogs and consider them close companions, treat their pets almost like pseudo people, or surrogate children.
- Protectionists, often vegetarians, greatly value animals in general, not just as pets.
- Dominionists, who see animals as less important than people, often use their dogs for hunting, guarding or pest control and require them to live outdoors.
“I found it interesting that there are different ways to relate to and think about animals and that people are able to switch and latch onto a different way of thinking about and treating animals when other things happen in their lives, like having children,” said Blouin, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Blouin conducted 28 in-depth interviews with dog owners from a Midwestern county. Blouin said the distinct orientations toward animals are a result of personal experiences, demographic characteristics and family structure. Rural dog owners were more likely to leave their pets outside, for example. Empty-nesters seemed to be the most attached to their pets.
“People don’t make this stuff up themselves,” Blouin said. “They learn how animals should be treated. There are different ideas out there and these ideas exist in little packages, which are promoted by different groups, like the Humane Society or kennel clubs.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attachment, attitudes, cultural, david blouin, dog, dogs, dominionist, humanist, humans, indiana university, owner, protectionist, relationships, research, sociology, survey