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Old 05-18-2013, 10:13 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,130,167 times
Reputation: 11862

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I remember watching a documentary, I forget the main subject, but it was speaking about how the grey wolf was domesticated into the myriad of breeds we now know and love. Not merely the physical differentiation and variation, but also how the innate genetically determined psychological makeup of the wolf was changed to suit human needs through thousands of years of breeding. A scientist in Russia had bred ‘domesticated foxes’ precisely by selecting for ‘infant-like’ traits: helplessness and dependency, docility, innocence and openness, and trainability. These traits, of course, are perfect for a creature who is basically trained to rely on a human for the sole purpose of giving his or her master pleasure.

While I do love dogs, learning about the process of how dogs were domesticated made me realise that dogs really are a pack of slobbering, sycophantic people pleasures: to the point where it’s rather pathetic. Dog owners have a narcissistic desire for an animal that obeys their every order and worships the ground they walk on.

Now this isn’t exactly a moral criticism, because one could argue the dogs are happy as they are and don’t know better. And besides, others might say if we have the power to do this to better humanity and possibly the lives of the dogs themselves, then why not. But perhaps we’re stripping the dignity of the animal in a way which is almost an abasement of nature: goggle-eyed goldfish come to mind as a more visually-apparent comparison.

What's your opinion? Do you think breeding animals to love you makes their love somewhat less genuine? Then again isn't all love genetically programmed?

I know this will offend many dog owners: I'm not against owning dogs, I may even own one myself (we used to have 3) in the future. I'm not wholesale criticising the practice but examining the innate ethics of it.

 
Old 05-18-2013, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
10,589 posts, read 10,317,990 times
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For people who put dogs above humans it is. For those who treat dogs as dogs and let them be dogs it's normal. I have this neighbor who is a vegan and is so in love with his Great Danes that he would toss ten human infants into a river to save his precious pets. The guy actually hates human beings and is a fool who actually believes dogs have "unconditional" love- when in reality the have unconditional hunger and are parasites...unless they are working dogs...I have two old mutts in the house...If I were to die they would eat me. I love them but they are scavengers that adore rotten things.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 10:45 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,130,167 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
For people who put dogs above humans it is. For those who treat dogs as dogs and let them be dogs it's normal. I have this neighbor who is a vegan and is so in love with his Great Danes that he would toss ten human infants into a river to save his precious pets. The guy actually hates human beings and is a fool who actually believes dogs have "unconditional" love- when in reality the have unconditional hunger and are parasites...unless they are working dogs...I have two old mutts in the house...If I were to die they would eat me. I love them but they are scavengers that adore rotten things.
Yes some people act like animals are all noble and humans are uniquely evil and depraved when in actual fact all our ugliness is part of nature! Humans are part of nature too! Other animals commit 'evil' acts like murdering their own offspring, torturing other animals for sports (killer whales and cats). I'm not saying nature is evil, but it's cruel and it is what it is. Dogs love is 'unconditional' because they don't know any better. Is it really a noble thing to still love your owner even if he kicks you and spits on you?
 
Old 05-18-2013, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
3,316 posts, read 5,310,348 times
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The domesticated dog was a tool developed and bred to work for/ alongside mankind.

IMHO dogs don't "love" in human terms people just like to believe they do.

Like any living creature dogs lives revolve around making sure their own needs are met, cosequently they show joy at the return of or attention given by those who feed them or could potentially meet those needs and are as a whole subservant in nature.

They are a brilliant manipulation of nature by mankind.

I have dogs simply because I enjoy their antics and fun loving nature and to warn me of danger...again a measure of self preservation on their part that benefits man.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 11:09 PM
 
65 posts, read 66,999 times
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If a person gives the love and attention to their dogs that their dogs give to them, its a mutually beneficial relationship. I may train my dogs to "obey" my commands to a certain degree but I also do a lot of what amounts to obeying commands by caring for them (feeding, hand brushing, vet care to prevent miserable illness,etc). They are happy, I am happy. They love me, I love them. Emotions are nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain. Oxytocin is a chemical released in both dog brains and human brains when they are cooperating with each other that has positive effects on mood and health. Sounds like a win/win to me.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
3,484 posts, read 5,552,508 times
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The idea that dogs love humans is an illusion – it is a human conceit –it is human vanity. The evolutionary line that led to humans separated from the line that led to wolves and then dogs more than 100 million years ago. To think that after evolving separately for all of this time dogs would end up loving humans, and no other animals other than their own kind, is preposterous.

Domestic dogs are a product of human selection, not natural selection. Dogs that give the appearance of loving humans have prospered and multiplied. Gullible people picking out dogs at animal shelters is an example of this selection. Dogs with sappy “I love you” expressions are taken home. The ones with appearances that humans don’t like are left behind to be killed and burned by the tens of millions.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 07:13 AM
 
65 posts, read 66,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsch View Post
The idea that dogs love humans is an illusion – it is a human conceit –it is human vanity. The evolutionary line that led to humans separated from the line that led to wolves and then dogs more than 100 million years ago. To think that after evolving separately for all of this time dogs would end up loving humans, and no other animals other than their own kind, is preposterous.

Domestic dogs are a product of human selection, not natural selection. Dogs that give the appearance of loving humans have prospered and multiplied. Gullible people picking out dogs at animal shelters is an example of this selection. Dogs with sappy “I love you” expressions are taken home. The ones with appearances that humans don’t like are left behind to be killed and burned by the tens of millions.
The emotional portion of a dog's brain is very similar to a human brain. The difference is theirs is closer to a 2 year old's brain than adult human's in terms of emotional capabilities. To say that dogs don't love would be similar to saying babies don't love. The fact is, many of the same chemical reactions are happening in dogs, and babies, that happen in human adults when feelings of "love" are experienced. The difference is the level of complexity attached to it. My dogs love me. They don't daydream about me all day and think about how wonderful I am or think about us being best friends. They see me as a source for their needs, much like a baby sees their parents as a source for their needs. If I died and my next door neighbor fully took over the duties of providing all of their needs, they would "love" them the very same as they do me now without any complex emotional attachments that adult human brains have developed.

Saying that dogs love doesn't mean that I think they have the same feelings as I do. But they share similar chemical releases and reactions in the brain that promote seeking more of whatever causes those chemical releases and reactions. It would be illusion or conceit to project our version of love on to them in a literal manner. Saying they love and realizing that it is not the same as ours does not require illusion or conceit, just a recognition that their brains share some of the chemical processes that we do in order to reinforce our relationship for mutually beneficial reasons. Just like they protect us for a mutually beneficial reason, if something or someone harms us, their source of needs being met is threatened. Its not like they literally think "that's my master/friend/buddy and you aren't going to touch them because we're pals!!!". Its simply an evolutionary behavior to protect the leader of the pack. They would do it if they were in a pack of dogs, they would do it for an elephant if the elephant provided all of their needs like humans do.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
19,359 posts, read 13,015,780 times
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I've talked to some wildlife biologists; the notion that stone age humans selected wolves and domesticated them may be 180º off what actually happened. Wolves who were tolerant of humans had all the advantages. They ate better, were more protected, and did not have the same amount of stress than wolves who couldn't tolerate close human contact.
Essentially, the wolf that became a dog domesticated himself.

Humans and dogs have been partners far longer than they have been pets. One species uses the other equally, and there is mutual respect, but not necessarily love. Working dogs still often have this relationship with their humans- while they do feel affection for each other. Sheepherders won't hesitate to get rid of a sheepdog who won't work for him, no matter how loveable the dog is.

I've been a dog owner all my life, and was born and raised on a ranch. Dogs do love their owners and vice versa, but in my family, none were ever viewed as a person's baby. Doing so was offensive to the dog and his abilities and an insult to an adult dog's dignity and skill.

It was like that on all the ranches. Most often, the dogs were never allowed in the house. Sometimes a ranching family would own a pet dog who was the house dog, but was never allowed to work. The working dogs were always well cared for, kept healthy, and all had dry and comfortable places to sleep, but were never given 'special treats' or anything like that.
In return, they got to spend more time with their owners than most human/dog relationships, and got to live out their lives doing what dogs like to do best.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 11:34 AM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,051,757 times
Reputation: 14878
"Dog owners have a narcissistic desire for an animal that obeys their every order and worships the ground they walk on."

Considering the number of people whose dogs are for the most part undisciplined, and lavishly pampered and care for, I would think that such attributes would be the direct opposite of narcissism.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
13,026 posts, read 7,196,376 times
Reputation: 49969
Interesting thread but my spin on it is that it's just another example of man's ignorance and arrogance. There is a huge greed and irresponsible issue with dog breeding and the ugly side is that there aren't enough people willing to step up to the plate and clean up the mess by adopting these unwanted and carelessly mass produced animals. It sickens me, it saddens me and makes me feel extremely helpless. Joey is a perfect example of someone's expensive throw away toy. Yes the last 4 months were very hard trying to undo the damage of his two previous owners, but he is a joy and I'm already in love with him. Joey wasn't bred to love anyone. Joey was bred so that some one could turn a dime. A despicable practice with so many wonderful pets being destroyed every year because they don't fit the designer bill. My Howie a rather ridiculous looking mutt is the best dog I've ever had. I wish people would get over their need for designer show pieces and look into the soul of something equally deserving of their attention.
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