Dog Doting and Family Dynamics

Who out there hasn’t been stopped dead in their tracks when a family member, friend, or loved one can’t love and appreciate your dog to the extent you do? How can they  not see what he means to you and why? Why do they see him as a problem?

Are You A Dog Doter?

When family members don’t feel the same way about your dog or differ in their “parenting” approach, anger, arguments and contention can ensue. After all, dogs have a profound effect on family life.

 How each person relates to him is important to the peace of the household. If affection is not shared it can result in tension between family members. And vice versa. A shared love of Fido can be very binding to a family.

The NYT has an interesting slide show of families and pets with comments regarding their place in the family.

Do Dogs Increase or Lessen Tension In A Family?

One poll indicated that 60% of married couples with pets say that the pet has created tension and problems in their marriage. Some of the particular “bones” of contention involved the cost of care, travel concerns, and the mess and damage that pets can cause.

On the other hand, (and there usually  is another hand isn’t there?) other studies indicate that couples with pets are actually more satisfied in their marriages than those who do not. Their presence can lessen tension between family members, can provide a focal point of shared interest, promote physical activity, and help couples to relax.

I think that David Blouins division of pet owners might shed some light here. Perhaps if family members fall into the same categories that he has suggested the pet may be an asset to the marriage.

David Blouin of Indiana University  has divided owners into three groups based on their perception of their relationship to their pet.

  • Dominionists who view their pets as useful adjuncts, often fulfilling a role such as protector
  • Humanists who view their pet as almost human often treating them as children
  • Protectionists who see themselves as being responsible to care  for and protect pets and often volunteer at shelters and become involved in rescue

Perhaps the question “are you a dominionist, humanist or protectionist?” should be added to that long list of questions and issues that couples should consider before taking that big step.

We’d love to hear how Fido’s  affect your family life!  

Related Posts:

What You Can Learn About Parenting From Puppy-Parenting First

Getting Your Dog Ready For The Arrival of Baby

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3 Responses to “Dog Doting and Family Dynamics”

  1. Ken Perry 24. Mar, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    So Elizabeth, which category do you fall into?

    Of course, I don’t think I fit into any of the categories. I am probably described as a pragmatic, hedonist. Which is defined as someone who enjoys all dogs as long as they require little care or work on his part. Sort of the doggie grandparent – one who enjoys them and spoils them and then wants them to go home to their parents for discipline and diaper changing.

  2. Amy@GoPetFriendly 25. Mar, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    I think the dogs do add some tension to our mix, but it’s not the dogs’ fault! We humans may disagree over when the dogs need to be walked, or the best way to approach training, but that’s people stuff. The dogs themselves are pure happiness.

  3. joyce reid 06. Apr, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi, I love animals period. Right now I have a Great Pyrenees,Chow, 2 cats, bird, rabbits, My Great pyrenees is such a sweet layed back dog. When it is lighting he is in my lap. Over a 100 pounds of dog. But He still goes in the house. He will go outside sometimes I will rush to the door at 2 am to let him out. My carpet is old needs replaced. I hate carpet. But I have heard once they get their scent in the carpet they will go there everytime. My husband hates the dog says I have 30 days to find him another home. I see his point no one wants to walk into a house that smells. I am very tidy. My house is sweeped sometimes twice a day. Everything is in place. But I cant do it. I will not get rid of this dog. He is such a good companion. I am going through alot right now and my pets are my closet friends. Can you relate?

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