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!