This is something I need to write about to get off my chest. Grab some coffee it may be a long post but an interesting post. Warning! You may be offended if I am speaking about you, but please keep an open mind.
What I am writing about is a problem I see with many pet owners trying to humanize their animals. You see it all the time on the streets, in commercials, at local pet stores, and in their homes. People wanting to make their pets human. It absolutely drives me in sane. Dogs wearing clothes, like the image below, horses with blanket after blanket stuck inside a dark barns with bars on the doors, cats who eat gourmet food from elegant dish ware, yet have to sit indoors gazing out the window just dreaming of catching the birds flying past them. What are we doing to these beautiful animals of nature?
It is easy to love our pets because they are so willing to love us back. The fact is in their world survival depends on the one in charge (you) if a pack animal (your dog) or a herd animal (your horse) does not work under the leader of the pack or herd they will die. It is part of their biologogy. This is why your dog acts as though they love you when in reality they are wanting your instructions for what will keep this pack strong and keeping all members alive. They do honor their pack leader (you) because dogs find comfort in a pack (which is your family) but believe me they do it for their instinctual nature to survive, not because they are in love with you and want a close relationship. That is what human relationships are designed for not our pets. We have complex emotions that our animals friends do not experience. So although you think you know what they are thinking it is probably much less then what they are actually thinking.
I would love to take a dog owner who treats their dog like a human for one day and reverse the roles. Let's put your dog in charge of your day and have him create your world as he would think it should be.
First thing would be to go out hunting with him everyday twice a day and the attire for the day would be nudity. This way if it should rain you will just shake it off and not have cumbersome wet clothing to weigh you down or if you happen through a mud hole you can easily rinse off with a good swim. You would not need to worry about your job or bills or money, sound good? However you would need to worry about what you will find to eat while on this hunt so you best be putting your nose to the ground. If you do not do this your dog will repremand you over and over until you get it. Sound familiar of how people try and teach their dogs to learn something unnatural to them? You will also have to mark you territory by squirting some pee on each bush so others know this is your hunting ground. I hope you drank a lot of water.
While you are out in the great outdoors your dog would also make sure you are not detected by the other animals on the hunt so he would require that you roll in either other animal feces or if you come across a nice smelly dead animal that would be great. Now your scent is masked and they will not detect your hunting ground.
You will be required to run and run with your nose in the air and the wind in your face as you take in all the smells of nature. No couch or warm bed for you, wide open spaces are what you need to enjoy if your a dog. If you find food it could require you to kill it or if it is already dead that is good also, It will have all you need, raw meat, hair, bones and blood. No pretty packaging or bright colors to make it look good. You will eat fast before anyone else can discover your wonderful dinner, and if another comes to try and take it you will have to fight for your possession it is how you survive. If you don't happen to have any success finding food you will have to sleep on an empty stomach. Not a problem for a dog their body is design to eat one large meal day an have nothing the next. Much different then the three meals a day your accustomed to. You must be in fine physical condition to go out for another day of running in the open. That is also why you will spend the majority of you days sleeping and conserving energy because tomorrow you will be very hungry and may have to work harder for your meal.
You will also want to play and tumble and stretch and move around a lot because as you rest your energy is building up and you must must release it everyday. Otherwise you have this terrible desire to tear something up. Humans don't understand this and always punish you for having to much energy and just don't get what it feels like to have bottled up energy. So maybe while they are gone tearing up the garbage may help or a nice leather shoe.
When you do find your meal which depending on your territory (your neighborhood) there is no way you will want to share it with anyone else, particularly your human companions. After all you did spend the time and energy to find this meal and if you want to survive you have no intentions of sharing. So if another dog, cat, or little human (young children) comes by you are going to defend your meal. If your master alpha dog (human owner) wants your dish you will slowly back away, after all you know it takes a team to survive out there and they were born with the wisdom to keep the pack going.(lets hope your human has leadership skills or your going to have to take over which is very stressful) So you will gladly give them everything.
If a stranger (visitor to the house) comes in your pack and is hostile to you or does not know their place in your pack you will gladly defend your position to keep your pack (household) strong by giving them repeated warnings of a growl and if necessary a good bite to warn them that this is your pack. (reason for most dog bites)
If there are younger pack members (children) you will be patient and gentle with them when they are just young pups,(babies) but when they begin to try and take over before their time you will school them in the ways of the pack by growling and if necessary a slight bite. It is very necessary that these young pups (small children) learn the way of survival. In the human world many a dog has been labeled mean while schooling the youngsters (children) and can easily be abandoned to a shelter ( which means kicked out of the pack)
So I think you can see what I am getting at, the dog, the horse and other pets we share our lives with try and live with us from the instincts they were born with. But when they are asked to be a human replacement it can be very stressful. Although they adopt and adjust to our human ways of treating them they are not doing it for the reasons we would like to believe," they just love us so much", they are working within the instincts that come natural to them to survive and work in a pack, or herd.
Can you imagine a horse wanting to share with you the best part about being a horse? He would have you strip down to nothing also so you could feel free, put you out in a wide open area so you can see any predators coming, eat all day and bask in the warmth of the sun. They would love to have you run along side them when they feel their energy build. The freedom of being an open space is where they want you to feel comfortable. Most times the weather does not take them from this environment unless it is winter and the wind is blowing then a stand of trees is good enough. This is much more inviting than living in an enclosed cell of bars downed in blankets that prevents your hairs natural way to keep you warm. Then you will be put on a long line to run in relentless circles to get into condition only to have someone on your back which feels very threating and asked to you perform un-natural task you don't understand. But because you live in this herd you will adjust. Because what the dominant leader (the human) wants he or she gets.
I am not saying we can not have great relationships with our animal friends, they have done so much to try and understand what we want and need from them. What I am saying is can't we do the same for them and try and understand their behavior and adapt to their needs and give them the space to be who they are?
They are not here to serve us or be our long lost friend or life companion we have other humans for that. They are not here to make us champions. They are here to bring us joy at the marvels of who they are as creators of nature are and enjoy their beauty and abilities we lack. We can live better together today because we humans have so changed the natural world. But please remember what these animals were born to do to at the least understand their born needs and behaviors.
There my rant is over and if I offended you I an sorry. It is my hope that you will instead take a moment to think what it must be like to be a dog, a horse, or cat and live in a human world. Please think before you put that cologne on your dog or lock you horse up in a stall for days. Or tear your cats nails out of their feet. Please just try and understand and respect the beautiful beings they are.