Our dogs are like children to us and as such we are judged by our dogs’ behaviour just as much as we are by our children’s behaviour; but whilst children become more responsible for themselves as they grow older, our dogs do not ‘grow-up’ and are always dependant on us as their primary caregiver. As our dogs tend to stay with us for as long as they live, is there something to be said for the type of dog we choose to bring up, both in terms of their temperament and their appearance? Do our dogs reflect our personalities?
As with all things in life, people as a whole like to stereotype and make their own judgement of others; this includes everything from the clothes someone is wearing to what car they drive. However, it works both ways in that people will wear certain clothes or drive a certain car to project the image that they want of themselves; this back and forth of judgment and projection can be applied to the type of dog a person has.
There are certain connotations for each dog breed that will make people think of certain qualities in an individual. A person with a poodle may be judged to take extra care with their appearance and hygiene whilst a person with a German Shepherd may be judged to be hard-working and robust. However, these connotations often mean that people will misjudge others; a person that owns a poodle may not be too bothered with their appearance, whilst a GSD owner will not necessarily be hard-working.
How our dog behaves around other people and other dogs is a good indicator of how we are as a dog trainer, not a human being. Dogs are animals with innate instincts that can sometimes override any training they have been given; every dog that attacks a child will not be a pit bull type dog living with an irresponsible owner, and it is important to remember this when thinking about whether or not our dogs are a reflection of ourselves.
Another vital point to consider is that we as human beings try to humanise everything; we are always looking for personality traits and human elements in our animals. As individuals we have different views and responses and so as such, a particular type of dog will be looked at and comprehended differently from person to person. Of course, it doesn’t help these days when fashion-types and celebrities are buying small pedigree pets as part of a trend; when people then buy the same dogs others will just assume that they are following the trend and this, in turn, means that any dog of similar type will be judged as a fashion-fad.
We all love our dogs and want them to be healthy, happy and lead a life full of joy. Our dog’s well-being should be at the forefront of our concerns; whether or not they mirror or reflect us a person should not be of importance. I think that our dogs are a reflection of ourselves but not our personality as a whole; a lot can be read in to what type of dog we own but it is how we raise, train and treat our dogs that really matters.