Words Matter

“Pets” are toys. If you want a pet get a pet rock.

Your dog is a thinking and feeling animal. The connections your dog feels with you are as deep as any you will experience in your life.
You can’t equate your dog with that fish in your aquarium or the turtle you had when you were a kid.

The reason you should stop thinking of your dog as a pet is to clear your mind and open it to the connections your dog wants to make.  It has nothing to do with political correctness.

While you are at it, do you think of yourself as a “dog owner”.  No matter what you do, your dog will never understand that it is “owned”.   Think of your dog the way you think of your friend or your uncle, not in the ownership sense like your car or your shirt.

Next, drop expressions like “obedience training”. Do you really want to demand obedience?  Do you want a robot dog or do you want a dog motivated by cooperation and companionship? Dogs are willing to learn household rules and follow them, like any other family member.

These words – pet, owner, and obedience – are outdated concepts created in a time when dogs were viewed as disposable commodities. Until recently in the long history of the human-canine relationship, it’s been acceptable to kick and beat dogs. We don’t brutally force dogs into submission anymore. Therefore we should abandon that language.

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