|Besides physical problems arising from breeding, there
are other drawbacks for dogs' welfare.
People make all kinds of demands on dogs, and keep them from exhibiting
their natural behavior. For instance:
- social behavior
- sexual behavior
The dog owner decides when, how much, how often
and what kind of food the dog gets.
The dog owner decides where, how often and how
long a dog is walked. It's walked at times that are
convenient for its master. Often the dog has to be
kept on a leash, limiting its freedom of movement.
It often happens that dogs have not enough room
to move around freely in the house. There's furniture
and obstacles everywhere, and the room itself is just
small. Dogs by nature are used to run and play a lot.
Dogs only receive attention when it's convenient
for their masters. Of course, there's interaction
between dogs and their owners, but if the owner doesn't
feel like it, the dog gets no attention.
Dogs are social animals. They are used to having
their own place within the pack. When dogs are accepted
into a family home, they should be awarded the lowest
social rank. Not all dogs will accept this easily, which
can cause conflicts that may get out of hand (especially
Contact with other members of their species is often
limited. By nature, dogs are pack animals, they live
in groups with other dogs. People often have just one
dog, and it cannot exhibit its natural behavior with
members of its species. The dog's natural behavior doesn't
concur with what its owner wants, and its conditioned
behavior is unnatural.
Suppressing sexual behavior is part of a dog's training,
because this natural behavior is something we do not
like. Think about dogs "humping" legs, excitement
and chasing other dogs.
Castration and sterilization are common, to make sure
no unplanned litter is born. Another reason is to
suppress sexual drive, which is often seen as an undesirable
Of course there's interaction between
dogs and people, but this is mostly one-sided. People
own dogs, are the leaders and make the decisions. Although
there are plenty of people who want nothing but the
best for their dogs, this doesn't change the fact that
in the end people impose their wills on dogs. Dogs
are restricted in almost every natural behavior and
need, and have to yield to people's "needs".
In their natural surroundings, dogs are also limited
by their place in the pack's social rank. But with
humans these restrictions are more extreme. In nature,
dogs will not always have the lowest rank, such as
they do with people. They are not kept on a leash,
restricting their movements, they can answer nature's
call when necessary and they have much more social
interaction with members of their species.
Why adopt a pet?
By taking dogs as an example, we have touched upon various factors
that normally you don't think about much. Not all, but most of these
arguments also apply to other pets. On the other hand, there are
also factors that apply to other kinds of pets and not to dogs.
That brings us to the question "Why do people want pets"?