Some drawbacks for dogs

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:
  • eating
  • walking
  • exercise
  • attention
  • 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.

Social behavior

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 with children). 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.

Sexual behavior

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 characteristic. 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"?

This article is part of a series on pet adoption. Below the table of contents of this series. Below that even more articles about pets.

Table of contents

Introduction: keeping pets.

An example: the dog

The history of dogs.
Modern day dogs.
Consequences of irresponsible breeding for dogs.
Drawbacks for dogs.


Why do people want pets?
Drawbacks for humans.
The pet-industry.


Take a pet?

More articles on pets

Are pets education tools?
Bad reasons for keeping pets.
Dependency of animals.
Letting go of attachment to animals.
Children and their perception of animals.
A disposal fee for every pet animal purchased?
Abandoned pets as "free as a bird"?

Links to articles about specific animals

Suffering of reptiles.
Why the goldfishbowl is bad.
A rabbit as a pet… suitable or not?