Do you consider your dog a family member, like some furry child with terrible table manners? Or is your pet more functional, like a slobbery burglar alarm? A recent Indiana University South Bend study indicates that there are three main categories into which people's views of their dogs may be subdivided.
Researcher David Blouin recently conducted a series of interviews with dog owners and derived these attitudinal groupings: Those exhibiting a humanist stance saw their pets as valuable companions, akin to people; protectionists were those who generally valued animals, not only in a pet capacity; and dominionists, Blouin says, made a clear distinction between animals and people, viewing their dogs as less important than fellow humans and often using them for work.
The study concludes that these outlooks are a product of cultural considerations and personal traditions, with pet owners literally learning from their own circumstances how to treat animals. Blouin also notes that adherence to a particular point of view is not absolute, and that changes in family or other life situations may drastically and quickly alter a relationship.