How Treating Dogs Like Humans is Abusive

The love we feel towards our pets can lead us to lose balance and show them an excessive amount of love.
How Treating Dogs Like Humans is Abusive

Last update: 08 February, 2018

Maybe our affection for pets could lead to treating dogs like humans. This can be extremely dangerous. Animals have very different needs than our own. Let’s see how humanizing them is also a form of abuse.

We must be aware of the similarities and differences between dogs and us. Only then can we become tolerant and respectful. So, we can enjoy living with our dog, and he can do the same, as well.

They have needs that are attributed to their canine species. Applying different ones can lead them to lose their personality or worse. For example, dogs do not need to sleep in a bed or change menus every day.


Treating dogs like humans can lead to them having negative, human-like thoughts and feelings like revenge or resentment.

Good training is essential for having a good home life with your dog. To achieve this, we must also understand that they do not think like us. They learn thanks to associative memory. They are able to remember the consequences of their actions and relate them to something positive or negative. Then, they act in accordance.

Similarities with us

Like us, dogs are sociable and need company around, not just to be happy but to survive.

They also like to listen to music. Thanks to their sensory acuity, when they perceive something pleasant, their bodies generate cortisol and endorphins that give them a feeling of well-being and relaxation, so much so that music therapy is done with dogs too.

Differences from us

Dogs have an incredible olfactory capacity. They are capable of perceiving stimuli that we will never perceive. This means that they can be used for search and rescue operations.

On the other hand, these animals do not have a great ability to differentiate flavors, so they have all the necessary nutrients and nourishment in the food made especially for them. Moreover, feeding the animal food that we eat can be more harmful than beneficial.

The dangers of treating dogs like humans

Since dogs are very different from us, it is clear that their needs are different. Therefore, meeting unnecessary needs will only confuse the animal. This could cause problems with cohabitation and behavior.

Dogs are herd animals. In order to educate them so that they behave in the way we want, they must feel that we are their leader. If we are treating dogs like humans, they could get confused. Maybe they want to occupy a position that does not belong to them.


This could trigger aggressive behavior with family members, with other pets and even with other people.

On the other hand, humanizing a dog would make it lose its identity. If the dog does not feel like a dog, he will no longer be excited about going out, eating when it is time, wallowing in the ground, or playing with other dogs.

Another problem that humanizing a dog could trigger is related to socialization. A dog that is treated like a human does not want to be with other dogs, something that is essential for his personality and his good development. This would make it so that the creature is not a happy animal that enjoys the company of its fellow dogs, and we would be stealing a part of itself.

Socialization is fundamental for the emotional balance of your animal, so not doing this could cause the dog to overreact to certain situations, which could cause unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided.

With all this, we do not want to imply that we should not love our dogs any less, but that we should do it in its proper measure for what they are: dogs, not humans.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.