By Tom Kandt helenair.com | Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 12:00 am
During the last hundred years or more, dogs have been used to meet specific human needs more than any other domestic animal. Among those needs have been companionship, which has led to the evolution of the household dog. Humans have benefited immensely from this relationship. Has there been a mutual benefit to the companion dog? A look at the issue suggests maybe not.
Some experts on canine behavior think our modern culture in America is producing pet dogs that are not physically or emotionally well adjusted. Veterinarian behaviorist Dr. Myrna Milani believes pet dogs have bigger challenges than working dogs and need more time growing up. She suggests that companion dogs should not be removed from their litters until 12 weeks so they can continue learning the necessary social skills to cope with increasing environmental pressures.
These pressures are numerous and can result in behavior problems. Two-income families mean dogs are abandoned many hours a day and are more prone to separation issues and nuisance barking. Fences, leashes and laws restricting canine access to public places have helped produce aggressively reactive and poorly socialized dogs that have difficulty coping with environmental change. In some households, the desire for cleanliness and order has relegated the household dog, a true social species, to a backyard fixture with no connection to its human pack.