Anthropomorphism

Ya know, I never used to believe dogs could express what I thought of as entirely human emotions. In the past, I've always been able to attribute my [Rainbow] dogs' reactions to various stimuli to perfectly animalistic (survival, in my mind) responses.

Now, however, we have a cat in the house frequently. And Magnum appears to be…well...jealous. He appears to hate it if the cat attempts to get my attention. He'll put himself in the middle of the cat and me and take a good slapping (cat's claws extended), rather than let the cat get any closer to me. He exhibits no growling or attempt to defend himself, he just won't let the cat get any closer.

He ignores the cat (except for a good sniffing when it comes in from outside--which the cat tolerates) otherwise, except for guarding his food from the cat (although it appears to be okay for him to eat the cat's food--which the cat allows with no problem).

Is it only because I am his provider? Is he trying to assert his dominance over the cat passively? He doesn't make a defensive move in this situation, just puts himself between me and the cat as quickly as he can.

This boy, out of all the dogs I've had, is my heart dog, but it just seems real weird to me that although there's no food involved, he won't let the cat approach me, given my understanding of anthropomorphism.

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

I think my dogs do show complex emotions that some people seem to think animals are incapable of. Take Nicky, Nicky at 10 years old still holds a grudge against Crash another 10 year old basenji. What precipitated this grudge, 7 years ago Crash and Nicky ran a lure course together that opened with a long straight away. Both boys wanted to go in opposite directions, both boys were nearly even in speed and both boys were in each other's way. They bumped all the way down the straight away. Then the lure cut the way Nicky wanted to go and you could see he felt like Crash had intentionally prevented him from going the direction he had wanted to go. 7 years later Nicky has not forgiven Crash for this event.

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In a nutshell, I would say yes. Jealously is really a form of resource guarding. You are a resource to Magnum in that you provide everything for him, food, comfort etc. He wants to protect and project his status to the cat in relation to the resource.
Even if you look at jealousy in people, it is resource guarding. Sibling rivalry...resource is usually Mom and Dad's time and attention.
There are lots of constructs in ethology (animal behavior) that are the same across mammalian/bird behavior (particularly in the higher order animals). So applying those theories isn't really engaging in anthropomorphism.
Anthropo is more like saying 'I think the thought of catching birds and eating them raw is gross, so my dog should never do anything like that'....or 'my dog is mad at me for adding another dog the house' or 'I would hate to be kept on a leash, and my dog hates it too'
Who is it that has the tag line 'Don't anthropomorphize dogs...they hate that'....that kinda says it all 😉

Who is it that has the tag line 'Don't anthropomorphize dogs…they hate that'....that kinda says it all 😉

I think that is someone on the BRAT Chat list, I always laugh when I see it.

Patricia Mcconnell wrote to great books on this topic. Her latest book For The Love Of A Dog goes into great detail about dog "emotions" and true anthrop.

When I first got my Xbox and was playing a fair amount for a couple of nights, my male stood right beneath my legs (which were propped on the coffee table) and urinated. I figured that he would have gave me the middle finger if he could extend it. 😉

Serves you right for playing video games so much 😃

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