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Home DOG TRENDS & STYLESDog Humanisation Humanising Dogs: A New Trend or an Age-Old Instinct?

Humanising Dogs: A New Trend or an Age-Old Instinct?

by Bella Woof

Humanising Dogs: A New Trend or an Age-Old Instinct?

Dogs have been man’s best friend for centuries, and their bond with humans keeps getting stronger by the day. As a result, pet owners are increasingly trying to humanise their dogs. They dress them up, pamper them, and indulge their every whim. However, this has sparked a debate among animal behaviour experts and pet owners who are trying to answer the question – is humanising dogs a new trend or an age-old instinct?

humanising dogs

Humanising Dogs: What Does it Mean?

Humanising dogs means treating them as if they are human. This means that they get the same benefits and privileges as humans. They are afforded the same rights, attention, love, and respect. However, the concept of humanising dogs is quite controversial, with critics arguing that dogs are not humans and should not be treated as such.

The Pros and Cons of Humanising Dogs

There are both pros and cons to humanising dogs. Let’s explore them below.


  • Pet owners get to enjoy more quality time with their dogs.
  • Dogs become more integrated into their owner’s lives.
  • Humanising dogs can help pet owners develop a deeper understanding of their pets.
  • When a dog is treated as family, their health and well-being can also benefit from the bond that is formed.


  • Humanising dogs can lead to behavioural issues in dogs.
  • Pet owners often don’t understand dog’s body language and thus misunderstand their dog’s needs.
  • Humanising dogs can cause dogs to become overly attached to their owners.
  • Dogs may develop anxiety or stress due to unrealistic expectations.

Age-Old Instincts That Drive Humanising Dogs

The human-dog bond dates back to ancient times when dogs were domesticated for hunting, protection and companionship. It is believed that humans and dogs have co-evolved, and just like humans, dogs also crave love and affection. Dr. Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, says that humanising pets is a natural consequence of human empathy, which extends to all animals.

The Influence of Social Media on Humanising Dogs

The rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook has added fuel to the fire that is humanising dogs. Doggy influencers like Doug the Pug, Tuna, and Maru the Shiba Inu, have a sizeable following that goes into the millions. They have made people more than ever relate to their pets and the humanising of dogs. With relatable content that showcases their dogs’ personalities and lives, pet owners have created a virtual space where their dogs can be celebrated.

social media influencing humanising dogs

How to Find a Balance Without Humanising Your Dog

While it is essential to create a strong bond with our pets, there needs to be a balance between treating dogs as family members and keeping them in line with their natural instincts. Below are a few ways to create this balance:

Keep Their Natural Instincts in Mind

Dogs are pack animals that thrive in a hierarchical social structure; therefore, it is important to establish clear boundaries and limitations. Make sure your dog understands who is the leader of the pack. This can be done through training and consistent rules and behaviour reinforcement.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Dogs require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and anxiety. Regular walks, playing games and interacting with other dogs in the park is beneficial. Additionally, mental stimulation like playing puzzle games and hiding treats helps keep their minds active and healthy.

Understand the Dog’s Body Language

Dogs have a sophisticated system of communicating through body language, and it’s important to recognise their signals. Understanding signs of stress, discomfort and excitement can result in better communication between you and your dog, leading to decreased misunderstandings.


1. Is it wrong to humanise dogs?

There is no right or wrong answer; it depends on the individual dog owner. However, it is important to keep in mind that dogs are not humans and have specific needs and natural instincts that should be met. As with anything, balance is key.

2. Can humanising dogs cause behavioural issues in dogs?

Yes, humanising dogs can lead to behavioural issues such as separation anxiety, overprotection of their owners, and the development of fear towards other humans or other dogs. However, if done correctly by understanding and respecting their natural instincts, humanising dogs can be an incredible bond between human and dog.

3. What are the benefits of humanising dogs?

The benefits of humanising dogs include more quality time spent with your dog, a more integrated relationship with your dog and a genuine understanding of your pet’s personality, likes, dislikes, and needs.

4. How do you stop humanising your dog?

Stop humanising your dog by understanding their natural instincts and implementing boundaries. Spend time exercising and mentally stimulating your pet like wild dogs would do in the wild. Learn to read and interpret your dog’s body language to communicate better, which leads to decreased misunderstandings.


The trend of humanising dogs is not new, and it shows no signs of slowing down; instead, it is becoming more popular. However, as humans, it’s up to us to recognise that dogs are not humans and have specific needs that we need to understand. While treating dogs like humans is not harmful on its own, it’s essential to find a balance that meets a dog’s natural instincts.

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