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The thread about the husky got closed, and I don't want to bring it back up, but there was an interesting philosophical debate brewing there about what a dog owes its owner. I argued that a dog doesn't owe its owner anything, but apparently not everyone feels this way, which I find intriguing.

So...what do you think a dog owes its owner and why?

I think that an owner makes a conscious decision to obtain a dog and therefore owes the dog food, water, shelter, and love. However, the dog doesn't get a choice in the matter, so I don't think the dog owes its owner anything. That said, a dog that doesn't give me much (in the way of affection, focus, desire, etc.) isn't going to gain much favor by me.
 

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Nothing, my dog could be the worst dog in the world and I would still feed it and love it. Owing implies that they are coherent and rational enough to know that we want them to appreciate what we give them. If they reciprocate our love in a canine way then so be it, if not we took on them and the responsibility of caring for them even if they pee on our faces and chew our shoes. We cannot anthropomorphise otherwise we get a skewed view of the situation and start blaming a dog for emotions it does not and cannot possess.
 

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Owing implies that they are coherent and rational enough to know that we want them to appreciate what we give them.
Yeah, that. The concept of an animal owing you something is just bizarre.
 

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A healthy relationship between dog and human is symbiotic and, therefore, to the benefit of both.

It's not a question of obligation and humans who think in those terms are likely to become frustrated with the relationship. They may have unrealistic expectations from the dog and looking for gratitude, loyalty, maybe protection.
 

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I don't think that my pets - dogs or cats - owe me anything and agree with Willowy that the entire concept is just bizarre. Having said that I do hope that they will show me a little affection now and again! And maybe listen to the few commands I have trained. Other than that I made the choice to bring them into my life so the obligations are mine.
 

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Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but a little pee on the face is the bare minimum I expect from my dog. :)

I'm in the owes me nothing camp. If I was in any other with such an independent dog, I would be seriously disappointed. I know a lot of people have expectations for their dogs, esp when it comes to obedience, and dog sports would be nowhere without expectations. But I don't compete in anything with her so my expectations are pretty low. I just want her to overcome her basic instincts to destroy my couch and potty wherever she likes (esp my face). That's it. Oh, and to jump on sleeping daddy on command. That's pretty high on the list. I'm so cruel.
 

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I agree that our pets "owe" us nothing, but I believe that we all "expect" something from them. And things can get so skewed that people decide they no longer want their pets.

From my reading, cats tend to lose their home for not using a litterbox. For dogs, failure to house-train and destructiveness are relationship killers. My son gave up on a lizard for biting... (It's now mine. :(

What things would have to go wrong for YOU to decide that you no longer "owe" your dog ownership and all that it entails? Does that dovetail enough, gottaluvmutts, or is that an attemped threadjack? If so, it's not my intent. I found this concept very interesting too.
 

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I don't think human or animal "owe" each other anything. It's a 50/50 relationship.... The owner gives the dog it's basic needs, along with love and company... and the dog (depending on it's breed) gives the owners security, love, affection, company. If an owner cannot commit to a dog's basic needs, they should not have an animal. Expecting anything from a relationship is simply asking too much... for the most part, dogs don't choose their owners.
 

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I saw that husky thread too and was a bit horrified as I read it. I thought about responding in a vinegary way, but stopped myself, thinking that it would just escalate things to an unpleasant level. I'm glad it got closed.

My dog owes me nothing, although I am happy to receive affection and love from her.

I, on the other hand, owe her much. I chose to take her on and in doing so, I owe her a plentiful life (in every sense of the word). Food, love, training, care, exercise, toys, mental stimulation, grooming and so much more. I try to do all of this for her. Still, I am not the perfect dog owner. Neither is she the perfect dog. But we do well in our bond and there is nothing on this earth that can diminish the love we have for each either.
 

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I also saw the thread, chose to read it, and not reply. People tend to be rather scary sometimes over the internet. I pride myself in being a fairly good judge of character in the real world, ... and pretty much can see through people by the way they seem to think. :) Being this is the internet of course we could all tell fibs if we wished and no one would know the better. I am hoping this person was one heck of a novelist or short story writer and just looking for attention or to see if it would get on the best seller list!

Dogs IMO owe us absolutely " NOTHING. " Humans being the most intelligent of all living creatures in our own rights take on the responsibility of these other creatures knowing they are not like us in general. We need to abide by this and offer support to our pets and not expect anything in return but their undying loyalty. Humans should take lessons from these creatures. The world may be a better place when it comes to forgiveness .....all IMHO. :)
 

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Abby, I always love your posts and tend to agree with what you say within them. You seem to have a soft heart and that's something I appreciate in people.

Yes, there are some scary people on the Internet and in real life. There was a scary person in my own real life recently who wanted to hurt my dog out of anger toward me. I was able to head off that possibility and my dog is safe. But it was darned scary. But yes, there are some horrible and hateful people in this world ...
 

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I have mixed feelings on this, and maybe its because when I got my dog I was interested in canine performance venues, like agility and herding and obedience.

I specifically got my dog after researching dog breeds extensively for a long period of time. Finally I chose a breed that fit my general requirements of size, shedding, and general temperament: The Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Now, I realize that not every Cardigan is going to be drivey and enjoy canine sports. Some don't even have herding instinct (most do, however). And, due to the variation physically in the breed (something I appreciate more then you could ever know), not every puppy is going to be a specials quality dog.

However, I had a certain expectation that she would probably be good at at least ONE of the things I was interested in, and that's exactly how it turned out.

She's not specials quality; in fact, we stopped showing because of some advice I received. She's not entirely of American breeding and it definitely shows when she moves.

She doesn't like herding; she was not raised around sheep and due to her natural suspicion, she is afraid of the sheep and so her instinct cannot surface. She does, however, show instinct by herding me, other dogs, and cats.

Agility is where she shines and we have a blast with it. We'll be starting Rally here soon, too, but that's just so we have more to do during the week and I like to change things up on her so she doesn't get bored. Besides, a little obedience never hurt anyone ;)

If she had turned out to hate everything, I would still love her and she would always have a home with me. I would not love her any more or any less, because my bond with her is stronger then that.

I would get a dog with which I could train, because that's something I really enjoy doing, and I do believe that training strengthens the bond between dog and person. Or rather, it can strengthen the bond. The wrong kind of training can destroy the bond.

And maybe one day I'll have a dog that I can show in conformation and who has a bit more drive towards herding, but for now I enjoy my dog for what she is and what she has to offer and we focus on the things she's good at and both of us are happy in that way.
 

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CWCs, I think there's a difference in wanting a dog for a specific purpose (many here have dogs with 'jobs') and expecting a dog to 'show appreciation' for the things we give it. Many dogs NEED jobs to be happy, they have that drive and it's part of thier instinct.
 

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I have never felt that any of my dogs "owed" me anything. They all however have given to me in abundance in one way or another.
 

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Owing implies that they are coherent and rational enough to know that we want them to appreciate what we give them
This is well said. Additionally, part of why I love dogs is that they are blissfully free of the intentional angst, drama, and game-playing that can be part of human relationships. Why ruin that by assigning them human characteristics? I already have parents, I don't need another relationship full of expectations of what is owed to whom and why. ;-)
 

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My dogs owe me nothing. :)
Sure I expect them to work well in harness and (I expect my leaders) to take commands on the trail but do they 'owe" that to me?
Nope
 

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To quote a song that my bf listens to, "the sun doesn't give the light to the moon assuming, the moon's gonna owe it one." :)

We all chose to own our dogs to make ourselves happy. Even if we decide to get a dog with the intention of the dog working, or showing, or performing, etc. we still made the decision to own dogs purely for our own personal benefit. We aren't doing our dogs any "favors" for which they need to pay us back. The fact that we have the pleasure of owning them is all they need to give us in return! I do think, though, that we as the humans have a responsibility to provide our dogs with the best care that we can, because we were the ones who decided to enter into this relationship. "Owing," IMO implies that if a dog doesn't live up to your standards, it doesn't deserve your care, and that it has to EARN your care. I also think that it implies a sort of resentment towards your dog, as if your dog is some sort of freeloader or moocher. Imagine if people saw their children in that way!

Also, I do think there is a definite difference between believing your dog "owes" you something, and having expectations of what you want to do with your dog. Those with hopes of working or showing or other with their dog should find a dog that suits their wants, that's only logical. I'm not implying that an owner shouldn't care about whether their dog will behave in the way that they want. I also don't think it's wrong for a person to realize that a particular dog is not giving them what they want, and decide to rehome the dog with another person whom they believe the dog will be a better fit. But there's a big difference between having hopes for your dog to behave in a certain way, and believing that your dog is somehow in debt to you and has to make up for all that it owes you by behaving according to a certain standard, or else it doesn't deserve all that you've given it.
 

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I think almost everyone here agrees that, technically, our dogs don't "owe" us anything, as it implies that dogs understand the concept of gratitude, etc. etc. But I do think there's something to be said for what we "expect" from our dogs, and not just dogs with jobs, either. There's a reason I chose a dog for a pet, not a tarantula.

One day, after I came home with a bunch of premium food and chews for Belle, my mom pet her and said, "Belle, she spoils you rotten! You must be giving her SOMETHING in return!" But, really, Belle is just herself, and that's all she can give me, and all I can expect of her.

*EDIT*...Yeah, Nargle just beat me too it. :)
 
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