Dog as a Friend and Companion

The relationship of owners with their dogs is as complex, individual and fascinating as human partnerships, with some key points to which most or all owners can relate. The dog is first a companion and friend, at the same time similar to and different from a human being. A dog is reliable, affectionate and gives a sense of constancy and routine to life, all roles less easily fulfilled by humans. At the same time the dog is something to care for, putting the owner in the role of parent to child in some respects, and as an equal in others. A dog is a stimulus for laughter and for play, the latter behavior being one that adults perform more easily with a dog than with another person.

The physical characteristics of dogs are pleasant, they are usually soft to touch, warm, and never answer back. They are a stimulus for exercise and keep their owners active. They give protection and impart a feeling of security. They can improve self-esteem, and may have the ability to reduce stress. All these features can be provided at rimes by another person, by a dog constantly.

Humans are able to form a strong emotional bond with a dog, and the dog with the human. That perhaps is the key to the whole relationship and why it is so successful. Rudyard Kipling said it in another way in The Power of the Dog: 'Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware of giving your heart to a dog to tear'.