My current philosophy of how to train and treat dogs has been occasionally charged with being “anthropomorphic.” You may say, “hunh?”
The word anthropomorphism was coined to describe how we humans tend to give our own characteristics to non-humans, originally to gods or natural phenomena like wind. Some people say guessing what your dog might do based upon your knowledge of how you would react is incorrect because it’s anthropomorphic. Let the professional scientists grow and learn about that one. You worry about what works with your dog.
Here are a couple of important points to consider if this troubles you.
So if you assume your dog will behave a certain way based upon how you behave; and that helps you reliably guess your dog’s next behavior; keep it up! If a belief doesn’t work for you and your dog, or your assumption makes it impossible or very difficult for you to move forward in your training and build that wonderful bond, STOP IT! In the interest of full disclosure I got that advice from a funny Mad TV skit with Bob Newhart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-Tej0297wk.
Examples of productive assumptions:
Examples of unproductive assumptions:
In summary, pooh-pooh naysayers and have fun. Did you get a dog to ignore and push around? Gosh I hope not! I sought out my dogs to enjoy their company and work together to have a happier life; I bet your intention was similar. Take the time to do just that. You’ll both be better for it!