‘The dog is man’s best friend,’ is a term that everyone knows. A dog is meant to be the ultimate companion for its owner. But why is this? Why do people prefer dogs over other animals? US pet ownership statistics say that around 78.2 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States. But why do so many people keep dogs as pets?
Dogs make the best companions. They always greet you with plenty of love when you walk through the door, regardless if you’ve been gone for 9 hours at work or just 5 minutes at the corner store. They constantly give you love and affection. The look of judgement-free, unconditional love that they give you melts your heart.
Dogs’ attitudes never really vary from day to day like a human! As long as they are treated with kindness, dogs usually keep the same temperament with the same people and provide great friendship. You will get that same unconditional love, day in and day out!
If your dog is well trained, they will also lay and chew quietly while you read or cook, providing companionship without you having to do anything other than give them acknowledgement every now and again!
This goes hand in hand with companionship. According to Dr. Sue Doescher, “[having a puppy] made children more cooperative and sharing. Having a pet improves children’s role-taking skills because they have to put themselves in the pet’s position and try to feel how the pet feels. And that transfers to how other kids feel” (NYTimes). As someone who was an only-child, this is especially true. I would not have grown into the man I am today if not for my childhood best friend, Buster.
The same study that Dr. Doescher participated in also showed that children that had dogs were more socially competent, less lonely (even in the face of emotional neglect), and showed an increased capacity for nurturing.
Unlike most pets, you can play with dogs and bring them for walks or go for runs! That’s right, dogs are also a great exercise tool! Going for a nice long walk or hike with a dog can be therapeutic! Dog owners have been proven to be less prone to depression! Dog owners have been proven to be less prone to depression!
After a long day of work, playing tug of war or fetch with your dog is a great way to help unwind and forget about all of the frustrations of the daily 9-5. Seeing your dog run after a ball with a big stupid grin on their face will warm even the coldest of hearts!
Whether you live alone or with family and friends, you want to be able to feel secure and safe in your own home. Sometimes, however, people don’t feel safe enough by just keeping the doors and windows locked and having a burglar alarm. Some people find that owning dogs is much better than having any alarm in your home!
Dogs can easily sense when something is not right- a lot of people feel this is due to them being able to smell adrenaline; fear almost. They will be able to sense if an unwelcomed, or threatening, presence is nearby and will bark, or alert, you.
Dogs also have excellent hearing, which is twice as good as human beings. If trained right, a dog can alert you to an intruder before they ever make inside the door; before you ever hear them. Guard dogs can also scare off burglars before they ever try to steal from you – often they are warned off by a simple ‘beware of dog’ sign!
Also, dogs are BY FAR the best smoke detector on Earth! We accidentally burnt a roast in the over a few weeks ago. We were in the other room and wondered why the dog was barking at the oven. Low and behold, the roast was burning! There wasn’t even any smoke coming out of the oven! Best smoke detector ever!
There are so many benefits to having a dog as a pet that it’s impossible to go over them all. My advice when you wonder if you want a dog or not is to go to your local animal shelter and play with a few of the dogs there. See how you feel when you interact with them. If it’s meant to be, you’ll feel a bond instantly. You can also puppy-sit one of your friend’s dogs when they go on vacation! That’s how we knew for sure we were ready for another pup!
Did you know that most dogs end up at an animal shelter because their owners were unable to properly control the dog’s temperament? If you do take the plunge and get a dog, try out the mirror method of dog training. Just like humans, dogs react very well to positive reinforcement! Positive reinforcement has been proven as the leading means of dog training!
Joe is a leading editorial contributor at Best Dog Crates and Beds. Having been a dog lover his whole life, Joe loves teaching others dog training tips and tricks in order to help strengthen the bond between dog owners and their companions.