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Do Dogs Think They’re Human? How They Perceive Our Relationship

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 28, 2024 by Dogster Team

young man and labrador dog sitting in the sofa doing high five

Do Dogs Think They’re Human? How They Perceive Our Relationship

It’s no secret that dogs have fully integrated themselves into human lives. It’s almost strange when you see a household without a dog these days. While they have become such an interwoven part of a family unit, you might wonder just how they view themselves in the equation.

Do dogs think that they are humans too? Do they think that we are dogs? It turns out that our canines aren’t so dumb. Dogs are aware that they are different species from us, but they do think that they are part of the family! But we, as humans, seem to sometimes treat dogs as humans as well.

In this article, we’re going to discuss what we know about how dogs perceive the human-canine connection, and how we sometimes treat dogs like humans even though they aren’t.

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The 8 Ways Dog & Human Lives Are Connected

1. Dogs Are Part of the Family

It’s no secret that we have really integrated dogs into our families. It is almost more uncommon to see a family without a dog, than with one. People love their dogs so much that often, they are even replacing couples’ decisions to have children.

Instead, people will get dogs and raise them together, pampering them in every way, you would pamper a child. Because they get the same treatment as anyone else in the household, it might be easy for them to assume that they are a human just like you or that you’re a dog, just like them.

For most people, dogs are included in family vacations, family pictures, and special celebrations. In fact, certain things seem so much easier with your dog around.

a Christmas family photo with pet
Image Credit: Evgeniy Kalinovskiy, Shutterstock

2. Dogs Have to Be a Part of Everything

You can’t even go to the bathroom without your dog following along. They want to be part of everything that’s going on in the home, especially whatever their favorite human is doing.

So even if they don’t quite consider themselves human, they definitely feel just as much a part of your life as you are of theirs. When they are your right-hand man for just about anything, it’s no wonder lines between humans and animals can get fuzzy.

3. Dogs Are Acclimated to Our Routines

Dogs are so used to our daily routines. In fact, they count on them so much that they get really bent out of shape when things change. Our dogs are used to us going to work, coming home, taking them on walks, going on adventures, and snuggling up beside them in your recliner.

They know your moods and when to stay out of your way. They know your laughter, cry, and all in between. They are very acclimated with all of the ways the household ebbs and flows. They might even accompany you when you’re going to work or out to other commitments.

If your dog is used to coming along as if it’s second nature, you could say that’s quite human behavior!

man with dog on leash running on a rainy day
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

4. Dogs Go to Doctors, Daycares, and Hair Stylists

Just like us, our dogs have to keep up with their routine appointments. This means trips to the vet, groomer, and the dog park. They have things they look forward to, and they have commitments to fulfill.

You, as their pet parent, will be responsible for fulfilling all of these duties. But they still require much of the same care that we do.

There is even health insurance offered for dogs! Vet care is becoming such an integrated part of dog ownership that people need an extra layer of protection to make sure their dogs are covered in these situations.

So often, pet parents find themselves in emergency situations and often it’s very difficult to pay for it. But because we love our dogs ever so much, we will pay for them to have the best policy possible for the greatest amount of protection.

On another note, we can’t have our dogs around without them looking super fresh and fly! Trips to the groomer will be a common practice. Some people like to do this at home while others love pampering their pet.

5. Sometimes, Dogs Wear Clothes

We’ve all seen dogs in cute bows, sweaters, bowties, and all sorts of other adorable clothing items. Honestly, the Internet can’t quite get enough of it! There are so many different ways to humanize your little dog; we just keep coming up with new ways.

Some dogs don’t tolerate clothing very well, but there are other ways you can accessorize them! Some people get bedazzled harnesses, customized collars, and themed supplies. Some dogs have their very own wardrobe!

dog wearing dog shoes during the winter
Image Credit: LiniaS, Shutterstock

6. Dogs Get the Same Kind of Affection

No one is shy to snuggle up next to their pooch. Our canines arguably get more affection than some of our spouses do. When you are showing your dog so much love and adoration, it’s no wonder that they really feel humanized.

After all, it seems every marketing scheme is trying to humanize dogs, playing off of the love we feel for them as if they are our children.

7. Dogs Go on Car Rides and Adventures

Dogs accompany us even on our travels. They come with us to go on vacations and other adventures. They don’t miss out on anything fun! They might even ride shotgun, if they’re lucky.

A note about safety: Always remember to make sure your dog has the appropriate safety straps when you’re taking them in the car. Even though it seems like you can let your dog free in the car, they can get very hurt if you abruptly stop for any reason.

Just like small children, dogs need to be restrained in the vehicle, so they aren’t at risk for potential injury. We also advise against letting dogs ride in the truck bed!

dog wearing safety gear inside the car
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

8. Dogs Have Conversations with Us

Have you seen the adorable videos floating around the web of dogs having full-blown conversations with their human counterparts? Dogs are getting so smart that they can even manipulate different training tools to speak. That’s right!

Dogs can hit different buttons to say different words. This way, they are able to structure meanings and sentences together to communicate with us. That’s how smart our dogs are! So it’s no wonder that when they are growling, barking, whining, or howling at us, they are having real conversations.

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Scientific Research on How Dogs View Us

So even though you know how well dogs are acclimated into our lives, how do they view us? How do they organize thoughts about our relationship? We don’t know a whole lot about the thought process of our canine companions definitively, so there is much to speculate.

First, science proves that dogs are well aware that they are not humans and that humans aren’t dogs. They might be a little confused as to what role you play, but for the most part, they just view you as they would a mom or dad.

Even though they know that humans don’t quite look like a dog, they are aware that you are part of the family unit and they can feel safe and secure with you. Truthfully, we humans might humanize our dogs more than our dogs view themselves as being human.

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So now you understand that it’s only natural for dogs to feel a little more human when we do so many things to incorporate them in our lives. However, dogs are very smart and well aware that we are not the same species.

That doesn’t stop them from treating us the same way that they would treat members of their own pack. They still look at us like moms and dads and rely on us for safety, security, and love.


Featured Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

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