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Pet psych

  1. Feb 22, 2010 #1


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    Could it be that we are keeping all pets in their baby/infant state, psychologically?

    Hypothetically, if talking apes were capturing human babies and keeping them as pets (as in Planet of Apes) like we keep cats as pets, the apes would neuter/spay the human children, feed them corn & applesauce thrice a day, squirt water on them if they sat on the dinner table, etc., for the rest of their lives.

    Wouldn't that cause the human to become overly depressive, but also (my current hypothesis ---> ) stuck in infancy for the entirety of their lives?

    As evidence, I'd like to point to the fact that cats that are born as pets never really learn the adult meow, they stick with the baby "meew," because that gets them what they want. So, why would they ever change?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2010 #2
    Ive searched and searched for a source on this. It was from a book I read about dog behavior, and after reading it, I returned it back to Powells for credit and I've never seen it again. This is something I regret doing. If anyone else has heard of this idea below or even what it is called and can prove I am not making this up please let me know.

    Anyhow the idea is this: Domestic breeds exhibit traits that infants of their undomesticated cousins express.
    In short many domesticated animals are like "adult infants" of the species they were bred from.

    For example (there are many others if only I had this book again:)
    An adult dog will display behavior that resembles a wolf cub.
    A specific behavior example: Dogs often have no problem sleeping in piles with eachother ; wolf cubs don't either, but wolf adults grow out of this tendency.
    A general idea:
    Many of the genetic traits within dog breeds (like remaining the size of a puppy throughout adulthood) are the suppresion of genes that regulate development that are fully expressed in wolves; but are supressed in dogs.

    There is a hidden presumption that the desirable and friendly characteristics of cubs, piglets, calves etc are what breeders have been selecting in adults of the breed, whether on purpose or not, for non aggressive stock.
    In the case of many livestock food breeds the duration of adolescance where they put on the majority of their weight is extended. Their growth spurt years are extended but at the same time other adolescent behavior genes get carried along with this.
    And so you get childlike adults. Breeds which exhibit infantile behavior their entire adult life and pass this retardation along to their kin. It can go even further in dogs when bred for cuteness: you get breeds where the adult dogs actually continue to look like a puppy. Other puppy behavior like the willingness to be a lap dog translates over too. I doubt any adult wolf would be patient in a human's lap, but the same may not be true of wolf cubs.

    This part I am making up below: I have never read confirmation of this anywhere it is just an idea I play with: Humans have baby faces. I think humans are self domesticated for sociability. I think the process of domestication as it relates to the above idea is important in understanding our own species. Maybe humans are the premature version of an extinct cousin species. Much like wolves to dogs (assuming that is true.) This idea is complete conjecture.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  4. Feb 23, 2010 #3
    I've definitely heard from somewhere that house cats are emotionally stunted.
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