Why do people have dogs?
It is unlikely that it will ever be possible to calculate how many dogs around the world live in families as pets. Moreover, keeping animals is associated with a lot of trouble. Why do people have dogs?
Dog as part of the family system
In psychology, there is a direction called "systemic family therapy." Followers of this direction consider the family as a system, each member of which is its element that performs certain functions to solve important tasks. Moreover, each family system solves two problems:
- Preservation of stability (homeostasis).
If one of the elements of the system changes, the whole system changes. And this is inevitable, because all elements of the system (family members) constantly interact with each other and with the outside world, albeit not always realizing it.
What does the dog have to do with it, you ask? The fact is that dogs are also full members of the family system, whether we like it or not.
What role does the dog play in the family?
Anna Varga, a systemic family therapist, identifies 3 functions that dogs can perform in the family system:
- Substitution. For example, children grow up and parents take a puppy to take care of him together.
- Teen Separation. A dog sometimes helps a teenager “defend” independence, and special relationships are formed with her, which can be the prototype of her own future family.
- Member of the "triangle" (triangulation). For example, if tension between a husband and wife increases, they start a dog in order to have a “mediator” and / or relatively safe topics for communication, as well as establish an acceptable distance, which reduces the level of tension in the family.
That is why the appearance of the dog in the family is not accidental. Often a puppy or adult dog appears at a time when the family is in crisis and stabilization is needed. And in order to understand what role a dog plays in a family, it is important to know what preceded its appearance.
Of course, all these roles can be played by other people. For example, children are often drawn into triangles. But people are still creatures that are difficult to control. And the dog is a creature whose life is completely controlled by the owner.
The role of the dog in the family may change over time - it depends on the stage of development of the family and on the relationship between its members.