After yesterdays raccoon-mauling by Harry the Psychopathic German Sheppard, I've come to a conclusion. This is something that's been lurking at the back of my mind for a long time now, this event merely crystalized it and brought it to the fore.
I don't like dogs. I don't understand why other people do like dogs.
Allow me to clarify. I find most dogs, the vast majority of dogs I have encountered, harmless and inoffensive. I have encountered a small number (perhaps no more than 1 or 2) that were offensive, by being, dangerous, out-of-control and poorly behaved. I have also met a few dogs, of the small-and-yappy variety, that I did not understand their continued existence. These barking squirrels are obvious examples of massive, extended artificial selection - but why select for "horribly irritating"?
I have met many dogs. I have looked after several, and I have many friends who own (and are devoted to) their dog(s). I say this so no-one will say something truly assinine like "don't knock them 'till you try 'em". I have "tried" dogs. I just don't like them.
The most positive emotion I have experienced towards any canine is "tolerance". I don't understand when people talk about how "awesome" or "cute" or "special" or anything else they think their dog is. Seriously, what the fuck are you talking about?
I have never met a dog that did not have at least 2 of the following very negative characteristicts:
- aggressive (no, I don't care that it's "friendly" aggressive - get out of my face!)
- eats own/other pets' shit
- terrible breath (see above)
- slimy (mostly the nose, but I also don't appreciate being licked)
- noisy (typically barking, but also panting, groaning, scratching-at-doors, etc)
- generally poorly behaved.
Most dogs I've met had more than 2 of the above. By "generally poorly behaved" I include the bizarre stupidity that so many dogs show - constant licking and aggravation of a wound, not responding to called name AT ALL, prolonged barking at non-existent or idiotic stimuli, repeated annoying behaviour like sniffing/licking another dog / another animal / a child / my crotch / anything else, dominance games, etc ad nauseum.
The positive attributes often discussed in regards to dogs - like "cute" or "loyal" or "friendly", while real enough, are wholly insufficient to counteract even the 2 least bad of the above list.
I do think dogs are scientifically interesting - for example, the species shows more morphological variation than any other animal species, particularly in body size. They are an excellent example of artificial selection at work - and the relevance of correlated traits. This DOES NOT mean I want frequent personal contact with any member of the species - any more than I want frequent personal contact with Drosophila melanogaster or Caenorhabditis elenganas or Pan troglodytes.
Please don't tell me how great your dog is, in an attempt to convince me otherwise. The best you can do is demonstrate your own cognitive dissonance in ignoring the various crap characteristics your dog displays.
I'm not advocating some kind of dog-genocide (dogocide? canicide?). That your dog provides you with some pleasure is not debated - I just do not share your enthusiasm, either for the individual or the species.