To us, owning a dog is a bit like rearing human children: those middle-of-the-night wake-ups when your dog is still a puppy, potty training and socialisation, and picking out tiny cute clothes. The two experiences also bear a few similarities when it comes to parenting styles. From the ultra hands-on Helicopter to the decidedly more hands-off Maverick, there are numerous ways to parent a pooch. So, out of all the types of Dog Owners, which one are you?
The eight types of Dog Owners
Let’s cut straight to the chase. Here are eight types of Dog Owners that you either associate with yourself, or have at least met at the dog park.
Don’t let the long and near-impossible-to-pronounce moniker fool you – this is one simple concept. Anthropomorphism involves assigning human traits or behaviours to non-humans, including dogs.
As an Anthropomorphisiser, you treat your doggo as if they were a fellow Homo sapien: they come with you on holidays, they ride up front in the car, they eat what you eat – and sometimes better. They’re your confidant, bedfellow, and best mate. They understand you on a truly profound level, and sometimes, when you ask them for advice, you swear they actually answer you back.
Not to be confused with the Anthropomorphisiser, the Furparent doesn’t just treat their dog like a human, but, more specifically, a very tiny human. If you’re a Furparent, your furbaby is more like an actual baby, and you’re certainly not shy about treating them as such.
First of all, the only language you know how to speak to them is baby talk. You coo, you babble, the pitch of your voice reaches heights most people reserve for infants – all while you’re cradling your pupper in your arms. Heck, you might even tickle or blow raspberries on their belly. Your furbaby has a wardrobe to rival yours and you’re more likely to carry them on a walk rather than let them use their own four feet.
You’re also not above buying your doggo a pram. Hey, no judgement here.
This is a bit like being a Furparent, but the Helicopter takes their parenting responsibilities 50 steps further. Their doggo is the centre of their universe, and they’ll happily cross swords with anyone who poses a (real or perceived) threat.
If you’re a Helicopter, you rarely let your dog leave your sight. When you take your pooch to the dog park, you refuse to let them run around with the other dogs. Instead, you skirt around the perimeter of the park with your dog on a leash.
If any other pupper dares come and sniff yours, you’ll quickly pick up your precious pooch and scurry off. If a stranger tries to pat them, you’ll ask that they wash their hands first, lest they contaminate your dog with some kind of feral human disease.
The Maverick might just be the antithesis of the Furparent and the Helicopter. They certainly love their dog, but they’re pretty carefree when it comes to parenting them.
As a Maverick, your doggo can almost do whatever they want. They can walk around your neighbourhood off-leash, eat food straight off your plate, and poop anywhere they darn well please – and you may or may not dispose of their business once they’re done. It’s natural doggy behaviour, after all.
If you’re not a Maverick yourself, you’ve almost definitely spotted one. It’s rare that you’ll see a Maverick wearing shoes, and their dog’s leash might simply be a piece of rope tied to their collar – if they’re even on one, that is.
In a line-up of dogs and their Owners, the Professional would be immediately distinguishable. Theirs is the dog that’s impeccably well-behaved, sitting perfectly straight, and possibly wearing some kind of fitness tracker (yes, it’s a thing).
If you’re a Professional, you do every single thing by the book and know absolutely everything there is to know about dogs. You’re up-to-date on the current trends in puppy parenting, you know the ins and outs of every single worming treatment on the market, and, unlike the rest of us, you can easily distinguish between an English Springer Spaniel and a Welsh Springer Spaniel. And if anyone comes to you for advice, you’ve got the 411 on the latest in canine research.
The result is definitely worth it, though. Given the incredible effort you’ve put into raising and training your dog, you never have to deal with common doggo problems like digging, stealing socks, and peeing on furniture or other places where they quite frankly shouldn’t.
The Dog Boss
If you’re a Dog Boss, you’re likely to live and work on a farm or in another kind of working environment. You spend your days toiling hard, and your doggo is right there with you, from dawn till dusk. But they’re not just there to keep you company; your dog (or dog pack) is more like an employee.
You see, the Dog Boss exclusively owns working dog breeds. Perhaps it’s a Border Collie to round up sheep, a Pointer to assist on the hunting trail, or a German Shepherd to work on search-and-rescue missions. Your dog knows each and every command in the book, and will even respond to loud whistles or unintelligible calls (“Chyaah!”, “Heh!”, “C’meh!”).
Your doggo is also very happy to ride in the tray of your ute, resting up after a long day in preparation for tomorrow’s hard yakka.
The Stage Parent
As a Stage Parent, you take your role very seriously. You’re not just here to love and care for your dog, but to coach them towards superstardom.
Your pooch already has their very own Instagram account packed to the brim with adorable shots and witty captions – and your goal is to turn them into a global icon.
In an ideal world, your doggo would be one of the top Instagram dogs, with over half-a-million followers and an ambassadorship deal with their favourite dog food brand. They’d also be immediately recognisable at the dog park and be inundated with other dogs and their Owners clambering for selfies with your famous pupper.
Or, if you’re more old-school, your doggo will have simply racked up a shelving unit’s worth of dog show trophies and ribbons.
We totally get it: this one hits hard. Sure, you don’t have any puppers of your own, but your life goal is to change that. And in the meantime, you’ll do whatever it takes to get as much canine time as you darn well can.
Perhaps you obsess over dog GIFs, imagining that that Corgi belly flopping into the pool is your very own pupper. Maybe you spend your spare time (longingly) browsing adoption listings. You might also pet sit for friends and family, or even take your hobby to a new level by being a professional Dog Sitter or local Dog Walker.
Whatever the case, we know you’ll be a Dog Owner one day – after which you’ll return right to this very article to find out what kind of pet parent you truly are.