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Are dogs just a huge case of Stockholm syndrom?

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Started: 4/14/2017 Category: Funny
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 662 times Debate No: 101969
Debate Rounds (3)
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The reason for this debate isn't to win, but to communicate ideas and different viewpoints on the matter.

If you where to look at a dog as a human, the normal pet/ owner realtionship would essentially be slavery (with extra steps). This is the veiwpoint I am going to argue with throughout the three rounds, though not exclusively if need be. Because of different views yeilding different outcomes, this isn't going to be a win/loose debate, for we are arguing mostly opinions.The purpose of this debate is to express ideas and viewpoints on both sides of the argument and also just for fun.


Stockholm Syndrome.

An emotional bond formed between a captor and a hostage. A situation where a certain level of abuse is prevalent.

I would suggest that the majority of human/dog relationships do not fit these criteria.

Undeniably, there are always people who would abuse this relationship.

Your "If" is impossibly abstract. Always a dodgy premise for an argument.

As dogs have never evolved to a higher level of technological awareness. I think it's fair to propose that dogs still only function instinctively rather than conceptually.

Therefore, the slavery concept you propose is one sided. I would suggest that dogs adapt instinctively to the human/dog relationship.

A relationship that they instinctively regard as beneficial.
Debate Round No. 1


Let me re-approach this from a different angle. Instead of just using an 'if' I will look at a pet owner relationship as a whole. Yes, the dogs love us, but that is the point of my argument. Dogs have no freedom, they rely on us for food, to be let outside, getting walks, etcetera. Without us, they would starve, locked up in our homes. I argue this makes us Their captors. Now the abuse part is one I can't forum a definitive argument over, you are right, not all relationships meet the criteria for Stockholm. Animal abuse still happens between a good number of pet owners, a little a light smack here or there to 'put them in line.' Yeah it doesn't hurt them, but I find it immoral. I can't say this happens with the majority of the owners, but I can say that I does happen a lot. There are very one sided pet owner relationships as well on the more extreme end of things. Prevalent abuse, such as being chained up for hours, hit frequently, fed little to no food. And yet these dogs still love Their owners. I think this is a prime example of Stockholm syndrome.


1. I think the main flaw in your argument here, is your implication that dogs have the same conscious, awareness and response to situations, as we humans have.

I would assert that whereas humans tend to rely on conscious, conceptual decision making. Dogs rely almost solely on sub-conscious, instinctive processes.

That is not to say that dogs are incapable of making conscious decisions.

2. Yes, your argument is suggestive of a captor- hostage relationship. But only when viewed from a human perspective.

Does a dog consciously regard the relationship in the same way?

3. Love. You make two references to love.

Humans have a tendency to attribute love very glibly to a plethora of situations.

I would suggest that love is actually a conceptual definition of a physiological symptom. A dogs response to physiological stimuli, is instinctive and not conceived. That is to say a dog has no conscious notion of love.

4. What are a dogs primary, instinctively driven objectives?

I would suggest food, survival and reproduction. (But let's disregard reproduction for now)

If a dog, cat or any domesticated animal is allowed to become feral, they will readily adapt to their new environment in order to fulfil their primary objectives.

But. Dogs and cats especially, have evolved to regard their mutually beneficial relationship with humans as an appropriate and perhaps preferable environment. Where their instinctive needs are easily satisfied.

5. Abuse.

Abuse is a human problem. The causes and manifestations of abuse are probably best considered in a separate discussion.

But from a dogs point of view, if their primary objectives are met they will tolerate abuse.

If not they would leave the relationship.

But as you rightly point out. Sadly they are often not able to do so.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by leiferikson 3 years ago
This is a very interesting idea, and one that both sides are deploying decent reason for their stances. However personally, I believe that if dogs were indeed victims of SS to humans, dogs of which were in distinguishable abusive relationships would be loving of their owners as well, which they are not.
Posted by theteamnoob 3 years ago
I have to say, this is a brilliant debate.
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