Why do we keep dogs? A cultural practices approach to human-dog interactions

  • Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky (Presenter)
  • Camilo Hurtado-Parrado PhD (Advisor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This conceptual analysis offers an account of the practice of dog keeping by translating it into the selection-by-consequences framework (Skinner, 1981). To that aim, the notions of interlocking behavioural contingencies, meta-contingencies, and verbal behaviour are emphasized. First, the origins of cooperation of early humans (i.e., hunter-gatherers) and dogs are discussed considering the three levels of selection (natural, behavioural and cultural). Implications from this historical account to modern-day dog owning are presented (e.g., artificial selection of dogs). Second, the subsequent cultural practice of dog owning in its various forms (e.g., human-dog interactions) is explored. Finally, the question why dog keeping has sustained over millennia as a cultural practice is addressed by means of verbal behaviour (e.g., rulegoverned and contingency-shaped behaviour).
Period27 Apr 2019
Event titleNorsk Atferdsanalytisk Forening (Norwegian Behaviour Analytic Association)
Event typeConference
LocationGol, Norway
Degree of RecognitionNational