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Heiman, M. (1956). The Relationship Between Man and Dog. Psychoanal Q., 25:568-585.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:568-585

The Relationship Between Man and Dog

Marcel Heiman, M.D.

INTRODUCTION

Mythology and folklore, fables and fiction interrelate man's life with dogs and other animals. Relatively few psychoanalytic writers have considered this relationship.

There have been many attempts to explain why the dog, man's companion from prehistoric times, has lent itself so readily to domestication. Among the best of these explanations is that advanced by Sir Francis Galton (11) in the mid-nineteenth century. According to him, 'No animal is fitted for domestication unless it fulfils certain stringent conditions… First, they should be hardy. Second, they should have an inborn liking for man. Third, they should be comfort loving. Fourth, they should be found useful to the savages. Fifth, they should breed freely. Sixth, they should be easy to tend.'

Describing the subtle relation of man and dog, Galton anticipates modern observations of psychologists and naturalists: 'The animal which above all others is a companion is the dog, and we observe how readily their [man's and dog's] proceedings are intelligible to each other. Every whine or bark of the dog, each of his fawning, savage or timorous movements is the exact counterpart of what would have been the man's behavior, had he felt similar emotions' (11p. 262).

Galton considers man's interests, but Konrad Lorenz, a modern naturalist, discusses the part played by the animal in the process of domestication, and shows how the dog of today may have developed from the jackal (14). 'First', he says, 'it assumed the function of the sentry.

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