But I disagree with some anthropomorphism theories....If that isn't a human characteristic, I don't know what is.
It isn't human...because dog are NOT humans. I understand humans desperately want a romantic connection to their animals, I get it. It can be fairly innocent escapism from the stress of daily life. It's not reality but, for the most part it's harmless.
I have two personal Dog v. Snakes stories from fellow Catahoula owners. In Story #1 toddler was in the yard playing, Copperhead slithers by, Catahoula comes to to the "RESCUE"
kills snake. Dog becomes local celebrity.
Story #2 every time the hose is left loose in the yard, Catahoula comes to the
and kills snake-hose. Dog's consindered local K9 idiot.
The reality is Catahoulas that grew up down south only survived to breed if they were cautious of snake/and or knew to kill them. They same way that Catahoulas that didn't learn to repeat horses & cattle took a hoof in the head and didn't live to breed. A classic example of Darwin's survival of the fittest.
Dogs are basically pack animals, Human's are basically tribal, we do have primal instincts that are common, food, shelter companionship. For example the toy poodle deemed "nasty or snotty" because it trys to bite you on the grooming table is reacting to stress. You said you have been around conformation shows, you know those dogs of any breed will stand on the grooming table in a stack for hours if needed with a problem because for that dog it is not a stressful event. Neither is god or bad just appropriate or inappropriate behavior.
I had a female Rottweiler that was a TDI therapy dog I trusted her implicitly with small well behaved children.** She was also a Schutzhund dog. She excellent in her Courage tests. She excelled at both tasks due to situational training not, because she was a nurturing mother or a fearless guardian. She was simply mentally sound and well trained with consistent re-enforcement.