Diagnosis by photo: is it possible to evaluate the character of a dog from a photograph?
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, specialist in animal therapy, consultant on animal behavior and well-being
You have decided to take the dog from the shelter and are considering photographs, of which there are a huge number of online. And it often happens that the decision to take this or that dog is made without a personal acquaintance, exclusively from the photo and the story of the curators. But is it possible to evaluate the character of a dog from a photograph? To kill you with character, and not appearance ...
Unfortunately, it is impossible to make a diagnosis in the photo and evaluate the character of the dog. For several reasons.
- If you see a mestizo, then the outward resemblance to a particular breed for which some owners “buy” is often misleading. Moreover, it is far from always possible to correctly determine what kind of dogs "ran" in the ancestors. For example, if a large or medium-sized dog is shown in the photo, among its ancestors there may be schnauzers, terriers or pointers - and all these groups of breeds are very different in character, because they were bred for different purposes.
- Of course, you can get primary information from the photo if you can read the body language of the dog. For example, if a dog feels confident, its posture is relaxed, its ears lie or stand calm, its tail is not tightened, etc. However, not everyone can correctly interpret dog signals.
- In addition, the environment (familiar or unfamiliar), people, other incentives (for example, often photographers use different sounds to attract the dog’s attention) influence the behavior of the dog in the photo. So a dog that looks hesitant (looking to the side, so that the whites of the eyes are visible, has pressed its paw, pressed its ears, pulled the corners of its lips, etc.), may be reacting to the new situation and a large number of strangers, or maybe be timid by default.
- In addition, the photo is static, one moment out of many, and you cannot know what preceded it and what happened after. So, you can’t evaluate the dog’s behavior in dynamics.
So no photo can replace a personal acquaintance (or rather a few meetings) with a dog that you liked from the picture and the curator’s story.