Someone once asked me, “What does it mean to allow dogs to choose? Why should they decide where to sleep, walk and play?” I’m often reminded that the idea of giving dogs a choice is dangerously close to anthropomorphism. But I argue otherwise. All animals—those who live in the wild and those who spend their days with humans—make choices every day. Some of those choices cost them their lives, and some help them survive. In either event, the outcomes are at least partially determined by the animal.

Imagine someone else controlling all of your decisions, even the tiniest; over time, you will begin to feel insignificant and anxious. It’s the same with dogs. One might say that, compared to the canine brain, the human brain is far more capable of making informed choices and context-appropriate decisions. But that doesn’t mean that a dog cannot make a decision or choose between…

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