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The world of Pandemonium is a world in another universe where humans may exist, that is gravitationally connected to Earth in our universe. Over the course of history since the big bang, these universes have periodically collided, transferring organised matter from one to the other, including humans... and other animals, including dogs.

On Pandemonium, the science of genetics surpassed that of our society long ago, and genetic transhumanism has become the norm, in order to adapt the humans that live there to their alien environment.

However, while dogs are a popular pet in many nations of earth, I wanted to have dogs be unpopular as pets on Pandemonium. The rationale that I came up with is that despite dogs being easily bred to have a wide variety of traits on earth, and the people of Pandemonium being expert genetic engineers, the following problems exist with dogs in the view of Pandemonians:

  • Dogs are dangerous large pack predators that attack and kill humans too frequently.

  • Dogs are unclean.

  • Dogs are noisy

  • Dogs are only suited to be working animals in industries such as security, policing and farming.

Of course, these reasons are reason enough for a society to reject dogs as pets for the most part, since it can be so because I say it is so, and we have real-world examples of societies that are biased against dogs. However, that's not the point of this question.

  • Dogs can easily be genetically engineered to have many different traits, but their essential 'doggishness' cannot easily be removed.

I wanted this to be the primary reason why dogs are not pets Historically, the Pandemonian genetic engineers couldn't change dogs so that they were no longer dangerous, filthy, or noisy without breaking the ineffable something that makes a dog a dog. They did produce things from dogs that make good pets, but they weren't Canis familiaris any more. The genetic engineers can now genetically engineer dogs as required to make 'good pets' without having to make them into a new species, but the longstanding prejudice against dogs still exists, and they'd be ridiculed or censured for trying.

Is this genetic engineering problem a reasonable justification for "Dogs aren't Pets" on Pandemonium, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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    $\begingroup$ Pandemonians don't like Dogs eh? Yes Mr Wick. Yes these people right here. Don't like Dogs $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ @TheDemonLord The Pandemonians may look like literal devils and demons, but they wouldn't kill Mr Wick's dog. Ask him to keep it out of a lot of places, certainly. Just because they don't like dogs doesn't mean that they don't respect other people's property. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ For what it is worth, feral cats, fox, fishers, and owls all make great working animals on a farm keeping pests in check and none could ever be pets without generations of work to domesticate them. $\endgroup$
    – JonSG
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ Dogs have actually dropped in popularity as pets in the last 50 years compared to cats, largely due to their relatively high maintenance. Compared to cats they have heavy social needs, are much more work to groom and clean up after, its no longer considered acceptable to let them roam freely, and homes where there's at least one person home all day to keep the pet company have gotten much more rare. $\endgroup$
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 18:21

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I can't but feel it needs to be two things. Slight early cultural difference AND genetic manipulation issues.

I am imagining scenario, where during one of your collisions a Paleolithic dog (Canis c.f. familiaris) was transferred, partially domesticated, but not enough to immediately see the benefits. As other animals already fill the dog's role. So instead it is left to its devices, but is widely known as a wild dog, with which they have relationship like we with wolves (that is, chasing them away or outright hunting them).

When the genetic engineering became dominant, scenario as you described occurred, where they were tried and failed to turn it into a "good pet", at the same time other animals were successfully turned into suitable household pets. This early failure, when compared with successes with other animals, stigmatizes the dog as a useless animal.

When the actual Canis familiaris which is just a stone throw away from being a great pet by the optics of your wold appears during next collisions. Nobody wants to really deal with it anymore because of the stigma with the species, that resembles it way too closely for comfort.

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    $\begingroup$ Dogs would not be considered "useless", they would simply not be considered to be good pets. They're working animals. You'd no more keep a dog as a pet in your home than you would a pig, a horse or an elephant. Of course, pretty much every animal is kept as a pet somewhere, but it would be very rare for anyone to do so. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 8:36
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Those aren't dogs, they're wolves. Kinda.

There is a bunch of discussion about the correct classification of dogs, wolves and dingos - Some folks put them all under Canis lupus, with the domestic dog being Canis lupus familiaris, while others split them at the species level between Canis lupus and Canis familiaris. This discussion exists because, while dogs and wolves are very different behavior and appearance wise, they can breed true - and their hybrids can produce offspring, which seems to indicate that they are from the same species. Whatever it might be the case, the proper classification of dogs and wolves is a complicated thing. What counts for us is that the animals are genetically close.

This is useful story-wise, as we can make it so that the genetic manipulation necessary to make the dog sturdy and able to survive in Pandemonium also makes it more wolf-like, bringing back a lot of instincts and behaviors of old that were weeded out in the domestication process - specifically, the hunting aspect.

Pandemonium dogs are primarily pack hunters, as their earthling ancestrals were. They can be used as work animals, as security, and even as service animals if properly trained, but they are still very prone to chew down a throat or two if they get upset for some reason. They are adapted to this new place, and this makes them look more like demonic wolves than proper dogs - which make them poor pets, unfortunately.

Some of the breeds might even be born with three heads. Go figure. Genetics are weird.

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I think that these reasonings make sense, and are internally consistent, but one thing to note is that there are humans who keep racoons or any number of other socially-stigmatized animals as pets. If the sapients of Pandemonium are similar to humans in this way, then there may be small groups or even dedicated pan-wide-web communities insistent that non-GMO canis familiaris are amazing household animals.

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    $\begingroup$ I quite agree. People being people, there would almost inevitably be some, likely viewed as being of dubious sanity, who actually like dogs, and live with them rather than keeping them in kennels. It takes all sorts... $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth to remember that dogs like humans. Differently from racoons or other stimagtized animals, dogs are already very good household pets. They're fast learners, love pets, enjoy interacting with humans and, on some cases, love being useful to us. They tamed us to love dogs just as much as we tamed them to love us. This is a trait them have in their advantage that's quite hard to fully remove. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Mermaker While that is definitely true, does it extend to all sapients? I believe the author has mentioned that the people of Pandemonium are traditionally "demonic" in appearance, so dogs transposed from Earth who are friendly to humans might be actively aggressive towards the possibly red, possibly sulphorous, possibly scaly "humans" of their new home. It might be a closer comparison to say "humans keep tarantulas and poisonus snakes as pets" if dogs are aggressive. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ @MediocreFantasy Red, Suphorous and Scaly humans would make no difference for dogs that are already accostumed to humans wearing wildly different outfits, including hats, clothes, boots... or using strange or annoying odors to them, like perfums or colognes. It's true that some dogs might find them scary, but it would not be any different from dogs that don't like "people with hats" or "the sound of high heels". $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @MediocreFantasy My point is that this comparision with racoons ignores the that domestic dogs actively seek partnership with humans - or, at least, actively work to make it happen, by asking for food, petting, showing their belly, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 14:26
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Many societies dislike dogs for a variety of reasons already.

Dogs are one of the few creatures that will mate with it's siblings or indulge in inter-generational incest quite happily right in front of you.

Many societies view dogs as food, others as workers. Some as both. Not everyone see's them as pets.

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  • $\begingroup$ All true... but the question was about whether it is reasonable that dogs' traits can't be engineered out of them without making them no longer dogs. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild yeah, as soon as they stop humping everything, they're better pets, but no longer dogs $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't say there are few creatures that will do those things. Maybe among mammals, but these behaviors are quite common in things like fish, amphibians, and crustaceans. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @coppereyecat perhaps, but people don't notice those. Whereas we notice dogs. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 20:46
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It's completely unreasonable. In one statement you state they have surpassed us in the field of genetics and then state they can't do what we pretty much have done now. Your four statements aren't defining characteristics of dogs and could all be bred out and still have a dog. A small, mute, hairless dog bred to excel at finding cancer, doesn't check any of your boxes, but I would consider it a dog. Ultimately I think they category of dog is just to wide to say a master geneticist couldn't alter significant traits and have it not be a dog. It would be fine to have it just be an arbitrary dislike, but would feel like a stretch to say they lack the ability to breed out a handful of traits.

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Body Language

Your

These are all good reasons not to like dogs. But they do not work in the real world, so it's hard to believe they work in the fictional world. At least without some other ingredient.

For that, I suggest the demon people simply do not recognize the body language and facial expressions of a dog. To a pandemon, the above picture is no more appealing than this:

enter image description here

Dogs and pigs are about as smart as each other. They can both make good pets. The key difference is dogs have more body language in common with humans. That's why we prefer dogs to pigs.

I suggest dogs do not share the same body language with pandemons. So they treat dogs the same as they treat pigs. As loud, filthy, smelly, dangerous animals.

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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question. I was asking about the feasability of the genetic factor, that because dogs couldn't be genetically engineered to not act like dogs without making them not dogs any more, that unmodified Canis familiaris is still disliked. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 6:47
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They dont stop barking

Dogs have a very good developed sense of smell and are sometimes used to detect various deceased, simply by smelling people.

Now you have altered people, not made by nature. It might work for us just fine, but the dog just go crazy because something is wrong.

Just imagine that high pitch rodent repeller, you know that one that tears your brain in two when it goes of, all day long. You'd loose your calm too. That, but for the dogs the smell equivelant.

Smelling is a core dog feature, turning that off ment they dont smell food anymore and simply starve, something the Pandamies just cant figure out how to fix.

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Dogs have an exceptionally sensitive nose. Which is how some can be trained to smell cancerous cells, drug smuggling or explosives.

Perhaps one of the popular gene mods in Pandemonium make humans produce a smell that triggers some pheromone responses in dogs. If it were as simple as "I'm a bitch in heat", then neutering male dogs would be sufficient, but it is possible that there are other pheromones that would require far more invasive or morally repugnant treatments for dogs (like nose-removal that makes every dog's nose like a pug's nose). One SF tale that might give you ideas in this direction would be The Screwfly Solution.

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It's the dogs that don't like Pandemonians

Dogs are naturally aggressive creatures that have over the course of thousands of years been breed not just to get along with humans, but to protect thier masters from other humans. Dogs can sense when a person is planning to do something bad to thier master because we get an elevated adrenaline levels that don't correspond with thier body language. When a Human has elevated adrenaline but looks calm, it makes thousands of years of carefully breed protective instincts kick in making the dog bark or even attack the untrustworthy intruder.

However, the Pandemonians have engineered themselves to be faster, tougher, and stronger than Terrans resulting in a higher resting adrenaline level. This makes them all come off as untrustworthy all the time to dogs; so, instead of bonding with their Pandemonian caretakers, they always treat them as dangerous outsiders.

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Not genetics, because you say they are more or less masters of that art, and it would be admitting a defeat if they cannot engineer themselves around that kind of problem. There has to be some other reason, possibly something that pertains to their nature.

Maybe they think that having dogs, or pets in general, is too childish, a thing that puny humans do - having one is like an adult sucking on a pacifier, or an adult playing with a doll.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I have explained in the question, the Pandemonians' mastery of genetics has increased rather than remaining static, and I'm proposing that the prejudice is a holdover from earlier days. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 0:08

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