Putting the Dog Back in the Park: Animal and Human Mind-in-Action
In this article we use actual instances of human conduct with animals to reflect on the debates about animal agency in human activities. Where much of psychology, philosophy, and sociology begin with a fundamental scepticism over animal mind as the grounds for its inquiries, we join with a growing body of work that examines the continuities between animals and humans, and accepts the positive possibilities of anthropomorphising animals. We are interested in the reason and intelligence that animals display in their activities with humans. Inverting the typical approach of explaining canine reason by reference to the behaviour of their wild counterparts, we describe human–canine action as it occurs in the widespread, historically assembled, and spatially situated activity of dog walking in parks. We treat dog walking as a living accomplishment of owner and dog methodically displaying intent and producing social objects.