Dogs have been an integral part of human society for over 12, 000 years, first as camp followers living off scraps, later as protectors, hunting partners, livestock guardians and eventually companions.
How wolves first came to live with humans is unknown but it's quite easy to imagine a group of hunters finding an orphaned wolf cub and taking it back to camp as a playmate for their children. As the wolf grew they would have noticed its keen senses and physical abilities. Someone may have suggested taking it on a hunt where its superior abilities to track prey would have been even more apparent.
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Pretty soon men would have deliberately set out to capture wolf cubs, they would have been selectively bred to enhance physical characteristics and mold behavior, prized specimens would have been traded between different groups.
Fast forward 12, 000 years and we've taken the genetic material provided by the wolf and molded it into an amazing array of dog breeds - from the tiny Chihuahua to the giant Newfoundland, the hairless Chinese Crested to the shaggy English Sheepdog, the exotic spotted coat of the Dalmatian to the Malamute which still closely resembles a wolf.
We've altered their behavior too so that dogs have become specialized at what they do - retrieving, protecting, herding, tracking, or just being cute and cuddly companions.
Dogs 101 Insight: Why It Is Important to Know This?
Now, as a dog lover I'm sure that this is all very fascinating to you, but there is another, more important, reason why every dog owner should understand the dog's wolf origins.
It's simply this:
"For all the physical and behavioral modifications we have put it through, the dog remains essentially a wolf at heart and retains the instincts and behavioral characteristics of its wolf ancestors, with which it shares 99% of its genetic material."
This means that your pet dog's behavior is still governed by the pack instincts of its wild ancestor, a subtle and complicated mix based on body language and odors.
Unfortunately, we tend to treat them like humans in fur suits, rather than appreciating them for their true nature. We expect them to obey rules they do not understand and communicate with them in ways they have no capacity to comprehend. We expect too much while putting in too little effort to understand them.
Result? The relationship breaks down, and when it does the dog is always the loser. He gets labelled a problem dog and ends up at the pound (or worse).
The good news is that it takes very little effort and just a little research to gain an insight into what drives your dog's behavior, and this knowledge will help you to develop a truly fulfilling relationship with your dog.
Want some more good news? You don't have to go searching the net to find this info.
The links above provide some fascinating insights into the origins of dogs and dog breeds, dog anatomy and senses, and most importantly how dogs view the world.
So dive right in, this virtual Dogs 101 provides some fascinating dog information.