Have you ever wondered, as you watch your dog snoozing on the couch or chewing on a toy, “How is it that I basically have a wild animal living in my house with me?” Or even just reflected on the fact that, without training and domestication, your dog could be a deadly enemy? Maybe we’ve been watching too much Animal Planet or something, but it does raise some questions about these furry pets we hold so dear. (Things that make you go, Hmmm…)
The story of how some wolves evolved into domesticated dogs, like the ones we know and love, is a long and controversial one. However, most scientists believe that, as wolves and humans interacted thousands and thousands of years ago, wolves learned that they could get food from humans, and humans learned that wolves could help hunt. Those wolves who performed well as hunting assistants were rewarded and thus stuck around, evolving over time into more tame and domestic animals that could live within human groups and adopt humans as their pack-mates.
But whatever the cause of dog domestication, whether it was wolves taking advantage of humans or the other way around, the fact is that dogs nowadays are very different from their wolf cousins: they have floppier ears, softer, more multi-colored coats, and a variety of genetic diseases resulting from intense—and often irresponsible—breeding. Dogs no longer run as a pack, getting exercise, grooming each other, and allowing Mother Nature to keep them strong and healthy. Think about it: in the wild, wolves’ nails are worn down naturally by running outside, their ears stand straight up and so stay dry and aired out; they run as a pack and so can groom each other; and their rough coats are not easily matted.
See? Told ya it kinda makes you go, hmmm. Our furry kids really do depend on us to take care of them. It’s the least we can do, to thank them for not slaughtering us in our sleep. Er, or for greeting us happily every time we return home…