There's More to Owning a Dog Than a Cute Puppy in a Litter
It is widely reported that all domestic dogs are descended from the wolf, Canis Lupus, also known as the grey wolf or the timber wolf. The wolf is a survivor of the Ice Age and as such, has been around for over 300, 000 years. Today there are over 300 different dog breeds which are recognised by the American Kennel Club, and these breeds have evolved over this period by man's cross breeding and development of the original wolf.
The biggest question is whether man first approached the wolf to aid him in his domestic endeavours, or whether the wolf indeed approached man as he identified that man was a ready source of food and shelter, essential for the wolf's survival and not always easy to obtain. Some experts feel that it is the latter which is true. Was this the first example of owning a dog? The intelligence of the wolf should not be under-estimated and should be remembered and taken seriously, even in our relationship with our beloved companion, the domestic dog.
Wolves and domestic dogs are masters of teamwork and manipulation, and as such, the dog is the single most successful species on our planet. Express directions are given by the Alpha dog, or pack leader, and the pack execute their teamwork with a chilling accuracy to ensure their very survival. Their teamwork expertise is of such a high standard, it would be envied by any self-respecting CEO of a corporate organisation and it's not such a crazy idea that the dog's way of dealing with things could be adapted to a corporate role and would more than likely benefit any such organisation!
The psychology and behaviour of the wolf, and subsequently the domestic dog should ideally be understood to some degree before one considers owning a dog and before the arrival of any new dog into a human's life. It is when we, as emotional human beings, inadvertently burden our beloved dog with our human emotions and consequently 'promote' our dog to Alpha status that we can store up trouble for the future.
We all love a cute puppy and our instinct is to protect it and nurture it and, in extreme cases, dress it up like a doll and expect it to react to us as we react to each other. The truth is, dogs are a different species to us and do not understand, nor see the point of, our emotional approach to life. As a result of this, we stimulate behaviour problems in our pets and place unnecessary pressure on them by not allowing them to behave like dogs, which of course, is what they were born to be.
Without knowing it, we allow our beloved cute puppy to take on the role of pack leader and manipulate us into doing whatever it wants, whenever it wants. It is important to point out that, especially in our domestic world, not every domestic dog is really cut out to be that pack leader, or Alpha dog, and feels a lot less stressed if someone else, i. e. the human, takes on this role. This stands true for the smallest Chihuahua right through to the majestic and powerful Akita. It is this stress that the dogs feels that initiates many instances of what we as humans believe to be unacceptable behaviour. The truth is, the dog is only behaving as any dog would!
It is our duty to man's (and woman's! ) best friend to understand the minds of our beloved dogs, and to expand our own knowledge of this loyal and fascinating animal. The pet world is expanding with unprecedented speed and many more people are seeing the advantages to owning a dog. However, there is an awful lot more to owning a dog than purchasing a cute puppy and buying it the most expensive and trendy dog gear that you can find. So, let's be fair to them, and let's try to see the world from their point of view and do more research and preparation before we take the leap into the world of dog ownership. Let's learn about them and their needs because, if we do, we will have a world of fewer law suits due to out of control dogs, and we will then have many happy, contented, problem free dogs and let's face it, it's far, far easier to prevent a problem rather than cure it!