“Dogs are people, too.”
No doubt, you’ve seen the words written on coffee cups, t-shirts, and book jackets.
No doubt, you’ve heard it in throwaway movie dialogue, lyrics, or quipped by a friend sharing a pet anecdote.
But what does it mean?
If you have never owned a dog or considered one an essential aspect of your lifestyle, then it certainly sounds like a nonsensical statement. Dogs can’t articulate their ideas, if they have any; and, they definitely don’t sing in the shower.
Conversely, if you’re a dog lover, you intuitively understand that it’s more than a cute idea. It’s not an absurd idea because it’s not a literal statement. Instead, it’s something of a metaphorical idea. Your dog has feelings, too.
Who Domesticated Who?
When you’re out in the wilds with your dog, perhaps on a hike through a National Park, it’s easy enough to believe that humans domesticated dogs. After all, you trained and tracked your dog with a garmin pro 550 plus dog training system and when you call, he or she comes bounding up to you.
Yet 40,000 years ago, when human beings roamed in tribes across Europe toward Asia, it’s unlikely that we were friendly toward most carnivores.
We killed saber-toothed tigers before they could kill us, chased away large hyenas, and were probably suspicious, fearful, and hostile to all flesh-eating animals.
For that reason, it’s unlikely that we would feel spontaneous affection for an abandoned wolf cub and decided to domesticate it. Feelings of pity or sympathy were probably reserved for our own species.
So, it’s much more likely that lone wolves, cut off from their pack, decided to play nice to ensure their own survival. Since they didn’t attack us, we became friends.
Dogs are descendants of wolves, and biologists classify them as belonging to the genus Canis.
Of course, we will never know the real story, but one thing we do know, is that is that our two species have been friends for a long, long time.
Why You Should Train Your Dog
The earlier you socialize your dog, the easier it will be for both of you. You will enjoy peace of mind and will not have to worry about your dog biting people or barking at all hours of the night. Your dog, meanwhile, will grow up to be a happy and emotionally stable pet.
Puppies that aren’t trained grow up to be either aggressive or afraid of new people. Untrained dogs are often reluctant to try out new experiences and scared of going to new places.
How to Train Your Dog
Although it may seem that dog trainers have different ways of teaching a dog how to obey commands, all successful dog training is based on a common principle–positive reinforcement.
By rewarding your dog through praise or a treat after obeying an order, your dog is more likely to repeat the desired behavior. Dogs have high emotional intelligence, or at least appear to have an unusual predisposition to show empathy.
While fear can also be used to train your dog, it usually has undesirable side-effects, making your dog neurotic. Your dog is most likely to become either timid or aggressive.
Positive reinforcement, then, is the best and most powerful way of shaping and improving your dog’s behavior.
How to Raise A Happy Dog
Dogs, like children, love to play and need lots of attention and affection to thrive. In fact, you should make an effort to play with your puppy even if you come home tired from work after a long day.
Spending quality time with your dog also includes allowing your dog to ride shotgun in the car and going for walks every single day.
You should also make sure your dog has regular baths to get rid of ticks and fleas, eats a healthy diet, gets plenty of fresh air, time to run around outside, and has routine health checkups.
And, of course, the more you tie up, restrain, or shout at your dog, the unhappier it is likely to be.
In conclusion, if you take care of your dog, you’ll come to appreciate why dogs are called “man’s best friend.”