Communicating with your dog

The dog is probably the best communicator in the animal world, perhaps this is why, and for thousands of years; dogs have been the favored companions and workmates of the human race.

Early dogs:
From the very earliest days of the canine/human relationship, dogs were not only used to help people with hunting, guarding and herding but were also regarded with great affection. This relationship is validated by a skeleton, which was dug up, of an elderly human, clasping the skeleton of a puppy of about five months. These remains were discovered at a burial site in Israel where the grave was dated as 12,000 years old. It may be that the puppy was actually a tamed wolf. However, it ha now been established by scientists that all modern dogs are descended from wolves which indirectly offered themselves to our ancient ancestors as suitable candidates for domestication by becoming part of a human community.

The man/dog relationship:
Professor James Serpell wrote in his book. The Domestic Dog that all the archaeological evidence indicates that the dog was the first species to be domesticated. There were mutual advantages for both dogs and humans – the wolf that came in from the cold instinctively helped man in hunting pulling down quarry and tacking wounded animals, In return, gradually relinquishing its wild state, the wolf gained the benefits of shelter and food and, eventually, shared company and a tolerable pack leader. However, it is unlikely that many wolves were domesticated in this way. Those wolves that did from a relationship with primitive tribes would have mated with other like minded wolves.

Many generations of mating within this small gene pool would have gradually produced an animal that bore little resemblance physically or temperamentally to the wild wolf, the dog was emerging as a separate and individual animal. And the dog has never left man’s side at least in Western world. Where there is a break in the dog – man has never left there is a break in the dog – man relationship now never by the dog choosing to be wild again.

In Britain and across most of Europe, there are no wild dogs or feral dogs- dogs that have deliberately chosen to live and breed far away from the homes that once sheltered them, as feral cats choose to do. Dogs rarely change homes voluntarily, by leaving one and applying at another for food and shelter, as some cats do. So can this special relationship and devotion, as strong as ever today, be reinforced by the ease with which man and dog communicate and the pleasure that both species take in their exchanges?

A unique friendship:
The reason why many families have pets is because the dog can become the confidant of the whole family. Children can gain a tremendous amount of comfort and stability from having a canine best friend, who shares their disappointments, troubles and misunderstandings yet never blames them, reveals their secrets or transfers his allegiance to any other person. This unique friendship is especially valuable in the modern world where many traditional human relationships are no longer permanent. The high level of mutual communication that we have with our dogs is the basis of real friendship on a special level between dogs and their owners.