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Dog vs. Wolf

I believe that my dog Gunner thought he was a wolf in another life.

He was smart. Research has shown that wolves are smarter than dogs. Currently scientific theory suggests that dogs only reach the mental capacity of a juvenile wolf.  Wolves live a solitary life or in small packs, they avoid human interaction, they are capable of highly organized behavior.

Like a wolf, Gunner was content to spend time by himself.  I would catch him studying me surreptitiously, quietly, as if planning how to get me to do his bidding.  And every once in a while, while sound asleep, he would let out the most perfect howl I’ve ever heard.

When I was in school (now 20 years ago), dog behaviorists told us dog behavior was very similar to wolf behavior. They thought dogs needed humans to act like the ‘alpha’ dog, they only respected dominant relationships,  they needed dens, the family had to be the pack, etc.  We spent a lot of time trying to pigeonhole dog behavior, to both our detriment.

Our understanding of dog and wolf behavior is more evolved today. Both species show subtleties in their interactions and responses that we now recognize. In other words, we are learning better how they think. The only black and white statement worth saying now is that our dogs thrive on social interaction.

Veterinarians get touchy about the whole ‘dog is like a wolf’ thing.  There are wildly popular tv shows with animal trainers that mis-state the human/dog relationship.  Clients come in having read online that a raw meat and bones diet is the best for Rover, since that is what his wolf ancestors ate.  It is terribly difficult to convince someone who has seen something on tv or read it online that it might not be accurate. 

So it is with great interest that I present this article;

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/01/dog-domestication-tied-to-starch.html?ref=hp

which gives us genetic proof that our dogs have evolved away from their wolf ancestors.  Our domesticated dog has changed itself on a cellular level to be closer to us. Love has made them with us more fully.

Now, just because your dog can digest starch better than his ancestors, do not feel that this gives you carte blanche to feed him carbs.  Check with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding an appropriate diet and calories that will keep him healthy for his lifetime.

More later………………………………………………………………gunner

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