THE SOCIETY OF DOGS

THE SOCIETY OF DOGS

The dog is a social animal that likes to be in company. Its ancestors, the wolves, are animals that hunt large prey in packs and that usually live in more or less stable packs. Dogs are animals that can cooperate with each other and for this purpose observe each other and synchronize their actions.

On this basis and after centuries of more or less close coexistence with humans, dogs and humans have adapted in order to cooperate, to understand each other and to enjoy the mutual relationship. Without this instinct, living together would have been very different.

To illustrate the importance of the natural association between populations of social animals, we refer to the study of the Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyaev from the 50s of the last century. This study showed that domestication was not manipulated by humans, but that it was a process of self-selection in which the most docile and inquisitive specimens of their own volition, i.e. in this case the man who approached. Humans probably bred the tamer animals and thus enhanced this characteristic.

Belyaev conducted his research on silver foxes, choosing the most docile and sociable from each litter. In this way he achieved ever more sociable foxes, which surprisingly displayed more feminized and youthful characteristics, as is the case with dogs in relation to wolfs.

DOGS ENJOY TOGETHER

Today, after this social development, dogs feel the need to be in company, and after this process of domestication, they primarily prefer human company. Some dogs are more social towards dogs than other dogs, but “it dissipates with age,” explains Victoria Coll, an expert in ethology from the Ecoles Veterinaires Françaises. She affirms that a puppy who seeks play with other dogs cannot be compared to an adult animal that “has no compelling need to make new connections””. In fact, she explains, “one of the major problems facing ethologists today is poor socialization (or lack of it) in individuals of the same species.” So when one speaks of the dog’s herd instinct nowadays, this does not refer to the sociability within its species, but much more to its relationship with people.

And it’s that simple. Your dog wants to be with you, live with you and experience things together. So he is happy. You and your family are now his pack.

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