dog with owners

Why is our bond with dogs so strong

What is the bond with our dogs

Over the last 12,000-14,000 years the human our bond with dogs has been second to none. We have not bonded in the same way to any other species of animal in quite the same way. Why is this bond as ingrained and deep within us as a species?

The answer lies within the canine ancestry and the way we now view our canine companions.

The domestic dog is thought to be a subspecies of the gray wolf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf (Canis lupus). The dog was also thought to have been the first animal to domesticate itself. As a species it has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in human history.

The first Dogs value to early hunter-gatherers led to them quickly becoming ubiquitous across world cultures. Dogs where performing many roles for the humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, and companionship. These early working type dogs are the reason why there are an estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world today making the dog/human relationship the most widespread form of interspecies bonding.

The keeping of dogs as companions has a long history. However pet dog populations grew significantly after World War II. It has only been since the 1980s there has been a change in the role of the domestic dog, such as the increased of the dog’s role in the emotional support of their owners. Up to this point dog were dogs and they were treated that way. Humans and dogs have become increasingly ingrained and integrated into each other’s lives, to the point where our once working dogs are becoming a major part of our daily lives.

There are two major changing roles of pet dogs. The first is the shaping of the domestic dog to conform to the human expectations of its behaviour. The second is the broadening of the concept of the family and the home environment to include dogs within everyday routines.

There is a vast difference between our early relationships with the Canine to the relationship we have now. This is due to the huge availability of goods, services and places available to transform our dogs into the ideal companions from dog toiletries, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists, trainers, behaviourists and doggie day care, dog spas, parks and beaches, dog hotels, airlines and cemeteries.

The majority of dog owners will describe their dog as part of the family, for some it is more of a dog-human family pack structure. Pet dogs, domestic dogs or working dogs whatever you want to call them, they will always play an active role in our lives as we are destined to be together. An interspecies relationship like ours and the Canine has never been recorded on such a large-scale. My believe is that we will never be this closely linked emotionally and spiritually to any other species on this planet ever again.