The wolf inside all our dogs

Hey you with the Chihuahua; did you know that your dog is just as genetically similar to a gray wolf as that German Shepherd down the street and the Alaskan Malamute at the pull competition? That's right; all of our dogs came from the Gray Wolf. From the tiny teacup dogs to the giants of the canine world; they all have the same genetic makeup. Would you choose to live with a wolf? I think not; not many of us would. But you are definitely living with wolf relatives and it is important that you look at your dog as such.

Far too often people think of their dogs and treat their dog as furry humans. This is typically when things go very wrong; we tend to anthropomorphize (to attribute human form or personality to) our dogs. Don't worry; most people do this to some degree, even experienced dog people. As much as it is in a dogs genes to act a certain way; so too is it our way to treat things in our human way. My dogs know me as "Mommy;" even though I am obviously not their Mother. Occasionally even I slip up and my maternal instincts kick in instead of my "leadership" instincts. Dogs need leaders; it is how they work, leader/followers.

You know when your child ask "why do I have to do that?" And your response is "because I said so?" Well basically this is the roll you need to play with your dog. Black and white; this is how we do it, that's it that's all. This is not to say that life will be no fun; far from it. A dog with a strong leader; one who guides and teaches them how to live in our human world is a happy one. Leave a dog to figure it all out on their own and I can guarantee they'll get into trouble.

"The domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, differing from it by at most 0.2% of mtDNA sequence15,22,23.
In comparison, the gray wolf differs from its closest wild relative, the coyote, by about 4% of mitochondrial DNA sequence14. Therefore, the molecular genetic evidence does not support theories that domestic dogs arose from jackal ancestors. Dogs are gray wolves, despite their diversity in size and proportion; the wide variation in their adult morphology probably results from simple changes in developmental rate and timing." From The Molecular Evolution of the Dog Family by Robert K Wayne

"At the molecular level not much changed at all: The DNA makeup of wolves and dogs is almost identical." National Geographics

So take the time to learn about your little wolf relative and you will be enlightened to some of the behaviors we consider to be weird but are very normal for a canid.

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