Your Dog is NOT a Wolf
Thanks to Eof Dreams for the Photo
I hate to break it to you, but your dog is not a wolf. That’s right you read it correctly he is NOT a wolf.
I know this is going to ruffle some feathers and raise some hackles, but it is true.
It seems this whole dog/wolf debacle is drilled into us as children and we just muddle through life believing our pet Maltese is just like a wolf.
I hear it all the time. He needs an alpha roll, that is what a wolf would do.
Or, wolves thrive on raw diets, my dog is an ancestor of the wolf.
To me this sounds as ridiculous as; well, the chimpanzees at the zoo act or eat this way so I must too because, after all, we are descendants of the great apes right?
If a chimp raises her baby that way, so should I.
Or if a chimp eats that so should I.
What happened to the Millions of Years of Evolution?
I get that the great apes comparison sounds preposterous but isn’t it the same as saying this about wolves and dogs?
Sure, some of us have dogs that look more like wolves (some are mixed with wolf but I won’t get into that here) and some like the Greyhound or Chihuahua look nothing like wolves.
The truth is what we have living in our homes (no matter the breed except wolf hybrids) have been domesticated for tens of thousands of years.
They have also been selectively bred. We increase and decrease size, and fur, and other attributes.
DNA Proof and Studies
And, domestication in and of itself changes the outward features of the wild dogs that were kept as helpers and pets.
I say wild dogs because there has been some evidence that some dogs did not in fact evolve from wolves or were not domesticated from wolves.
A study published in PLoS Genetics found that dogs are more closely related to each other than to wolves regardless of their geographic origin. The genetic overlap between wolves and dogs is likely due to interbreeding after domestication.
The common ancestor, they have found, between dogs and wolves was a large wolf like animal that lived between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago says Robert Wayne who was the co-author of the study.
Now before you go denying this article you should know it is based totally scientifically on DNA evidence. DNA has proven the domestication and the likelihood that dogs have evolved from what was not a single event but several events (from possibly several dog like or wolf like canines that are now extinct).
I find this fascinating! And, if you find it fascinating you are look up the scientific paper or find more information at news.discovery.com
There was also a behavior study done recently showing the differences in 13 hand-reared wolves and 13 pet dogs.
You would think that if one was essentially the other then a hand reared wolf would behave and react like a dog, right?
The study proved that dogs and wolves behave very differently.
Would it surprise you to read that when threatened by a stranger the hand-reared wolves simply turned around and sniffed the ground; yet the dogs barked and growled.
And, even though most the pet dogs guarded a “bait” or food bag given to them and then the tester attempted to take it away, they all gave it up in the end. But, the wolves (5 of those that participated) 3 gave up the bag 2 did not and one tried to attack.
If you would like more on this study click here.
So if we believe in evolution (and I know some people don’t) then we believe that 2.3 million years ago the earliest humans evolved and began using tools, 1.8 million years ago Homo Erectus evolved, and between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago Homo Sapien evolved and 50,000 years ago people began some symbolic culture, language and technology.
I am here to tell you, no matter what you believe, that we are significantly different than those early people millions of years ago.
Our brains are bigger and our whole bodies and systems have changed.
Why then do we think dogs have remained the same for tens of thousands of years?
Dogs have evolved and changed with the time as well.
It has been proven that with the emergence of agriculture dogs living near humans adapted to an agricultural diet. These dogs possess more amylase that help them digest starches.
So diets based on “what a wolf would eat” aren’t necessarily the best choice for your pet dog.
I also think that it is outlandish to say things like “wolves benefit from a raw diet or flourish on a raw diet”.
The truth is the wolf doesn’t have a choice. And, he might not live past 2 or 3 years of life. There is no wolf nutrition or wolf veterinary care that extends their lives. Sometimes they lead very hard and very sad lives, starving to death, succumbing to disease and meeting other sad ends.
Chances are they don’t have a “balanced diet” they eat what they can when they can and they probably have brittle coats and all the other things that go with not getting the nutrients they need.
Our dogs live longer because we know about and have studied how nutrition, vitamins and nutrients can benefit them. We have decades of studies on how nutrition affects our canine companions.
Veterinary medicine also keeps them disease free and this extends their lives.
Proponents of raw diets drawing comparisons with wolves seem silly; my dog would starve to death and die of disease if he was on his own and he certainly wouldn’t have a balanced diet.
It is my job to keep my dog healthy, well vetted and well fed with a balanced diet.
Don’t just rely on the old “my dog is a wolf” mentality.
When it comes to behavior it has been disproven. Even the Alpha Wolf theories were disproven by the man that created them for more on that click here.
When it comes to diet it has also been disproven and your dog needs things that wolves don’t necessarily get in their diet.
You wouldn’t feed your dog bloated rotting meat would you? Sometimes they must eat rotting carcasses in the wild to survive!
Do your research.
Teach your dog, don’t use excuses and don’t use force (alpha rolls and dominance theories) because they are based on some kind of wolf behavior.
Feed your dog foods that will help him nutritionally and those that are made specifically for him!
Knowledge is power, and information is growing and changing all the time with our ability to map DNA and study things we have never before had the ability to study!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.