Wired to Live with Dogs

I don’t know how many times I’ve said in the past several years, “Walking through the woods with my dogs off leash is one of my favorite things to do.”It is.

There is something so simple, and right, about footsteps in a forest with dogs galloping around you – the feeling of walking together as a unit, a pack, a family.

I am beginning to think it isn’t just because I love my dogs, that I love this experience. I am beginning to think it is genetic wiring.

Dogs have been living with people for potentially over 100,000 years. If the two species have been living together, day in and day out, for SO LONG, wouldn’t it make sense that we are evolving together as animals?

Dogs seem to be getting smarter and smarter and in some cases, almost human-like with the way they relate socially to the world. As we pull dogs closer to humanity, I think dogs are pulling us closer to them.

Consider this: Dogs have measurable, positive psychological and physiological effects on people when they are with them.

There are many positive physiological effects that people benefit from, when with a dog. To generalize: People are more relaxed in the presence of a dog.

I believe this is genetic wiring. When dogs first started transforming from wolves, their roles with us quickly developed into these basic jobs: alerting us to the presence of a threat: cougar in the neighborhood, hunting partner: making our hunts easier and more fruitful, and herding: helping us manage large flocks of livestock.

Dogs have made things easier for us. Imagine being in the wilderness among dangerous predators. Wouldn’t the presence of a dog that barks when he senses a threat, allow you to relax and not feel like you have to be so vigilant? Are you a woman who lives alone and finds comfort in having a dog with you to alert you/deter any potential threat when you feel vulnerable? This phenomenon has been happening for tens, and tens, of thousands of years.

Yup, we are wired to live with dogs. I think our reptilian brains think that our survival depends on it!