Dogs indisputably descended for wolves many thousands of years ago. Two thousand years ago the plaques on houses in Pompeii said 'Cave Canem' or 'Beware of the Dog' showing an interest in dogs for protection. However dogs became poorly tolerated in medieval times when phrases such as 'son of a bitch' and 'die like a dog' originated. Even so, around this time dogs were valued as hunters, especially during periods of famine, and a good hunting dog was worth more than a slave! * Dogs seem to have the ability to think. Its mind operates 80% of the time by instinct and 20% of the time by knowledge gained during its lifetime. However during the first 21 days a puppy's mental capacity is zero as it only responds to warmth, food and sleep.
A dog's thinking capacity can be shown by the story of a German Shepherd dog which loved to bring home dead rabbits. The owner was unhappy with this but never severely reprimanded the dog. One day, however, he got so fed up that gave the dog a severe telling off when it brought back a rabbit. After this whenever the dog caught a rabbit he would bury it rather than take it home. * Intelligence is not necessarily a good indicator of a dog's trainability as they tend to have their own agenda. Generally terriers and hounds are tough to train because of their intelligence.
Sporting and herding dogs are easier to train. Dogs like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, German Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs work well with human beings. * Dogs with oily coats can develop an unpleasant doggy odour. Brushing is needed to remove dead hair in poodles and wire-coated terriers. Dogs with short hair may suffer in northern climates while dogs with long hair will shed and shed again. * People all over the western world are getting obese.
Too much TV, computer games and high calorie snacks have made people overweight. Now dogs are in trouble. The fatter the human the less exercise the dog is likely to get. Obesity in dogs puts stress on their hearts, liver kidneys and joints. Fat dogs are also more at risk during surgery. * Fleas, flies and ticks are all after Fido's blood.
The flea arrives in springtime and can jump 100 times its own height. The flea not only bites the dog but uses its jumping prowess to land on a human where it is not unknown for it to have a nibble. Flies are bad in that they can attack and bite the ears of a dog but there nuisance value pales into insignificance compared to the dreaded tick. This vile creature is a cousin to the spider as it has 8 legs. It feasts on mammals' blood and spreads disease such as Spotted fever, encephalitis and Lyme disease.
To remove a tick grasp it firmly, rock it back and forth a few times and pull it off. Wearing surgical gloves or using a plastic bag is a good idea to protect you from the tick's bodily fluids. * Dogs are social animals. They need the company of other beings in order to develop to their full potential. Man brought dogs into his family circle and dogs have now come to need the company of man.
It is perhaps the only animal that earns its keep from the sheer love and affection that it shows its master. * Canine behaviour is controlled by three drives: Defence, Prey and Pack. The defence drive has to do with fight or flight. A dog is more likely to flee when younger and fight when older. The prey drive to hunt and kill comes from its wolverine ancestors.
The dog is on longer a member of a pack of wolves but is now a member of the family pack. It needs the love and attention of the human pack and will usually do almost anything to get it. It is this desire to fit in and be loved which dog trainers key in on. * The main difference between a cat and a dog is that cats are independent creatures while dogs are social animals.
However both are predators. Cats will pounce on anything that moves while dogs will chase anything that moves. Sometimes cats and dogs never get used to each other in the same household. In other cases the kitten and puppy will play together and build up a relationship which sees them curled up together in the same sleeping basket and drinking out of the same bowl. The type of relationship which develops really depends on the personalities and temperaments of the animals.
* Human beings are often inconstant in their dealings with their four legged friend. For example we expect them to accept and fuss over family friends but to bark and chase away a burglar. During training a dog will learn a variety of behaviours which make them acceptable to the human being. It can perhaps be said that dogs are better at adapting than their owners. Within limits they can modify their behaviour for good or ill to cope with human idiosyncrasies and still meet their own need for social acceptance.
Ian Paton is a professional scientist living in the UK. If you wish to know more about dog obedience or dog training then visit http://www.ianpaton.org