DOGS

A DOG AS COMPANION

Dogs evolved as human companions and helpmates, so these should be the primary reasons

From the tiny, smooth-coated Chihuahua to the bearlike Newfoundland, dogs evolved from those wolves who learned to scavenge at the edges of human habitation. Dogs were the primary animal to be domesticated by humans. Artifacts, fossils, and cave paintings show they were domesticated as long as fifteen thousand years ago. Stone Age burial sites indicate dogs were highly valued as both working animals and companions. Early wolf-dogs were used for hunting, guarding, and hauling supplies. Wolves who were less aggressive, less fearful of humans, and more trainable were the foundation stock for modern dogs. Over the centuries, selective breeding for working ability, companionship, and appearance has led to the wide range of today’s breeds.

Companion Dogs

  • From guarding to herding, from controlling vermin to hunting and performing police and military duties, dogs have worked for us, but their most constant task has been as companions.
  • Dogs have been used as status symbols and prized companions as well as for working purposes for thousands of years.
  • Having a dog, especially a large, active one, means outdoor exercise for both of you. A dog can be the best personal trainer you’ve ever had.

Adaptable Pets

  • More than any other animal in history, dogs have served humans. Almost every culture has valued dogs as helpmates.
  • Part of dogs’ enduring appeal is their ability to adapt and integrate into their human pack, whether as working or companion dogs.
  • Newfoundlands historically helped fishermen and were renowned water rescue dogs. Protected by a heavy, water-repellent coat and equipped with webbed feet, the Newfie is at home in the mountains or the ocean.

Dogs are still used today for many jobs, from performing police and military work to performing search and rescue to assisting the disabled to herding stock and even such esoteric jobs as keeping geese away from golf courses. At day’s end, most working dogs go home to be part of the family.

Dogs are highly social animals, capable of play and empathy and of quickly learning from their human companions. Whether raised in the family from a puppy or acquired later in life, they regard their family as their pack and integrate accordingly. Modern dogs perform a multitude of functions, but even the family dog is more than “just a pet.” The smallest dog will bark to warn of possible danger. Big dogs can be gentle playmates for children. Companion dogs keep the elderly engaged.

The Family Dog

  • There have been times in history when small companion dogs were thought to be ideal ladies’ pets and when any dog with size or working ability was thought to be a man’s dog. Times have changed.
  • The world of competitive dog sports is populated more by women than men nowadays, and women are usually the caretaker of the family dog.
  • The golden retriever is one of the more popular and versatile dogs in the world and an iconic family dog.

A dog relegated to the back yard for life or, even worse, to a chain, is an unhappy animal incapable of providing either function or companionship. You want your dog to be a protector, a buddy, and a family member. With training and care your dog will be all that and more.

Benefits of Owning a Dog

  • The company of a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress and to improve heart health.
  • Retirees who travel frequently find small dogs easier to travel with. A dog who can fit into an airline crate under the seat can fly in the cabin with its owners.
  • Smaller dogs are less expensive to own, costing less to feed, groom, and medicate.
  • Almost 40 percent of households own at least one dog.

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