The Circumstances of Encounter, the Relationship Between Dogs and Humans
The relationship between dogs and humans has a long history. Back when humans established a connection with dogs, they were far from the arrogant “lords of the world” as they are today. They had to fight for their survival every day. If they made a mistake, they often paid for it with their lives. However, due to their intelligence, humans began to rise above the instinct-driven world of animals. The socially developed, tool-using human became more and more efficient during hunts and found it easier to satisfy their needs.
The remnants and waste associated with human life attracted animals. This included the wild ancestors of our dogs, who found valuable and easy prey in discarded bones and other waste. While the first contact between the two species was probably not smooth, and there were casualties, the bipeds and quadrupeds slowly learned to live alongside each other. Initially, they avoided dangerous situations and took care not to venture into each other’s sensitive territories. From the beginning, the dominant bipeds ruled, but the dog ancestors could also cause inconvenience. This is still evident today, whether in encounters between existing wild dogs and humans or in the vicinity of makeshift packs around garbage dumps.
The Relationship Between Dogs and Humans
At first, dogs protected their own interests, but there was already a benefit for humans. With their behavior, they signaled danger, and their presence kept potential intruders at bay. Humans recognized the advantages of their relationship with dogs, and the value of dogs increased; now, coexistence was in the interest of both parties. Dogs began to receive more, and sometimes, the necessary prey quantity also included their needs. Later, the ancestor of our dogs accompanied their patrons on raids, and by understanding their behavior and intentions, they assisted in hunting. Their advanced senses made finding prey, chasing, and even dealing with certain emergencies easier.
We know how much a modern hunter values their vizsla. Thus, we can easily imagine the high esteem the ancestor of our dogs gained in the eyes of our ancestors living in the wild. From there, the path quickly led to further developments.
The Dominant Individual
In the pack order of dogs, humans, the “dominant individual,” gradually took over the role of the leader, and thus, dogs entered the immediate human living space.
This is an extremely important moment in the coexistence of the two beings, with several aspects.
- The first is the rearrangement of the pack order, the hierarchy; in other words, humans became the leaders of the dog, the most significant element in the relationship between humans and dogs.
- The second is conscious selection, the selection of the most adaptable individuals. This became necessary because, living closely with dogs, humans could not allow potentially threatening specimens to enter their inner circles. These were mostly the dominant individuals, aspiring to a leadership role. Excluding them from reproduction played a significant role in the deepening of the relationship over the long term.
- The third aspect is the most noticeable effect today – the exploitation of the virtues of dogs, categorized according to different perspectives. Over time, the various values of dogs separated more and more. Some dogs accompanied their owners on hunts, while others protected the home and the new pack, and still others supervised the domesticated livestock captured and bred by humans.
The relationship between dogs and humans has a long history, initiated by the convergence of interests and mutual assistance. Over time, this relationship has changed a lot, but its foundations have remained.
And as for why the dog is the only animal that willingly joined humans, we may never get an answer…
But if you’re on the road with us, it’s worth checking out What kind of owner does the dog want.