Humans & Dogs - who started it?
Dogs and humans have formed a close and mutually beneficial relationship over many thousands of years. Common interests and habits, practical needs and basic survival brought them together in a bond that has lasted millennia.
Domestication: Dogs are believed to have been domesticated from wolves tens of thousands of years ago. The domestication process selected for traits that made dogs more amenable to living alongside humans, such as reduced aggression, increased social behaviour, and heightened trainability, allowing dogs to fit with increasing harmony into human society.
Social Nature: Both dogs and humans are social animals that thrive in groups, and this shared social inclination can foster a sense of companionship and understanding between the two. Additionally, dogs have the ability to recognise and read human facial expressions and body language, facilitating essential communication and strengthening bonding.
Cooperation: Humans and dogs have found ways to cooperate for mutual benefit. Historically, dogs helped humans with essential tasks such as hunting, guarding, herding, and even providing simple companionship. In return, humans provided vital food, shelter, and care.
Emotional Bonding: Dogs have a unique ability to form strong emotional bonds with humans. They are known for their loyalty, unconditional love, and the ability to sense human emotions. Humans reciprocally form attachments with their dogs alongside the commitment and responsibility taken on in caring for and sustaining the life of their companion.
Communication: Dogs have evolved to understand human cues and commands, and humans have adapted to understand dog vocalizations and body language. This shared language facilitates effective communication, allowing for better cooperation and companionship.
Therapeutic Effects: Dogs offer various therapeutic benefits to humans. Their presence can reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness. Therapy and service dogs play vital roles in improving the lives of people with disabilities, medical conditions, and mental health issues.
Play and Fun: Dogs have playful and curious natures, which align well with human playfulness. Engaging in activities like playing fetch, going for walks, or simply spending time together can create enjoyable experiences and strengthen the bond.
Biological Factors: Studies have shown that interacting with dogs can lead to the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," in both humans and dogs. This hormone is associated with bonding and positive social interactions.
Non-judgmental Companionship: Dogs offer non-judgmental companionship, which can be particularly comforting to humans. They don't hold grudges or have complex expectations, making them easy to be around and confide in, something that can by no means so easily be said for relationships between humans.
The relationship between dogs and humans is rooted in a combination of evolutionary history, mutual benefit, emotional connection, effective communication, and shared social tendencies. This long-standing partnership has led to a unique and profound bond that continues to be cherished by both species though the ages.