The dog’s reputation as man’s best friend is a well earned one. I have always felt a special affinity exists between our two species. There’s an intangible bond something special that connects us and probably has been there since our earliest beginnings. Varied evidences suggest that dog is not only man’s best friend but also his oldest.Our ancestors have added other animals into their communities but dogs by far are the first and most successful addition to our extended family.

Dogs have been man’s companion since before the written word. The Bhimbetka caves and other prehistoric rock paintings dating back 30,000 years ago, have provided archaeologists with evidence of domesticated dogs. In the oldest story from the Rig Veda,  dogs appear in an elevated role as the companion of Bhairava (a form of Lord Shiva). Lord Indra’s pet on the other hand is the celestial bitch Sarama – the mother of all dogs. Even Yudhishthir, the oldest of the Pandava brothers takes a dog-companion while trekking up to Heaven only to realise it was Dharma in the form of a dog, testing his commitment & loyalty. Dogs also featured in the everyday lives of the Indus Valley people as we know them. In Ropar, an excavation revealed a dog buried with his master in addition to bronze and clay models (probably toys) of dogs. https://www.theheritagelab.in/dogs-in-indian-art/

In Northern Israel, 12000 years old bones of a young dog was found resting beneath the left hand of a human skeleton of the same age. The two had been buried together; clear impression is that man had wanted his dog to share his last resting place with him. In certain communities in Peru and Paraguay, even today orphaned pups are reared by nursing women – the dog feeds off the woman until it is ready to stand on its own feet.

The bond and friendship that ages back so many decades needs to be understood well by us all. My growing unease to see the dogs being abandoned by owners because of the behavior issues fuels me to further explain how the dog world works and believe me it is less complicated than ours! It may seem bizarre to talk of a household as a pack. We humans do not see it that way but that’s how it seems to the dog because dogs by nature are bound to be members of a pack. They are born that way and also with ancestors as wolves which is a pack animal that lives within a very strong social structure with an established hierarchy.Awareness to the critical periods of development in the dog can help us to a greater understanding of its behavior. There are occasions when the behavior is a direct result of genetic influence but environmental circumstances also matters. The behavior of the Mum (bitch) can be passed on “Monkey see, Monkey do” basis. The pups would often copy her and this behavior could easily be attributed to a genetically inherited trait. If we were to lower the rank of the bitch in the mixed human/canine pack, she would not growl at people we let in and the pups would copy the deference that she showed towards our superior decision.The initial stages in the development of the pups are very crucial as they undergo the canine socialization periods. Although the main function of this period is to enable the puppy to learn how to regulate its strength of bite, how to socialize with other dogs and how to establish pecking orders, it is also vitally important that they experience human contact and environmental exposures as it ensures that they grow up to be well adjusted adult dogs. The way your dog behaves at maturity is basically a culmination of what it has been allowed to get away with during its critical period of development.

Dogs can be introduced to basic obedience as the beginning class to adjust with us as a pack. But basic obedience need not stand for punishing the dog to obey. Obey is just too emotive for me. It is more about shaping the right behavior by using positive reinforcements and rewards.We as humans can read the obvious signals in our dogs that portray fear, aggression, pleasure submission, etc. but we are incapable of reading the more subtle signs that are transmitted dog to dog. We tend to place our own interpretations on what our dog is trying to say.

To most people the happy low tail wag of the Golden Retriever is the same as the high tail carriage and tip of tail wagging of a German shepherd. We might live with a Golden Retriever who shows a low tail wag whenever we look for it and then wonder why the German shepherd who carried his tail high and appeared to look happy bit us when we went to stroke him.It is nobody’s fault to have a troubled dog at hand; it is simply because of lack of understanding! I myself have had dogs all my life. Some were nasty creatures and unruly out of hand ones and the ones that were good were merely by accident but today I have a deep understanding of where I went wrong, although, I cannot undo the done but can definitely avoid many more such indisciplined dogs creating confusion for themselves and their ignorant owners, like I was at one time of life. I sincerely desire to spread these new methods of training wherever and however I can such that there is compatibility and a beautiful bond between owners and their k9 companions



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