Dogs and Humans - Secret of So Good Relations

Dogs and Humans - Why Dogs Get Along With People So Well

Dogs and humans live together for about 15,000 years and this long time has made its mark on biology and behaviour of the dogs. For example, no other animal understands gestures and looks of a human so good as the dog. Since dogs are also influenced by the same environmental factors they suffer practically from the same diseases as humans.

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A stern look and Fifi sneaks guiltily away with tail between her legs. A nod and Hasso runs off with his tongue hanging out to fetch the stick. "It can hardly be doubted that love to the human has become by the dog to an instinct", knew Charles Darwin, and every dog owner would probably agree with him immediately strongly. Today's researchers don't attract so much attention to this question, but they are also convinced that there is a unique relationship between dog and human that probably can be explained only by the long intensive coexistence.

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Especially as to understanding and interpreting of owners' gestures the dogs do it so fast as nobody before, even chimpanzees, which are our nearest relations, the magazine "Bild der Wissenschaft" imparts in its July publication. For dogs it's enough a short nod in the direction of a bowl with hidden treats - they understand what it means as well as one- two-year-old children. This works even if one goes to another bowl, but points to the right one. Only two from eleven chimpanzees cope with the same task.

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The Hungarian dog researcher Ádám Miklósi is even convinced that this intimate understanding by dogs really has become an instinct, how Darwin would say: It is genetically determined and innate. Finally, his main argument, even very young puppies react to finger pointing and nodding unlike wolves, which even if they are trained by humans never really understand what the humans want from them. "We are sure that the dogs have adopted many social-cognitive abilities of humans in the course of domestication and that there was such a thing as a common evolution", the US psychologist Brian Hare of the prestigious Duke University states more scientific.

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The domestication and thus the common history of the human and dog began at least 15,000 years ago in East Asia when the original dog developed from the wolf. The first dogs settled near the human camps not because they liked so much the people, but because under their garbage probably always could find something edible. By the humans the watch and hunting talent was probably aroused from uninvited guests and they began to use the animals as guard and hunting dogs. Finally, a permanent relations arose and the dogs' talent to adapt the behaviour of the people had a lot to do with it.

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Today the dogs show a humans' like behaviour: They take care of lifelong relations, have cooperation and communication talents, can excellent mimic others and are less aggressive in the group. Miklósi supposed the influence of hormones, especially oxytocin AdTech Ad and vasopressin, and brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Many other animals have them, including humans key factors for the relations and aggressive behaviour, so why not the dog, he states.

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And the four-legged have one more likeness with the human - they suffer from the same diseases. Just like their owners dogs often suffer from cancer, allergies, heart diseases and epilepsy, reports "Bild der Wissenschaft".

They are not protected even from mental disorders, whether obsessive-compulsive neurosis, panic disorder, or ADHD. This seems same even to the origin mechanism, because by dogs with ADHD symptoms Miklósi has detected similarly changed receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, as they are known by the humans. Also, this is probably due to the long common history as humans and dogs live in the same environment and were therefore influenced by the same environmental factors and risks.

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With so many similarities there should not be surprising that the dog takes the place of a family member or even of a child by many people, especially in consideration of how much the dog benefits the human: A four-legged companion reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol level, stabilizes the mind in times of crisis, helps to set up social contacts and boosts self-esteem, studies have shown. Or, as in the words of the journalist Ernst Elitz: "Without the dog the human came to the dog."

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