Nature vs. Nurture?

All of us dog lovers know all too well how much we NEED our dogs.  I remember learning in college about how domesticated dogs have given up some of their primal tendencies due to eons living with humans.  It’s interesting to think about how evolution has played a role in behaviors over the centuries.

While it’s easy to sometimes forget that they are still animals, there’s some new research out there that suggests genetic changes in canines are adapting them to human cultures more permanently.  In one recent study, dogs were presented with an “impossible” task.  In short, they were provided three sets of treats, but could only access two of them.  For the third, they sought the assistance of the humans in the room.  By studying the reactions of the dogs (e.g. how long did they try to get it on their own?  How did they try to get the human’s attention to get the third treat, etc.) and then studying the DNA sequence for each dog, they were able to identify strong associations of genetic needs to seek out human contact.

I think we all innately know that humans have this same genetic need for canine contact . . . even if science hasn’t proven it yet.  At least we know the NEED is mutual!

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