Despite their close genetic relationship and the ability to inter-breed, there are a number of diagnostic features to distinguish the gray wolves from domestic dogs. Domesticated dogs are clearly distinguishable from wolves by starch gel electrophoresis of red blood cell acid phosphatase.[41] The tympanic bullae are large, convex and almost spherical in gray wolves, while the bullae of dogs are smaller, compressed and slightly crumpled.[42] Compared with equally sized wolves, dogs tend to have 20% smaller skulls and 30% smaller brains.[43]:35 The teeth of gray wolves are also proportionately larger than those of dogs.[44] Dogs have a more domed forehead and a distinctive "stop" between forehead and nose.[45] The temporalis muscle that closes the jaws is more robust in wolves.[5]:p158 Wolves do not have dewclaws on their back legs, unless there has been admixture with dogs that had them.[46] Most dogs lack a functioning pre-caudal gland and enter estrus twice yearly, unlike gray wolves which only do so once a year.[47] So-called primitive dogs such as dingoes and Basenjis retain the yearly estrus cycle.[48]


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Where the domestication of the dog took place remains debated, with the most plausible proposals spanning Western Europe,[9][28] Central Asia[28][29] and East Asia.[28][30] This has been made more complicated by the recent proposal that an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian groups. These two groups, before going extinct, were domesticated independently into two distinct dog populations between 14,000 and 6,400 years ago. The Western Eurasian dog population was gradually and partially replaced by East Asian dogs introduced by humans at least 6,400 years ago.[28][2] This proposal is also debated.[2]

In 2013, an estimate of the global dog population was 987 million.[104] Although it is said that the "dog is man's best friend",[105] this refers largely to the ~20% of dogs that live in developed countries. In the developing world, dogs are more commonly feral or communally owned, with pet dogs uncommon.[50] Most of these dogs live their lives as scavengers and have never been owned by humans, with one study showing their most common response when approached by strangers is to run away (52%) or respond aggressively (11%).[106] Little is known about these dogs, or the dogs in developed countries that are feral, stray or are in shelters, because the great majority of modern research on dog cognition has focused on pet dogs living in human homes.[107]
Dogs demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception[89]. An experimental study showed compelling evidence that Australian dingos can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving, indicating that domestic dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities once they joined humans.[90] Another study indicated that after undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at the human, while socialized wolves do not.[91] Modern domestic dogs use humans to solve their problems for them.[92][93]

Amongst apprenticeship programs and other hands-on training activities, Petco pet stylists who are trained from within the company are required to attend and pass Petco's comprehensive 12-week Pet Stylist Apprentice & Certification academy program. In addition to hands-on grooming training with a Petco-certified pet stylist mentor or instructor, all participants receive instruction in health, safety protocols and grooming salon operations. At the end of the program, candidates must pass a technical skills assessment in order to become a Petco Certified Pet Stylist.
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