The genetic divergence between dogs and wolves occurred between 40,000–20,000 years ago, just before or during the Last Glacial Maximum.[27][2] This timespan represents the upper time-limit for the commencement of domestication because it is the time of divergence and not the time of domestication, which occurred later.[27][28] The domestication of animals commenced over 15,000 years ago, beginning with the grey wolf (Canis lupus) by nomadic hunter-gatherers.[27] The archaeological record and genetic analysis show the remains of the Bonn–Oberkassel dog buried beside humans 14,200 years ago to be the first undisputed dog, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago.[2] It was not until 11,000 years ago that people living in the Near East entered into relationships with wild populations of aurochs, boar, sheep, and goats.[27]
In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the domestic dog may have originated from multiple grey wolf populations, with the dingo and New Guinea singing dog "breeds" having developed at a time when human populations were more isolated from each other.[23] In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies, and proposed two additional subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus, 1758 [domestic dog]" and "dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]". Wozencraft included hallstromi – the New Guinea singing dog – as a taxonomic synonym for the dingo. Wozencraft referred to the mDNA study as one of the guides in forming his decision.[1] The inclusion of familiaris and dingo under a "domestic dog" clade has been noted by other mammalogists.[24] This classification by Wozencraft is debated among zoologists.[25]

Clip the dog's hair methodically.[9] You can place the blade against the body safely, so long as you don't press the blade strongly into the skin. Brush against the direction of hair growth(back-brush) before running the clippers the other direction; with the direction of hair growth. Using the clippers against the growth of hair will have the same effect as back-brushing, but will leave a shorter length than the clipper blade that you are using. If you want to shave against the growth of hair, a blade size gets two blade sizes smaller when cutting against the grain. For example, when cutting with 4# against the grain check how long a 7# leaves behind when cutting with the grain. Move the clippers surely, but slowly across the dog's body to remove the hair — moving too fast might leave uneven lines. Always move the blade with the direction of the hairs' growth unless you want a shorter length than your blade claims to leave. Begin at the neck, then move down to the shoulders, under the ears, and toward the chin, throat, and chest areas. DO NOT use a size seven or any skip blades around the throat area or any flaps on the body that can fit between the teeth, such as the Achilles' tendons, arm pits, genital area, tip of tail, or anus. Then, clip the dog's back and sides. Finally, clip the hair on the dog's legs. Be careful when cutting the neck with any blade as it's the most dangerous to cut. Never cut straight down, do so at angles to avoid flaps you can't see in the neck getting cut.
Dogs have a pair of anal scent glands that sit at the 8.20pm position on either side of the anus. Some dogs produce too much secretion and the glands stretch which causes the dog to scoot on his bottom. The glands can be emptied by applying gentle pressure underneath each gland, milking the secretion up and out onto a piece of cotton wool. Anal sac secretion is unpleasant so wear disposable gloves. Be careful not to squeeze too hard and if in doubt, stop and ask a professional groomer how to empty them.
It is a reflexive action for many dogs to try to pull away their back leg if it is lifted. Avoid lifting the leg to the side because this is uncomfortable for most dogs. Instead, pick up the foot and gently pull forward or backward. Don't be upset or punish the dog, just struggle through it and praise your dog when he or she is still. If you have a medium or large dog, you may be able to get away with clipping the nails on the hind feet without having to lift the foot.
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Clean your dog's ears. It's normal for a clean ear to have some wax in it, but there shouldn't be any particular smell to it. To clean your dog's ears, apply some ear cleaning solution (bought at a pet supply store) to a cotton round. Not too much or it will drip into the ear while wiping. Wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear, but don't rub vigorously, as this might cause sores. Don't push too far into the ear, either. If your dog has drop ears like a bassett hound, wipe the inside of the ear flag as dirt collects there as well. The groomers rule of thumb is to clean only what you can see.
Cut out mats that can't be brushed out. Severe matting can pull the skin every time the dog moves, making daily life painful for your pet. If you can't brush a mat out, you need to either cut or shave it off, depending on how close it is to the skin. Be extremely careful if you use scissors to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. Try to cut parallel to the growth of the hair to avoid a choppy look.
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Comb out your dog first.[1] Combing your dog's coat daily or every other day will keep most mats at bay. Simply brushing, as most literature instructs, is not enough for dogs that can mat up: the brush will easily pass over at angles that a comb will get stuck on. A thorough combing should always be the first step of the grooming process because any mats will become tighter and less manageable once they dry. Begin on the head and move down the body. Be careful under the belly, as it is a sensitive area, and don't forget to comb the tail.
Clip the dog's nails.[3] If left untrimmed, a dog's nails can curl under into the paw pads or twist toes in a way that causes joint damage. To keep your dog's nails short, clip them regularly, depending on how fast his nails grow. If you can hear his nails on the ground when he walks, that means his nails are touching the ground, and are too long. [4]
In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs.[208] Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies[210][211] and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion.[210][211] In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades.[208] In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called Garmr guards Helheim.[208] In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.[208] In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn Annwn.[208] In Hindu mythology, Yama, the god of death, owns two watch dogs who have four eyes. They are said to watch over the gates of Naraka.[212]
In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs.[208] Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies[210][211] and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion.[210][211] In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades.[208] In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called Garmr guards Helheim.[208] In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.[208] In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn Annwn.[208] In Hindu mythology, Yama, the god of death, owns two watch dogs who have four eyes. They are said to watch over the gates of Naraka.[212]
Clip the dog's fur after it's completely dried. If you plan to clip your dog's hair, make sure to read the directions that came with the clippers. Get an information book or video, or consult with a groomer about the proper use of your clippers. Make sure that the clipper blades are sharp and the clippers well lubricated. If the blades are not sharp, they can pull on the hair.

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

Try to avoid getting shampoo into your dog's eyes. It could seriously irritate them. Put shampoo into your hands before spreading it into your dog's fur instead applying it straight from the bottle. Don't let suds get into your dog's eyes when rinsing, and gently squeeze his ears shut to keep water out when working on those areas. You can place cotton balls in your dog’s ears to prevent water from getting into the ear canals. Make sure to remove the cotton balls when you're done. You may also keep the cotton balls in during the drying process as the noise of the dryer scares them.


Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior[18] and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canid species.[19] Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colors.[20] They perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding disabled people and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend".
Take extra care with dark-nailed dogs not to clip to the quick (blood vessel). Go slowly, and only take a little bit off at a time. Dremeling is much safer and easier to avoid hitting the quick, as it shaves only a little bit at a time. Use a cordless pet-safe Dremel tool, as the corded ones will not stop turning if they catch hair. Don't dremel for too long as it will burn the nail and prolong the trimming process for the dog which causes more stress. The best recommended process is trim first then dremel to shorten a little bit and round out the nail do it's not sharp.
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