"The most widespread form of interspecies bonding occurs between humans and dogs"[136] and the keeping of dogs as companions, particularly by elites, has a long history.[142] (As a possible example, at the Natufian culture site of Ain Mallaha in Israel, dated to 12,000 BC, the remains of an elderly human and a four-to-five-month-old puppy were found buried together).[22] However, pet dog populations grew significantly after World War II as suburbanization increased.[142] In the 1950s and 1960s, dogs were kept outside more often than they tend to be today[143] (using the expression "in the doghouse" to describe exclusion from the group signifies the distance between the doghouse and the home) and were still primarily functional, acting as a guard, children's playmate, or walking companion. From the 1980s, there have been changes in the role of the pet dog, such as the increased role of dogs in the emotional support of their human guardians.[144] People and dogs have become increasingly integrated and implicated in each other's lives,[145] to the point where pet dogs actively shape the way a family and home are experienced.[146]
A Colorado study found bites in children were less severe than bites in adults.[179] The incidence of dog bites in the US is 12.9 per 10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is 60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance to be bitten in the face or neck.[180] Sharp claws with powerful muscles behind them can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious infections.[181]
Dogs have been described as carnivores[117][118] or omnivores.[17][119][120][121] Compared to wolves, dogs have genes involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet.[19] Based on metabolism and nutrition, many consider the dog to be an omnivore. However, the dog is not simply an omnivore. More like the cat and less like other omnivores, the dog can only produce bile acid with taurine, and it cannot produce vitamin D, which it obtains from animal flesh. Also more like the cat, the dog requires arginine to maintain its nitrogen balance. These nutritional requirements place the dog part-way between carnivores and omnivores.[122]
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]
^ Fan, Zhenxin; Silva, Pedro; Gronau, Ilan; Wang, Shuoguo; Armero, Aitor Serres; Schweizer, Rena M.; Ramirez, Oscar; Pollinger, John; Galaverni, Marco; Ortega Del-Vecchyo, Diego; Du, Lianming; Zhang, Wenping; Zhang, Zhihe; Xing, Jinchuan; Vilà, Carles; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Godinho, Raquel; Yue, Bisong; Wayne, Robert K. (2016). "Worldwide patterns of genomic variation and admixture in gray wolves". Genome Research. 26 (2): 163–173. doi:10.1101/gr.197517.115. PMC 4728369. PMID 26680994.
The domestic dog is the first species, and the only large carnivore, known to have been domesticated. Especially over the past 200 years, dogs have undergone rapid phenotypic change and were formed into today's modern dog breeds due to artificial selection by humans. These breeds can vary in size and weight from a 0.46 kg (1.0 lb) teacup poodle to a 90 kg (200 lb) giant mastiff. Phenotypic variation can include height measured to the withers ranging from 15.2 centimetres (6.0 in) in the Chihuahua to 76 cm (30 in) in the Irish Wolfhound; color varies from white through grays (usually called "blue") to black, and browns from light (tan) to dark ("red" or "chocolate") in a wide variation of patterns; coats can be short or long, coarse-haired to wool-like, straight, curly, or smooth.[131] The skull, body, and limb proportions vary significantly between breeds, with dogs displaying more phenotypic diversity than can be found within the entire order of carnivores. Some breeds demonstrate outstanding skills in herding, retrieving, scent detection, and guarding, which demonstrates the functional and behavioral diversity of dogs. The first dogs were domesticated from shared ancestors of modern wolves, however the phenotypic changes that coincided with the dog–wolf genetic divergence are not known.[26]
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Dogs bear their litters roughly 58 to 68 days after fertilization,[17][71] with an average of 63 days, although the length of gestation can vary. An average litter consists of about six puppies,[72] though this number may vary widely based on the breed of dog. In general, toy dogs produce from one to four puppies in each litter, while much larger breeds may average as many as twelve.

Brush the dog's teeth.[2] Ideally, brushing your dog’s teeth every day with dog toothpaste is the route to healthy teeth and gums. Use dog toothpaste instead of human products, so you don't poison your dog with fluoride. If there is any chance that you may get bitten by your dog, do NOT attempt to brush your pet’s teeth. At any point, if the dog gets overwhelmed, give him a break to calm down.

Long fur on the paws acts as a trap for grass seeds, grit, or even ice, so regular trimming is advisable. Use a pair of curved scissors with rounded tips. Work on one toe at a time and twirl the fur growing between two toes between your finger and thumb, and then snip the hair off at the base. Be careful never to pull on the fur, which elevates the skin and makes cutting it more likely. If you cannot see where the skin ends and the fur starts, then slide a comb through the fur at skin level, and using the scissors cut on the safe side of the comb. Repeat for each toe on each paw.
It has been suggested that the most significant benefit would have been the use of dogs' robust sense of smell to assist with the hunt.[136] The relationship between the presence of a dog and success in the hunt is often mentioned as a primary reason for the domestication of the wolf, and a 2004 study of hunter groups with and without a dog gives quantitative support to the hypothesis that the benefits of cooperative hunting was an important factor in wolf domestication.[137]

Various kinds of service dogs and assistance dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and psychiatric service dogs provide assistance to individuals with disabilities.[160][161] Some dogs owned by epileptics have been shown to alert their handler when the handler shows signs of an impending seizure, sometimes well in advance of onset, allowing the guardian to seek safety, medication, or medical care.[162]

There are a vast range of commodity forms available to transform a pet dog into an ideal companion.[147] The list of goods, services and places available is enormous: from dog perfumes, couture, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists, trainers and caretakers, dog cafes, spas, parks and beaches, and dog hotels, airlines and cemeteries.[147] While dog training as an organized activity can be traced back to the 18th century, in the last decades of the 20th century it became a high-profile issue as many normal dog behaviors such as barking, jumping up, digging, rolling in dung, fighting, and urine marking (which dogs do to establish territory through scent), became increasingly incompatible with the new role of a pet dog.[148] Dog training books, classes and television programs proliferated as the process of commodifying the pet dog continued.[149]
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