The scientific evidence is mixed as to whether companionship of a dog can enhance human physical health and psychological wellbeing. Studies suggesting that there are benefits to physical health and psychological wellbeing have been criticised for being poorly controlled, and finding that "the health of elderly people is related to their health habits and social supports but not to their ownership of, or attachment to, a companion animal." Earlier studies have shown that people who keep pet dogs or cats exhibit better mental and physical health than those who do not, making fewer visits to the doctor and being less likely to be on medication than non-guardians.
In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls each year. It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same study found that while dog involvement in road traffic accidents was difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving injury more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.
In addition, people with pet dogs took considerably more physical exercise than those with cats and those without pets. The results provide evidence that keeping pets may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that for guardians of dogs these effects are relatively long-term. Pet guardianship has also been associated with increased coronary artery disease survival, with human guardians being significantly less likely to die within one year of an acute myocardial infarction than those who did not own dogs.
Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors. Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog's closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children.
Citing a 2008 study, the U.S. Center for Disease Control estimated in 2015 that 4.5 million people in the USA are bitten by dogs each year. A 2015 study estimated that 1.8% of the U.S. population is bitten each year. In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while since 2007 this has increased to an average of 31. 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the property of the dog's legal owner.
Humans would also have derived enormous benefit from the dogs associated with their camps. For instance, dogs would have improved sanitation by cleaning up food scraps. Dogs may have provided warmth, as referred to in the Australian Aboriginal expression "three dog night" (an exceptionally cold night), and they would have alerted the camp to the presence of predators or strangers, using their acute hearing to provide an early warning.
^ Jump up to: a b Thalmann, O.; Shapiro, B.; Cui, P.; Schuenemann, V.J.; Sawyer, S.K.; Greenfield, D.L.; Germonpre, M.B.; Sablin, M.V.; Lopez-Giraldez, F.; Domingo-Roura, X.; Napierala, H.; Uerpmann, H.-P.; Loponte, D.M.; Acosta, A.A.; Giemsch, L.; Schmitz, R.W.; Worthington, B.; Buikstra, J.E.; Druzhkova, A.; Graphodatsky, A.S.; Ovodov, N.D.; Wahlberg, N.; Freedman, A.H.; Schweizer, R.M.; Koepfli, K.- P.; Leonard, J.A.; Meyer, M.; Krause, J.; Paabo, S.; et al. (2013). "Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs". Science. 342 (6160): 871–874. Bibcode:2013Sci...342..871T. doi:10.1126/science.1243650. hdl:10261/88173. PMID 24233726.
The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris when considered a subspecies of the wolf or Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species) is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.
Don't overdo bathing. Once every 6 to 8 weeks is typically enough. Professional grooming services are recommended once every 4 to 6 weeks for long haired breeds. Bathing too often can dry out the skin by removing the natural oils. Waterless shampoo can be used between baths to clean feet and other areas. Spot spray directly and sponge off with a damp sponge. Use a hypoallergenic or mild oatmeal shampoo designed for dogs for general bathing. If your pet has a particular skin condition, try hypoallergenic scent free shampoo before the vet. If the condition persists, a medicated shampoo from your veterinarian may be in order. Consult your veterinarian if there are concerns about your pet’s skin.
Unlike other domestic species which were primarily selected for production-related traits, dogs were initially selected for their behaviors. In 2016, a study found that there were only 11 fixed genes that showed variation between wolves and dogs. These gene variations were unlikely to have been the result of natural evolution, and indicate selection on both morphology and behavior during dog domestication. These genes have been shown to affect the catecholamine synthesis pathway, with the majority of the genes affecting the fight-or-flight response (i.e. selection for tameness), and emotional processing. Dogs generally show reduced fear and aggression compared with wolves. Some of these genes have been associated with aggression in some dog breeds, indicating their importance in both the initial domestication and then later in breed formation. Traits of high sociability and lack of fear in dogs may include genetic modifications related to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans, which cause hypersociability at the expense of problem solving ability.
The majority of contemporary dog owners describe their pet as part of the family, although some ambivalence about the relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the dog–human family as a pack. A dominance model of dog–human relationships has been promoted by some dog trainers, such as on the television program Dog Whisperer. However it has been disputed that "trying to achieve status" is characteristic of dog–human interactions. Pet dogs play an active role in family life; for example, a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how family members use the dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or talking through the dog, to mediate their interactions with each other.
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