Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Oli Juste, I am a Dog Trainer & Behaviourist based in Central London.
I am thrilled to be writing a series of Blogs with the Engraving Studios on a somewhat obvious theme for me….yup you've guessed it…. Dogs!
Where to start! Dogs have been a part of human life for thousands of years and now more than ever they still play a huge part in our everyday lives.
I’m sure most of you will have or know someone close to you with a dog or a pet.
It was estimated recently that 49% of UK adults had at least one pet. That’s incredible. We are definitely a country of animal lovers.
David Grimm wrote in the journal Science in 2015: “Dogs were the first animal humans domesticated—before any plant, before any other animal. Yet scientists have argued for years over where and when they arose. Some studies suggest that canines evolved in Europe, others Asia, with time frames ranging from 15,000 to more than 30,000 years ago
From the very beginning we’ve been playing (or tampering, depending in how you look at it) with dogs’ genetics. We domesticated yes, but with specific traits in mind to suit different types of jobs we wanted the dogs to help us with.
The way we now treat and care for these dogs in this modern world can have a huge impact on both their and our lives for good and bad.
The Dog population is an estimated 8.9 Million, which means 24% of the UK adult population owned a dog.
This includes Dogs playing all sorts of roles in human life they could be a working dog such as sniffer dogs, medical assistance dogs, therapy dogs, explosive detection dogs, Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, Farming dogs, Guard dogs, Truffle hunting dogs (Yum!) the list goes on. But, there are also family pet dogs which sometimes can be playing a massive part in alleviating depression, anxiety and loneliness within their family unit at home.
Back in 2012 it was found that 39% of London’s pet owners purchased or rescued their pet for companionship, despite having 7.5 million neighbors’ across the city. This is an interesting thought as I spend my days building bonds between Dogs/puppies and their owners. Sometimes when I am faced with a difficult behavioral case it is often the bond that needs work before any behavioral change will be seen. I’ll often talk about being your dog’s ‘Safe Place’ and hopefully in the next series of blogs we will touch on this more and how it can create a wonderful and trusting relationship between the two of you.
“... Remove domestication from the human species, and there's probably a couple of million of us on the planet, max. Instead, what do we have? Seven billion people, climate change, travel, innovation and everything. Domestication has influenced the entire earth. And dogs were the first. For most of human history, we're not dissimilar to any other wild primate. We're manipulating our environments, but not on a scale bigger than, say, a herd of African elephants. And then, we go into partnership with this group of wolves. They altered our relationship with the natural world. ...” — Greger Larson
We know through science that the way the Dog training world operates is changing rapidly and we can work with our K9 friends in a calmer, kinder more positive way than in previous decades and get the same if not better results.
Good ways to look at it, humans are the only mammals that use punishment as a form of teaching, Dogs don't know Wrong vs Right, instead they work in a world of Safe vs Danger. More on this next time.
.” -Grimm, David (2015). "Feature: Solving the mystery of dog domestication". Science.