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View Full Version : Why are dogs such doting companions? It's in their genes



Amerijoe
07-19-2017, 06:49 PM
Does your dog stare at you? Mine does. It seems it's in their genes.

https://m.phys.org/news/2017-07-dogs-doting-companions-genes.html

JohnHowellsTyrfro
07-19-2017, 08:26 PM
Does your dog stare at you? Mine does. It seems it's in their genes.

https://m.phys.org/news/2017-07-dogs-doting-companions-genes.html

Not surprising really Joe. There is a theory dogs have self-domesticated to a considerable extent through genetic selection, which I think is likely to be correct, with those with the greatest toleration of people (reduced flight distance) being successful. I think myself maybe dogs see people as "providers" and have done for thousands of years, so they look to us to "provide". In return for this partnership, they provide us with quite a lot in return. The Wolf on the other hand has never been genetically selected for this relationship.
The free-ranging village dogs separated genetically from from their non-domesticated ancestors a very long time ago which seems to confirm the genetic factors involved. Very interesting. John

Amerijoe
07-19-2017, 08:38 PM
Not surprising really Joe. There is a theory dogs have self-domesticated to a considerable extent through genetic selection, which I think is likely to be correct, with those with the greatest toleration of people (reduced flight distance) being successful. I think myself maybe dogs see people as "providers" and have done for thousands of years, so they look to us to "provide". In return for this partnership, they provide us with quite a lot in return. The Wolf on the other hand has never been genetically selected for this relationship.
The free-ranging village dogs separated genetically from from their non-domesticated ancestors a very long time ago which seems to confirm the genetic factors involved. Very interesting. John

John, it brings to mind a Russian experiment in the fifties to domesticate the Siberian Fox. I remember seeing a clip on just how tame they became through successful breeding. They started acting like house dogs and playful as puppies. It wasn't so good for the less than friendly ones. It would be interesting to see if there is a verifiable genetic difference between the wild type and their domesticated progeny. Joe

JohnHowellsTyrfro
07-20-2017, 06:29 AM
John, it brings to mind a Russian experiment in the fifties to domesticate the Siberian Fox. I remember seeing a clip on just how tame they became through successful breeding. They started acting like house dogs and playful as puppies. It wasn't so good for the less than friendly ones. It would be interesting to see if there is a verifiable genetic difference between the wild type and their domesticated progeny. Joe

Yes I've read a bit about that and seen some film Joe. Apparently the study also showed that selecting for tameness resulted fairly quickly in changes in coat colour and I think the shape of the tail and maybe other factors that I can't remember without looking.
The fox is a curious one, at least the Red Fox, which I know a little more about. Apparently they can be domesticated relatively easily if reared from cubs by people. I think they are in the process of self-domesticating maybe. In the UK they have quite close contact with people, of course they are still hunted by some but others encourage them by leaving food for them in their gardens. I think some even hand feed them. I have an Internet friend who reared a fox cub (couldn't be returned to the wild) and it lives in her house alongside her dogs.
The last few years I've lost chickens to foxes in the day time, some years back as long as you locked the chickens up at dusk, they were pretty safe. Maybe because foxes have lived closer to people for a long period, scavenging etc., I have wondered if at least behaviourally they are closer to dogs than wolves are. My impression is wolves are very hard to domesticate.
Photo below John Gaunt a UK railway rat catcher who trained foxes he had raised from cubs to catch rats. John

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Mike_G
07-25-2017, 02:01 AM
"Dogs Decoded" is an excellent documentary about this subject. It might still be on Netflix.

JohnHowellsTyrfro
07-25-2017, 12:16 PM
I must admit I haven't read it all but the book below by Ray and Lorna Coppinger " Dogs:A new understanding of Canine origin, behaviour and evolution" has been highly recommended and sets out the theory of dogs largely-self domesticating. John

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