It’s easy to forget that man’s best friend had a pretty wild past. Although your dog may be cute and cuddly now, our favourite furry friends were wolves approximately 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Although their descendants have left most of their feral past behind, it’s important to remember that some of your dog’s primitive DNA is still intact, and that completely repressing their primal instincts can be potentially harmful.
It’s crucial to find healthy ways for your dog to express their wild side. Here are some tips on how you can help your dog connect to their inner wolf without wreaking havoc in your home:
Adopt Another Pet
Much like their ancestors, dogs are social animals who prefer to hang out in packs. Although some breeds, such as Chow Chows and Shiba Inus, are more difficult to socialize, most other dogs can find a curiosity or kinship with their peers. There are some dogs that may even try to take other species under their wing as friends, or even as their young.
Most dogs need to feel like they’re a part of a community, or they’ll experience a feeling of loneliness that can affect their wellbeing. If you or other family members spend a lot of time away from home during the day, adopting another pet could help to keep your dog stimulated and happy, while honouring their more social instincts. In turn, you will find that your dog will be less destructive in the home and more inclined to play with their new friend.
Wolves release giant bursts of energy in order to catch their prey. If you’ve ever passed by a squirrel with your dog, you’re probably already aware that the instinctual need to chase smaller animals is still present in your pooch. However, if your dog isn’t able to feed their need to run or chase, this can lead to destructive behaviour. To keep your dog healthy, make sure that you’re walking them for 30 minutes to 2 hours per day.
However, some higher-energy breeds might benefit from more than just a walk. Although the need to run and jump is a hereditary trait from their wolf ancestors, humans have bred some species of dogs to meet their specific needs. As a result, the amount of physical activity needed will generally vary from breed to breed. For example, Labradors (specifically Retrievers) were originally bred as herding and hunting dogs, so a game of fetch is an ideal form of exercise for them.
If your dog is partial to biting during play, it’s important to nip this in the bud and train them not to bare their teeth during play. If you have an adult dog with biting behaviour, make sure that you have plenty of chew toys around the house, as biting can often be the gateway to chewing up furniture. A good game of tug of war with a toy rope can be a safe and healthy way of suppressing your dog’s urge to chew.
As our favourite furry companions, we know that this bond is likely to last for thousands of years to come, but in order to make the relationship even richer, it’s vital to honour your dog’s natural instincts. If you work with your pup’s needs, the happiness the two of you share will be boundless.
If you have concerns about keeping your dog’s primitive instincts in check during travel, contact us today. We’ll help you get your little wolf to their destination safe and sound!