Totally OT: Domestication of animals

If you love animals (as I do) it’s interesting to see the historical timeline of when various wild animal species were domesticated.

Domestication is not the same as taming an animal, which is when humans condition wild animals to live in captivity. Domestication involves genetic changes which involve behavioral traits (low stress when near humans) as well as physical traits (often neoteny, or youthful traits maintained into adulthood).

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-domestication-of-animal…

I have nits to pick with the article. Dogs and cats may have been pets when tamed (babies adopted because they were cute) but they were not domesticated because people fed adults as pets. They were domesticated over many generations because they were working animals. Cats caught mice that ruined stored crops. Dogs helped hunters and defended the people. In later years, dogs were bred for macroeconomic impact, such as herding sheep, which they do to this day.

Many domestic farm animals had Macro impact in history and up to the present. Farmers’ sales of livestock, dairy, and poultry account for over half of U.S. agricultural cash receipts. Since 2015, cash receipts from animal products have exceeded $160 billion per year.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/

The value of the pet industry in the US will reach nearly $109.6 billion this year. I’m amazed that people spend almost as much on their pets as animals they eat.

Are our pets worth it? Well, my 70 pound Border Collie X German Shepherd dog, Cliff, is asleep about 4 feet away from me. He would kiss me if I wanted a snuggle with all his passionate, loving, loyal doggie heart. He would quickly become a credible, barking protector if anyone threatened me. Our English cocker spaniel is asleep about 4 feet away from DH. If we wanted to hunt birds, she’d be more than happy to flush them out in the field.

Pets are happiest when fulfilling their bred-in working task. They aren’t really happy as sedentary couch potatoes – unless they were specifically bred for the purpose. Chihuahuas were bred in Mexico as a type of animated hot water bottle for people who have arthritis so they are happy as lap dogs.

Wendy

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  1. Not surprisingly to dog trainers and many dog owners, more and more genetic and anthropological research supports the idea that as much as humans domesticated and transformed wolves into dogs, wolf/dogs “team-isticated” and transformed humans into hunting-as-a-pack hyper cooperative and communicative animals, a transformation that changed us into modern homo sapiens.

  2. Our Golden Retriever exhausts me daily. He is a young adult and he wants to retrieve a lot, a whole lot, and he expects me to hold up my end of “the deal” every day with substantial walks and lots and lots of throwing of sticks and balls for long distances (“Really, you pathetic old f&rt, is that as far as you can throw it?”). He is keeping me aerobically fit and forcing me to exercise my pained shoulder girdle in accordance with my doctor’s instructions, a very powerful benefit.

  3. We live on abused poor agricultural land in Mexico, and we were long overrun by mice and rats despite the best laid traps and the tightest food and rubbish containers. Husband wanted a sweet pretty lap cat but I held out for a proven “ratter”, hard to find in modern circles. Two months ago we grabbed a starving cat from the streets of the nearby pueblo. After veterinarian testing and treatment for parasites etc and two weeks of good food he proved himself an expert ratter and brought me two or three heads a week to prove it, while expertly purring and cuddling with happy husband, The rodent kills are down to one or so a week or so as the population has been culled and fear instilled.

david fb

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1. Not surprisingly to dog trainers and many dog owners, more and more genetic and anthropological research supports the idea that as much as humans domesticated and transformed wolves into dogs, wolf/dogs “team-isticated” and transformed humans into hunting-as-a-pack hyper cooperative and communicative animals, a transformation that changed us into modern homo sapiens.

Indeed. The dogs’ evolutionary strategy is to train humans to provide them with food.

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<I held out for a proven “ratter”, hard to find in modern circles. >

For the biggest, meanest rats, the hunter of choice is a dog, not a cat. A big rat could kill a cat.

Terriers were specifically bred to be small, aggressive and fearless rat hunters in holes and tunnels. The original rat terrier was an English mongrel breed, a distinctly lower-class dog, scruffy and independent, cheap to feed while killing the ubiquitous rats. The AKC “Rat terrier” is pretty slick and probably no more similar to the working border collie than the AKC’s Barbie-coated border collies.

https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rat-terrier/
https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/rat-terrier#/slide/1

Wendy

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OOPS, I meant to write that the AKC rat terrier is probably not more similar to the original scruffy rat terrier than the AKC “Barbie coated” border collie is similar to the working border collie.

Wendy

In the Bible, what was the first animal domesticated?

Some would say sheep from the Cain and Able story.

Indeed. The dogs’ evolutionary strategy is to train humans to provide them with food.

We know who is King in this household, though he happily reigns with a gentle touch.

Sadly, there are many humans out there who are immune to their charms and are less gentle with the royalty.

With the way Covid has impacted our dog, we will not be “replacing” him when he departs. I’m guessing it’s somewhat rare for dogs to get Covid, or worse yet long Covid as ours did, but given there is no vaccine for dogs, we will not be going through that again if we can avoid it.

IP

Really, you pathetic old f&rt, is that as far as you can throw it?

I had similar issues with a past dog (RIP) who needed that ball thrown, far beyond what I can manage unaided. The ChuckIt is a kind of atlatl that will let you throw a tennis ball a respectable distance, even by dog standards.

https://www.chewy.com/chuckit-sport-launcher-dog-toy-color/d…

Wishing you, and your dog, many happy returns,

  • HCF
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