Crufts was an enjoyable day out on the Saturday this year. I didn't do much shopping, I bought Serendipity a nice floaty firehose toy from Extra Dog also known as 'Katie's Bumpers'. Needless to say it was a hit though we do have to be careful she doesn't over-exert herself on walks so we need to stick to fetching in the water from now on. I got to take some nice photos of dogs in the show ring, at least the best I could get with the lighting and my camera. I also got to attend a couple of interesting lectures, one more about growing my business, and the other about temperament testing in the rescue dog discussing various ways to do so, the difference between temperament and behaviour and of course how to measure a dog's temperament.
Sadly I didn't attend the lecture on 'wolves to dogs' but my friends did and said it was very interesting but not much new to my friend and I who have been keeping update with all the current information regarding scientific perception of how the dog evolved. The gist of it is.. there was an ancestor before wolves and dogs that split off into the dog and wolves we know today. Dogs did not evolve from wolves, they evolved from a canine which was similar to what we see as the village dogs in many far off countries. So though dogs and wolves are from the same family tree, dogs are not wolves in domestic dog clothing.
This of course has big implications for a lot of current perceptions in the dog training and behaviour field when it comes to dealing with certain problems and the idea of 'pack' in dogs is almost completely irrelevant. In fact the idea of pack is most likely to be more obvious in the pack working dogs such as huskies and canadian eskimo dogs. These are bred to work as a team so its not surprising they will have some pack instincts. This could also mean that those dogs such as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog which were created from the pack forming european grey wolves are more likely to still have that pack instinct. It will be expressed in different ways though.
However most domestic dogs do not have this pack mentality and tend to form more of a loose social collective. This is very fluid in the ways the dogs interact with each other and even us. Of course this is going to affect our relationships with dogs in terms of how we treat them and engage with them as we should no longer see them as trying to be 'dominant'.
Behaviour in dogs is such a fascinating subject though and was the topic of my investigative report in my final foundation degree year. It was basically a mini dissertation and I have decided I would like to expand on it at a later date, possibly if I succeed in gaining entry to the third year BSc in Canine Behaviour and Training at Bishops Burton. I know quite a few people who 'work' their dogs in sports, whether it be breed related or not. I wanted to explore if doing a sport or job which relates to the original function of the breed can decrease or increase the expression of behaviour problems. The results I found were quite interesting, though the small numbers did skew the statistics a little it is something to build upon and surprised me. I had expected different results so I was fascinated and indeed intrigued. I am including the full report here, including spelling mistakes and imperfections as it was submitted to my University. I received a 2:2 for it mostly because I forgot to title a few tables and graphs, didn't speak 'scientifically' enough in places amongst other mistakes, but the general content was very well received. I hope if anyone decides to read it, they too can see the unexpected results and perhaps relate this back to their own dogs.
here's the link for the toy I got for Serendipity: http://www.xtradog.com/shop/shop-by-brand/katies-bumpers.html
Dog Trainer, animal lover, artist and photographer