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Advice to help you understand and mold your dog into a life-long family friend, establish pack order and shape good behavior.

 

 

 

WHY DOGS LOVE TO RIDE

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives

 

Dogs literally take in the scenery if not stuck in a crate like a shrink-wrapped package so grab your car keys and this amazing dose of dog science!

 

Your dog loves you and he wants to be with you. You are (or should be!) his pack leader so where you go, he instinctively follows. The problem is that crate sales propaganda has convinced owners that all dogs must be crated in the car.

 

I was talking with a friend who has a crash-tested pet carrier! It’s one of those fashion statement leather carriers so you can take it in the stores and it is great for little. I told her it wouldn’t work for my cats-they disappear when I pick up a crate! She laughed but we agreed on much dogs love to “go” and she said it is because they can’t stand to be separated from us.

 

I smirked “Then why do they ignore us in favor of hanging out the window?” She didn’t get it so I went home and poked around on the internet. I found nothing that explains why dogs love to ride so I “interviewed” a couple of other dog people and then checked some scent science.

 

Here’s what I learned. We’re told to always put the dog in a crate in the car. OK, it is safer, I’ll agree. But for a dog, that is like going sight-seeing with your eyes closed!

 

My dog always rode with his feet on the little arm rest and his head out the window. That way he could enjoy the exciting “scenery!” If it was brutally hot, I would close the windows and crank up the A/C but leave his window cracked open so that he could scent-see everything. That is the way a dog enjoys the scenery because dogs savor scents instead of the sight of your fat neighbor in her bikini.

 

Behavioral studies show that dogs can tell when you’re getting ready to “GO” and they actually get a “euphoric high” because they instinctively associate it with the pack gathering to go on the hunt. You know, you’ve noticed and laughed as your dog clearly says “hurry up!” If he’s lucky that day and actually gets to go with you on the hunt (you usually find food but if you fail, he forgives you…) that initial adrenaline rush is sustained because as a trainer told me, “Riding in the car allows a dog to explore new sites, sounds and smells.

 

Of course he loves going with YOU. Dogs are social (pack) animals, descended from wolves (so they say) that traveled 20 to 30 miles in an average hunting day. You are his pack leader and he is programmed to go where you go. Anyone who doesn’t think wolf packs aren’t bonded, part of a team, hasn’t watched nature shows.

 

Canine Evolution And Common Sense

Foxes didn't evolve from wolves so they are not pack oriented. They hunt alone or in pairs. And did domestic cats worshipped by the Egyptians descend from lions and tigers????

 

Ha! Sure, I can see where elephants evolved from the Mastodon and the prehistoric saber-tooth tiger morphed into today’s tigers but the zinger is that as those species evolved, their ancestors died.

 

Did you ever think about that? Wolves and coyotes are still here in spite of ranchers trapping, poisoning and shooting them. So dogs must have also survived and evolved and morphed into all the different sizes and breeds we know now. Or, as some people say (including Dr. Lee, see below) Dog is God spelled backwards for a reason. Who knows? I’ll stick with Wikipedia. It says “The dog is a member of the genus Canis, which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and was the first species and the only large carnivore to have been domesticated.

 

As a cat owner, me and my friends might dispute that dogs were the first to be domesticated. Obviously saber-toothed tigers disappeared a long time ago but there are still tigers and if we compare today’s domestic cat with mountain lions (which are the same as cougars) we would argue that cats were the first to be at least semi-domesticated and the first to be immortalized in art. Correction: my editor pointed out that primitive dogs are shown in cave drawings that predate those showing cats.

 

I tried to look it up but since none of us could read or write back then, there is only speculation. I would like to say cats were first but common sense (and research) says that goats are accepted as the first species to be domesticated and kept by humans. My neighbor, who is extremely smart, pointed out that dogs had to have predated all of that in order to protect goats and sheep! I know he knows how to search for references but it makes sense to me – and to biblical scholars. You know, we stuck pretty close to our sheep and goats and it was dogs that protected them and kept them from wandering too far and too fast for humans to keep up with them.

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