Dogs might be domesticated but they certainly retain traces of the wild from which they were bred. Most dogs have similar genetic roots with wild-roaming canines such as wolves, dingos or other undomesticated breeds…And it shows.
Whilst your pooch might be pampered beyond reason, even the mellowest of lap dogs probably displays at least a few feral behaviors that hark back to the call of the wild. For example, your dog might:
- Bury Bones–This is one of the most stereotypical dog behaviors and it is a direct result of the instinct to bury food (like bones) and come back to it later. The act of hiding food is a means of avoiding starvation in the wild. Canines are far from the only animals to practice this sort of hording behavior–cats, birds and even squirrels are known to squander food to eat later.
- Howl–Howling at a full moon is behavior that has long been associated with wolves and certain breeds of dogs. However, howling in general–much like barking, growling and even yelping–is a basic means of commutating with other dogs and other animals–including human beings.
- Chase Small Animals–Chasing squirrels, cats and other small creatures is a direct result of the hunting instinct that remains embedded in the core of most dog’s DNA. Since canines are carnivores, it’s ingrained in their psyche to chase small mammals which they automatically regard as food.
- Mark Territory–Have you ever seen your dog lift his leg to pee on a tree or scratch the ground after relieving herself? This is also basic instinct that originated in the wild where animals use scent makers (aka the smell of urine) and and/or claw marks to establish territory.
- Run in Packs–If you have ever taken your dog to a place like a dog park then you have likely witnessed him mingling with other dogs. Often, when several dogs are allowed to roam free and leash-less they will form packs and even voluntarily run around the space in pack form. This is yet another basic instinct that hails from a common fact in the wild: there is safety in numbers. Dogs are pack animals and they travel together for protection purposes. Packs can provide the ability to hunt big game, cuddle up for warmth, and look out for danger in ways that a solo dog could not do. Dogs are far from the only pack animals–deer, crows, elephants and even fish are also known for traveling in groups.
So no matter how tame and spoiled your beloved Fido and Rover might seem, they also are likely to have some wild oats that will never be sewn!