Better Together: How Dogs and People Benefit from Each Other
Learn how our relationship with dogs developed over time and how dogs benefit our everyday lives.
We’ve all heard the phrase “man’s best friend,” but when did this relationship with canines start? We don’t have an exact answer, but we do know that dogs and humans have been besties for a long time — like 30,000 years. Way back then, our companionship was born out of necessity. Both humans and their four-legged counterparts were trying to survive, and a big part of that involved hunting.
Dogs Then and Now
With good eyes and a keen sense of smell, dogs made excellent hunters. But even as new needs arose and life became about more than just survival, humans continued to develop dogs’ instincts and created new breeds to work alongside them. For example, when people began keeping livestock about 8,000 years ago, dogs began to serve as herders and guardians — think sheepdogs or border collies. Other breeds, like terriers, were responsible for keeping barns free from rodents.
Then, in about the late 18th century, pet ownership became a middle-class activity. We can thank the Victorians in England for creating the dog-friendly family households we know today. While some people still have dogs to help with their livelihood, most dogs have become beloved members of the family.
A Great Time To Be a Dog
In fact, dogs have never had it better. Our pets are like our children. We shower them with love, affection and gifts. We pamper them with meals that look and taste like something we’d feed ourselves (Why, hello there, Cesar® product — it’s too bad we can’t actually eat them). They sleep in our beds and get tons of belly rubs and kisses.
What Dogs Give Us
And while dogs definitely have it good, our four-legged friends make our lives better than we could have ever imagined. Being a pet parent gives us purpose and helps us maintain a routine. Our canine companions offer unconditional love and support, which helps their humans feel less lonely.
Dogs also give us a reason to get up and move. Whether we’re taking our best friend for a walk around the block or exploring a new trail, that extra movement can have a positive impact on our physical health. Our furry friends can also help us be more social with our human friends. The next time you pass another dog owner on your walk or strike up a conversation at the dog park, you can thank your pooch for helping you connect more with others.
Humans and dogs: We’re just better together