Dogs, Wolves and String Cheese

I recently encountered a wolf hybrid at my local dog park and was simply fascinated with observing and taking note of the differences this animal exhibited from my Border Collie, who was playing in a different area of the park.  There was an obvious wildness to this creature.  It was keenly observant and exhibited vocalizations that were crosses between growls and whines.  It reminded me that dogs, although descended from wolves, are far removed from their wild cousin, even when he is present in a partial state.  It was also interesting that the hybrid was seemingly much more detached from its owners than my dog was from me.  While my Border Collie stuck close and tried to entice me to throw his ball, the owners of the hybrid were duly ignored as they tried to coax their curious creature to play.  Instead, it chose to vocalize at the fence line when dogs came near, perhaps to warn them of trespassing or share some other pertinent information.

The relationship our dogs have with us and the nature of their reliance on humans has been studied quite a bit.  Dogs have often been shown to look to humans for direction, when in a dilemma, whereas wolves are much more self reliant and proactive.  Here is an interesting video about one instance of problem solving where (spoiler alert) wolves were shown to be much more “clever” at figuring out a complex puzzle. Perhaps the dogs would have done better had a human helped them along.

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