Dogs have been Man’s best friend for thousands of years, descended from ancient grey wolves that were the perfect predator, teaming up with us forming an almost unstoppable force that could bring down large preys and defeat great predators. So how did that mighty wolf turn into the small floppy eared fur ball curled up on my couch? To know, we must go back to the very beginning, to the very first contact between dog or wolf and man.
A group of hunters returns to their settlement with the spoils of the day, they are greeted by their mates and offspring, they return from a bountiful hunt and it is decided that they will feast that night. Far away a pack of wolves looking for food seemed to have not found anything yet, with their strong sense of smell the found a trail of several scents, it smells like food and something else, another predator competing on their hunting grounds perhaps? With the lack of anything else that would lead them to food they follow the trail. Back in the settlement around the fire the humans were enjoying the spoils of the day, not knowing the danger that approaches.
As the wolves got closer, they start to smell more and more things, some of them unfamiliar. Finally they reach the boarders of the settlement… they approach cautiously, as they know they will be facing a possible rival or new prey. They find upright almost furless apes that covered themselves with scraps of fur, surrounding some sort of bright light, they seem to be feeding. They seem to have no claws or fangs, it doesn’t look like they are anything threatening, so the pack of wolves that they will attack.
The humans were enjoying the night eating and maybe even socializing… it was the end of another day of hunting. Out of nowhere strange creatures started attacking the settlement, they quickly started defending themselves, these creatures were fast and ferocious, and they had the advantage. It seemed like the wolves might win until the hunters were able to organize and pick up their weapons. They were immediately able to create a primitive defensive perimeter and started to counter attack, pushing the creatures away.
The wolves who were at the advantage at first started to realize that they were being pushed back, seeing that some of the members of their pack has fallen they decided to retreat. Without food, dwindled in numbers, and most of their remaining capable members wounded all they could manage to do was hide near the outskirts of the settlement.
After the attack the humans remained on their guard, but with no casualty and no one seeming to be badly hurt they continued to their meal. After their eating, fearing that their scraps could attract other creatures they decided to dispose of it by throwing them away from the settlement.
Without food and a badly hurt pack, the wolves seem to be in a bad situation, they will need to find food soon. A couple of them hear something approaching; it was the humans they faced earlier. Thinking that they came to finish them off the wolves prepared to fight for one last time, a last stand if you will.
A group of humans assigned or volunteered to throw out the scraps away from the camp, came across the creatures that tried to attack them earlier. The ones ferocious looking group was battered down and wounded looked like they were preparing to defend themselves for one last time. At an act of what could only be considered pity the humans decided to not attack these already defeated creatures. They did their duty and threw the scraps and left.
The wolves lowered their guard as the humans left, it seems that they left something… it was food. Cautious at first they approach it and started eating, it was enough food for them.
After a while it seemed like it became a habit of the humans to throw their scraps away at the edge of their settlements, the wolves found it as a food source that they could take advantage. It became more common for the two to meet and interact, so much so that a bond slowly formed. Some of the wolves even decided to live near the settlements.
The more aggressive ferocious of the wolves were put down by the humans when they tried to attack, causing the more docile wolves left to mate with each other, this started their domestication. As more docile generations of wolves grew and humans started to bond, it became more common for some of the wolves to start living within the human settlements.
After thousands of years of breeding to less aggressive mates, depending on the environment and the proto-dog’s role in human society, they start to develop traits seen in most modern dogs today.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened, but it is an accepted theory of how the domestication of wolves began, which latter on changed them into the fluffy companions we have today. In the end we are the reason why they changed, and maybe in ways we do not understand they changed us.