Dog Training & Domestication: A Brief History

Did you know that dog training is a tradition that, while very modern in its application, has its roots in early human history? At Obedience Please, we take pride in having decades of experience as one of Southern California’s premier dog training and boarding facilities. We work with both you and your dog to build a relationship based on trust, respect, and love for your furry family members.

Dogs and humans have been best pals for millennia, with some estimates based on mitochondrial DNA as old as 100,000 years. The origin of domesticated dogs is
unknown, and speculation veers between the Middle East, East Asia, and Europe. Origin theories are varied and complicated, but history has shown time and again that humanity has had dogs by its side almost since it was possible to domesticate animals.

One popular theory behind the history of the domesticated dog is that there were actually two domestication attempts that created the modern canine we know and love today. Bioarchaeologist Greger Larson published mitochondrial DNA evidence for domestic dogs that originated in Eastern and Western Eurasia. An Asian variety of domestic dogs has diverged from Asian wolves approximately 12,500 at the earliest, while European dogs came from their wolf ancestors at least 15,000 years ago.

After that, it is speculated that in the Neolithic period, at least 6,400 years ago, Asian dogs were taken to Europe and displaced the latter species. Earlier DNA studies concluded that dogs have only come from one domestication event, but this theory sets out to explain why two may have happened. Another theory suggests that migration events across the central Asian steppes may have displaced one species rather than eliminated it. It’s hard to say with the currently available information.

The world’s oldest site of a domesticated dog to date is in a German burial site called Bonn-Oberkassel, which is over 14,000 years old. In China, the oldest site is from the Neolithic ruins of Jiahu in Henan Province. Upper Paleolithic areas in Europe, particularly Goyet Cave in Belgium, Chauvet Cave in France, and Predmosti in the Czech Republic, show signs of humans cohabiting with dogs. Ancient dog burials have been found in Mesolithic ruins like Skateholm in Sweden. In the Americas, the oldest site is at Danger Cave in Utah, which is over 11,000 years old.

It’s safe to say that human beings have enjoyed having dogs as part of their families and daily lives for thousands, or even tens of thousands, of years!

The history of humans and dogs is one build by thousands of years of companionship and reliance on one another, and dog training is the cornerstone of that familial connection with our pets. Let Obedience Please assist you in any of your training and boarding needs. For more information about how our training, boarding, and daycare services can work for you, or to get an estimate for your dog, contact us online or call (626) 799-9614 today.