Tip #10 – The Effects Of Neoteny
Dogs have been bred out of the wolf population by a process of domestication that leaves them in a state closer to that of a puppy than an adult wolf. Theirs is a life of neverending childhood. Dogs retain into adulthood features normally found only in young wolves. This is called neoteny, and it’s why many adult dogs resemble wolf puppies rather than adult wolves.
The reason that dogs make good pets and wolves do not has to do with the behavioral aspects of neoteny. As dogs mature they do not lose some of their puppyish behaviors. Mature wolves exhibit completely adult canine behavior, making them difficult to tame.
Dogs have come a long way from the wild wolves that they started off as. Due to a natural form of breeding, today’s dogs are more like puppies than wolves. However, this tameness in behavior is the exact reason why dogs make such loyal pets, and are even safe enough to have around your children.