Everyone knows that dogs are supposed to be man's best friend, but how did that happen anyway? When did the lives of humans and dogs become so intertwined?
Wolves are the ancestors of dogs, and surprisingly, there is some evidence that wolves may have approached humans first rather than the other way around. Wolves would have begun to follow humans in order to help themselves to discarded food and garbage, and humans probably saw the advantage of having an early warning signal to bark at intruders as well as good companions. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dog psychology would have been affected by this domestication as well. First of all, the friendlier wolves would have been selected for survivals. Humans would most likely have killed or driven away unfriendly ones. As dogs became more dependent upon humans, they would also have grown more attuned to human emotion, gestures and speech and would have gotten better at "reading" humans.
Another interesting thing would have happened to wolves that is true for many domesticated animals. The domestic dogs that developed from wolves have features that are more juvenile and thus more pleasing to humans. Later, herding, hunting and scent dogs among other specialties developed from the wolves that first began living alongside humans, and breeds arose from these.
Anyone who has spent time around dogs or other domesticated animals knows that animals can have complex psychologies just as humans can. Of course, their psychologies are quite different from that of humans. At the same time, however, because they are mammals just as humans are, there are similarities. Dogs dream; they don't like to be separated from their companions; they become anxious, overexcited and frustrated. Different breeds have different temperaments, but all dogs are individuals, and like humans, their development is based on a combination of nature and nurture.
So, what does the psychology of dogs look like? Are they so very different from us? Or might we be surprised by some of the ways we resemble each other?