Does your dog always act like he’s never eaten before? Does he look up at you with big, pathetic eyes every time you make a sandwich or do any kind of food preparation? Gee, you feed him three times a day and give him snacks, and he still behaves as though he’s starving.
He begs at the dinner table and goes nuts when you toss a treat at him. But he’s not skinny, right? In fact, he may even be carrying an extra few. So why are dogs like this?
The explanation is simple. All dogs are descended from wolves. This has been proven genetically. Let’s take a look at wolves in the wild. Where do they get their food? They must hunt it and slay it. In fact, wolves have been known to trek tremendous distances at a maintained 45-mph pace just to keep up with targeted prey.
Only 20 percent of wolves’ hunts result in a kill. They often work in packs to bring down big prey. But often, prey gets away from them, including smaller pray like rabbits. It’s tough being a wolf, because the wolf never knows when it’s next meal is going to be, never knows where it’s going to get its next feeding.
Thus, they are genetically hardwired to ravenously dig in when food is available; to get it while they can, because who knows when the next kill will be? A wolf dives into every opportunity to eat, to fill up its body in case of famine down the road. They gorge themselves on their kills until they are so stuffed they could barely walk.
Dogs inherited this hardwiring, which is why whenever a dog sees food, his wolf-ancestry instincts kick in: Get it while you can! Logic should tell your dog that he needn’t act this way with food, because you feed him every day, perhaps at predictable times and multiple times every day. But dogs don’t think like humans.
We can grasp the concept of schedule and predictability. We can’t assume a dog also possesses this mental capacity. Much of a dog’s behavior is determined by instinct, what he inherited from his wolf forefathers.
So when you start laying those bacon strips into the pan, or pull out a bag of potato chips, your dog comes running and gives you that look, as though he’s starving. He truly doesn’t know when he’s going to get his next meal! He may not even be hungry, but he wants all the food you’ve just placed on the supper table for your family.
So now you know why dogs go berserk over food; it’s in their wolf genes!