How it changed: the dog collar

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Steven L. Ken

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Another Monday and another new appointment with the column "How has it changed", with which we go to discover the history of one of the many objects of daily use. And today we have chosen to turn our attention to one of the most essential accessories for our four-legged friends, the dog collar. Now, perhaps it may seem unusual to you to retrace the history of an object that hasn't changed much over the centuries. Yet, despite its shape has remained almost the same as always, the support of technology has made the collar a more than modern object. So let's see how it has evolved over time.

Dog collar, an ancient invention

As you can well imagine, the history of the dog collar is inevitably linked to that of the domestication of animals. In this regard, it is important to consider that some research has shown that the first domesticated dogs belonged to a group of European hunters lived well 32 thousand years ago. As you can imagine, these first dogs were nothing more than the natural evolution of the wolves who used to follow the tribes of the time. What the real reason for this link is, however, is still unclear.

Some argue that dogs were useful for defending humans and helping them to hunt. And someone else believes that they have decided to follow the hunters to feed on the scraps of the carcasses of the hunted animals. Whatever the motivation, it is clear that living in the company of dogs has allowed humans to form a special relationship with them. And, as you can well imagine, the need to demonstrate this link has also become evident in the eyes of others. Thus was born the dog collar, of which we have a first representation in a series of irock carvings found in Shuwaymi and Jubbah - in today's north-eastern Saudi Arabia -.

Dating back to around 8000 BC, these depict a scene with a hunter and thirteen dogs, two of which are tied to man with a sort of long line, interpreted by scholars as a leash. Of course, this is a somewhat nebulous testimony, but still credible. Then, over the centuries the depictions of dogs with collars become clearer. So much so as to convince scholars that this was an object of common use already in ancient Egypt.

A centuries-long evolution

While the dog collar hasn't really changed shape over the centuries, it has nevertheless undergone a number of interesting changes in terms of use. Or the value. What will strike you to know, in fact, is that in Ancient Egypt the collar had an absolutely particular meaning, since the figure of the dog was connected to that of the god Anubis. Precisely for this reason, archaeological finds show them with decorations that perfectly reflected the high status of these animals. The brass studs and the representation of lotus flowers are just some of the details of the collars found. Especially if we consider that the practice of put the dog's name on the collar.

Yet, we owe to the Ancient Greeks the practice of using the collar for practical purposes and not only for decoration (as the Egyptians did). The small Greek farms, in fact, were often besieged by wolves, and the owners had to find a useful solution to prevent them from hurting their dogs. In this sense, in fact, the collar turned out to be the optimal solution for protect the throat from animal attacks wild. In the Middle Ages, however, the dog collar returned to being emblematic of the master's status who took him for a walk. Not surprisingly, noble women's pet dogs wore collars decorated with precious metals and jewels, while hunting dogs wore simple leather collars to make themselves recognizable.

During the Renaissance, then, the strange trend of gods spread padlock dog collars, a clear demonstration of the animal's belonging to the owner. As you can imagine, only those who carried the dog around owned the key, and this was considered a great way to emphasize dog ownership. Fortunately, this trend has disappeared over time. Now, in fact, collars are no longer a strong sign of ownership, but a tool to monitor the dog closely. In this sense, in fact, technology has done nothing but consolidate an already strong relationship. Let's see how.

Even the collars become hi-tech

Considering that technology has completely changed our life habits, it was to be expected that it would also affect the relationship with our four-legged friends. And so it was. Over the last few years, the market for hi-tech accessories for animals has grown exponentially. And the dog collar has seen a truly incredible evolution. Although the shape has remained almost the same, now this accessory is equipped with GPS to allow the masters to follow every movement of the dog. Thanks to a specially designed app, your smartphone will let you know if your four-legged friend strays too far in the park. Or if he is trying to escape from the fenced area set up for him.

But geolocation is not the only possibility offered by technology to monitor our four-legged friends. The activity tracker per cani, i.e. devices to be connected to the collar to carefully follow all the physical activity that he practices. A useful tool especially for overweight dogs or dogs with joint / heart problems. Using special sensors, the device is able to collect data and statistics to be sent to the owners' smartphone. And this allows him to monitor the well-being of his pet. In short, the shape of the collar has not changed, but perhaps its function has. Today, in fact, it is something more than a simple accessory. It is now a tool for taking care of your dog.

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