Martin Clunes narrates the final episode of three-part documentary series The Secret Life of Dogs, airing on Tuesday 21 Feb at 9.00pm on ITV.
It explores the complex but close relationship between humans and dogs. All dogs descend from wolves. But how did this fearsome predator become a lovable member of so many families? Science reveals that it is actually the inner wolf and primal instincts that makes dogs the perfect family pet in the final programme of the series.
One dog who demonstrates how strong the bond can be between a dog and its human family is Pero, a Welsh sheepdog. After being sent to work on a farm in a different part of the country, Pero ran away and managed to find his own way back home – a staggering 400-mile journey.
But there is one important wolf instinct that has largely remained unchanged – a dog’s primal desire to protect its pack. King shepherd Sako lives with his owner Joe Phillips Garcia in the wilderness of Canada. When the pair had a car accident and ended up stranded down a remote ravine 30 miles from the nearest help, Sako drew on his inner wolf and spent two days fighting off marauding coyotes in order to protect his owner.
With a broken leg and unable to move, Joseph would have certainly died without him. Although humans and dogs have lived alongside each other for millennia, it is only in the past 200 years that they became popular as pets.
Before then they were only considered workers. But in 1815, the novel Guy Mannering sold out in just 24 hours. The book’s main character, Dandi Dinmont, owned a charismatic terrier – and suddenly everyone wanted one themselves.
Secret Life of Dogs Episode 3 (of 3) airs on Tuesday 21 February 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on ITV.