Apparently, prairie dogs are some of the most social of the “squirrel family” (according to an article in the WallStreetJournal), and as such they have the potential to make good pets? I don’t know. But from the first prairie dog on the internet to those who think the prairie dog belongs on the prairie, there are a variety of opinions. They can be found in pet stores and in pounds, where they aren’t well treated as well as on a site that sells prairie dogs online. There have been episodes of shows in which prairie dogs are discussed as well as discussions about the potential economic impact of prairie dog sales. They even have diseases.
But this just introduces the issue. The thing I want to talk about today is a hypothesis on how dogs may have become the social parasites that they are today. A SocialParasite such as a dog comes from a pre-existing social structure of its own - such as a pack. Prairie dogs also have their own elaborate social structure as well. They may be able to adapt and map their social structure onto the social structure of a typical family. If they do, then as generations progress like this, they will have no choice but to become social parasites. Devoid of the natural social structure, they will be forced to seek and favor that which they’ve been put into.
Given that they have a more elaborate social structure, perhaps they’ll eventually make better pets than dogs? Who know? But this is something that those who study social parasites can be aware of and watch out for, so that we can have better documentation on how these social parasites were formed than on how the dog became a social parasite.