Dogs have been human’s best friends for thousands of years. There are dozens of studies that explain different reasons not only for dog-to-human loyalty but also the necessity of humans to establish a strong bond with these lovely creatures.
History of Humans and Dogs
Humans started to watch the behavior of wolves and realized how helpful they could be for the human species, especially for hunting and guarding. Therefore, humans began selecting wolf puppies to raise them and include them in their lives. As these wolves were growing up apart from the other wild wolves, they started to change, and finally, the line of evolution between wolves and dogs was drawn 14,000 years ago. The scientific community recognizes that humans finally accepted dogs as friends and companions about 12,000 years ago. A human skeleton from that time was found in Israel, right next to a dog, and the hand of the man was purposely placed on the top of the dog.
Dogs and Packs
Due to their nature as descendants of wolves, dogs are pack animals. Their instinct tells them to join any pack that is nearby. For this reason, we see that dogs could belong to a pack with humans, cows, horses and even cats. Dogs are social animals by nature – they need a pack to survive. For dogs, a pack is a way to find food, shelter, and water. When they lose a member of the pack, they feel that a part of them is missing.
Key Points of Dog’s Loyalty
Following the idea of socialization and packs, we can now define the relationships that they build with us, humans. There are many key points that make them develop love and loyalty towards us, among these we have:
Dogs Dislike Being Lonely
As their nature is to be with a pack, dogs deeply dislike loneliness. Therefore, they get emotionally attached to the members of the pack despite their species. Regardless of the positions of members of a pack, dogs feel that each member is important and they are linked to each one of them. Their nature is to protect and love each member of the pack.
Similar Emotions as Humans
Many types of research have proved that dogs can understand human emotions and expressions, but furthermore, they can feel emotions due to the context of their environment. These emotional similarities can lead to empathy and deep connections between the species, producing a strong bond full of loyalty.
Basics of Friendship
In a family (or pack) that involves humans and dogs, humans will be more likely to represent the position of leaders. However, this does not mean that humans represent a higher or divine figure for dogs. The truth is, dogs see humans as their equals. Due to the connection in emotions, dogs believe that humans are their friends, and a fundamental principle of friendship is to maintain loyalty and respect to the other party. Dogs will be loyal to us as long as we are loyal and kind to them as well.
Dogs Are Naturally Affectionate
The nature of a dog is to be kind. The majority of aggressive dogs have been through awful experiences in their lives or have been taught to be aggressive against other humans or animals. If they are raised in a friendly and kind environment, they will give all their love to their family members. Typically, while they give love, they will give loyalty.
Breeds and Loyalty
Due to the different types of relationships and activities that dogs have developed in several countries around the world, it is logical to recognize that the level of loyalty among breeds could vary. Of course, the breed will not determine the level of affection, loyalty or the entire aptitude of the dog. There are tons of factors in the environment that could sculpt a dog´s personality.
Every dog, despite her/his breed, genetics, or context could become extremely loyal. However, there are some breeds that are recognized and famous for their loyalty and commitment to human beings. Among them, we can name:
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Rough Collie
- German Shepherd
How to Increase Dog’s Loyalty?
There are many ways to increase dog’s loyalty. Evidently, giving a dog a lot of love and all the appropriate cares will immediately increase her/his affection towards a human, which will lead to loyalty and many other positive feelings towards the owner. Other curious aspects that will enhance a dog’s loyalty include: physical closeness to a human, similar biological clocks (for example, both the dog and the human would get up in the morning and sleep at night), perform different activities together (like running and playing).
Roles in Society that Dogs have performed due to their Loyalty
Humans admire the feature of loyalty in dogs. This feature has become a key point for dogs in order to perform and develop certain activities or jobs that require a high level of commitment with other humans. For example:
- Psychological Support: Many dogs are trained in order to give emotional support to people with mental disabilities or diseases. This type of activity requires a lot of commitment and respect for the person they take care of.
- Guarding/Watch Dogs: Loyalty is very well related to protection. When dogs are properly trained, they can be kind and joyful with their owners, but when it comes to defending them from any possible threat, they will alarm and protect her/his owner at all costs.
- Service and Assistance Dogs: When it comes to physical disabilities, dogs are known for their outstanding job at supporting people. They are able to understand instructions and help with simple daily activities that disabled people would not do on their own. People with this type of dog enjoy their loyalty and love, but also the feeling of independence from other humans.
We can conclude this article by saying that dogs’ personalities can vary a lot. But it is undeniable that dogs have gained the “Human’s Best Friend” nickname for a very remarkable feature: loyalty. Dog have been there for us for thousands of years. It is evident that we need each other as species to live joyful and happy lives. The connection between us goes beyond assistance and social behaviors. Dogs can become an essential part of everyone’s family.