Why are dog so loyal to humans?
It’s often believed that dog loyalty is a trait that years of domestication and genetic inheritance/selection has nurtured. Aside from selection, loyalty within genetics has its roots tracing back to ancestral backgrounds of the wolf.
The term lone wolf is often used but wolves are social animals that band together in a Pack. Wolf packs have distinct characteristics and hierarchical order with the lowest ranking members showing obedience and submission to their superiors. All members are entirely dedicated to their group, defending and sacrificing where necessary, a bond that is engrained in their genes.
Any situation that jeopardizes the order of the group will be met with an instinctual defense of force from the Pack. In a stable wolf pack, all members are emotionally stable and wholeheartedly contributing to the welfare of the group. Once hierarchy shows signs of instability, emotions of anxiety and even civil strife can occur until order and stability is restored.
LOYALTY AMONG HUMANS
For a dog, an owner is its leader wolf. Loyalty between human and dog is very much the same relationship seen among wolves. Dogs will show a similar selfless submission to their owners, expressing a deep unconditional loyalty that is governed by stability of order.
Dogs perceive everyone in the family as members of the pack, applying ranks to all members including themselves based on observations and feelings. Most dogs will rank all other members of the family higher than themselves, showing submissive and obedient behavior.
LARGER DOGS AND CHILDREN
However, children at home may not rank above some dogs, especially those below the age of 2 years. Ranking among wolves is based on strength, larger dogs may feel superior in strength to small children. It’s important to monitor the relationship between children and dogs to ensure safe interaction without feelings of unrest in hierarchical order.
Breeds such as German shepherd, Rottweiler, and other larger dogs possess great strength. Aside from assuming hierarchical superiority to children, they may also attempt to rank themselves above their owners. It’s important to monitor and instill obedience through authority.
HIERARCHICAL ORDER AND STABILITY
Dogs constantly assess hierarchical order in the family. A stable state of family order will help a dog behavior consistently, avoiding emotions of anxiety and unrest. Leadership in the group works as it does among wolves, if a dog feels that their superior is no longer worthy of maintaining their status, they may challenge this situation with dominance. Keeping an eye on behavioral changes is important as playfulness can sometimes turn into provocation. Signs of aggression and showing of teeth are telling of an uneasy state of mind.
Addressing unease is important, provocative behavior may develop into further disobedience. If a dog begins to show challenging behavior, not listening to commands. It’s essential that action be taken to restore order, showing the dog stability and expectation of obedience all the while showing emotions of love and care.