We all know dogs are (wo)man’s best friend, and for good reason, but why are dogs so loyal?
We love our dog’s unconditional love and as it turns out, there’s a scientific reason they are like this! Interestingly, science has proven that dogs have been just as loyal for centuries now!
When archeologists dug through 13,000 year old human settlements, they also found dog bones buried near too, which led these scientists to theorize that after wolves evolved into dogs, the two lived in harmony together. All tracks because why would humans not want to befriend dogs, right?
So what does loyalty actually mean? Oxford Dictionary defines loyalty as ‘a strong feeling of support or allegiance’, which we can certainly say sounds a lot like how dogs are. Dogs are eager to please and love unconditionally (yes, even if we accidentally step on their paws!)
The Reason for Dog’s Loyalty
Dogs are pack animals, meaning they prefer to hunt, sleep, eat, and live with their pack, just as the wolves they descended from did. Dogs are social, but because they don’t have to hunt and live with their dog pack anymore, humans became their pack! To dogs, we’re their pack leader as we feed and train them. This is genetically bred into dogs because they needed to be in a pack to survive, so it was only beneficial to them if they were loyal to their pack leader.
Are all Dogs Loyal?
Yes, either adopted or brought home from a breeder and no matter what breed, all dogs will be loyal. Some breeds, like chihuahuas and labradors, are exceptionally loyal. All dogs’ loyalty is in part because of their survival instincts of course.
What Happens When a Dog’s Pack Member Personality Turns into Separation Anxiety?
Dog’s loyalty is evolutionary, but sometimes a dog’s pack member personality means they don’t want you to go anywhere without them, leading them to suffer from separation anxiety. Of course, it’s only natural your dog does not want the pack separated, but when it leads to anxiety, this behavior can be dangerous.
Around 14% of dogs experience separation anxiety. Dogs who present separation anxiety are nervous and anxious when left alone for any period of time. They cannot find comfort while alone, and can exhibit undesirable behaviors when alone like excessive barking or crying, destruction, and urinating or defecating inside.
However, there are now tricks and tips to alleviate your dog’s separation anxiety! The first step in treating dogs with anxiety is to speak to your veterinarian. They can help come up with a treatment plan, while also ruling out any other medical conditions that might be causing this anxiety.
Training and counterconditioning are also effective ways to reduce dog anxiety. This is also a great way that your dog bonds with his pack leader!
There are steps to take before leaving them alone that can help reduce their anxiety, too. Taking your dog for a nice long walk to tire them out helps reduce feelings of anxiety. Giving a calming treat, powder, or liquid before leaving can also ease your dog’s anxiety. Leaving out interactive toys and bones is a good way to keep your dog busy and leave them with a positive feeling when you leave. Having a consistent schedule can help your anxious dog as well.
There are also many supplements on the market today for dog anxiety! Some, like Wolf Spring, are easy to give and recommended by vets. In new research, plant ingredients have shown amazing results for dogs like calmed behavior, relaxation, and stress relief.