A dog is regarded as the most loyal animal you can share your life with. Scientists have proved that a dog can love you…he produces more oxytocin, the chemical measure of love in animals, when he is with you. We have long been fascinated by the dog-human bond. Much research has explored this further.
An Understanding that No Other Pair Share
Dogs’ loyalty to humans stems from the shared past of the two species. After the domestication of the dog, he began to change alongside his human master. Consequently, these two mammals developed an understanding that no other pair share. Research into the bond between humans and dogs has found a number of behaviours that developed from and continue to enhance the loyalty between them.
Researchers originally believed domestic dogs separated from their wolf ancestors after they began living amongst humans. However, more recent studies indicate otherwise. Archaeological evidence, such as the discovery of buried dog bones near settlements, suggests dogs and humans began sharing their lives only about 13,000 years ago. Although more research on the subject is needed, this evidence proves that dogs were already a separate species when they first encountered humans.
We understand loyalty as having a faithful allegiance to another person or institution. Some trainers argue dog loyalty stems from their pack behaviour. Because dogs want to bond with a group, they are instinctively loyal to those who are or who could be part of their pack. Commitment among members of the pack would be crucial to its success. Therefore, dogs who wanted to form a pack with early humans would have expressed loyalty to them so as to make the coalition work effectively for both.
Dogs Display Empathy with Humans
Throughout their shared past, dogs have developed better ways of communicating with humans. Research argues that dogs are more human-like in their behaviours than any other animal, including primates. One study found that dogs can empathise with humans. In the investigation, first, the dog’s companion and then a stranger was crying in the same room as him. The dog attempted to comfort both his companion and the stranger. In other studies, researchers have found dogs can understand verbal and physical gestures from humans, as well as their facial expressions. Humans are also able to accurately interpret the meaning of dog barks. This ability to communicate with one another developed from their shared reliance and continues to increase their loyalty.
Dogs may be loyal because they view themselves as our equals – not as a separate species. A study has shown that dogs can tell the difference between selfish and generous humans. In the trial, two humans with treats were approached by a third human. Human A refused to give the third person a treat and treated them coldly. Human B was kind and gave the other human a treat. When the dog was allowed to mingle with them, he went to the human who gave the treats. This preference indicates dogs expect humans to treat them the same way they treat other humans.