When we think about dogs, the first trait we think about is their loyalty. The unconditional love and support they give us have always been well known. We love to think about how much our dog appreciates us, but scientists are naturally curious and wanted to study this trait more deeply.
Why is a dog loyal to its owner? How does that loyalty work? Is it similar to how it works on humans? Are dogs capable of loving?
We found out the strongest theories on how a dog’s loyalty work:
1) Based on food and shelter:
Dogs come from wolves. These wolves were first domesticated using food and shelter as a reward for them acting as guardians. The reciprocity for this relationship remains in our dog’s instinct.
2) You are part of your dog’s pack:
Dogs have a pack mentality. There must be support, group work, and even sacrifice for a pack to survive in the wilderness. When you make your dog a part of your family, you’re also making your family part of their pack. Their instinct remains and makes them protect and care for each member.
3) Dogs may be able to love us:
A study made in 2005 by ScienceDirect revealed something that made dog owners’ hearts melt: our dogs react to our scent in a pretty similar way to how we react to love.
They conducted a study in which they scanned a dog’s brain when exposed to different scents. They later found out that the part of a dog’s brain that reacts to its owner’s smell is almost the same parts associated with love in humans.
Loyalty is very different in every dog. Due to their breeds and personalities, some dogs act differently towards their owners. However, what is 100% true is that dogs have loyalty in their genes and can show it to us in the most remarkable ways.