Can We Be as Loyal as our Dogs?
Loyalty can be expressed in many ways. You can have a loyal spouse/partner, a loyal business partner, friend, etc. You can have loyal customers, like all of you whom we have worked with over the years. You can be loyal to your country, like a soldier fighting for what they believe in. But a true test of loyalty comes when things don’t always go your way and there is only one who has ever shown undying loyalty no matter what the circumstances, your beloved dog!
There are many examples of dogs showing loyalty:
Hachiko, The Faithful Dog, would meet his owner everyday when he got off the train. One day the owner died at work, and Hachi waited day after day for 11 years for him to return.
We’ve all seen the military/police force photos of dogs laying by their deceased owners’ casket or grave.
We’ve personally witnessed our own dogs loyalty everyday when they greet us so excitedly. Every. Single. Time. Even when we are gone for only a few minutes, they act like it’s been an eternity!
No one can forget the service dog during the 911 tragedy who came back for his blind owner and guided him down to safety.
Not to mention the countless stories of lost dogs traveling miles to get back to their homes.
And the list goes on.
There is no question when it comes to loyalty, the dog has us all beat!
How is loyalty cultivated?
In observing dogs, I believe it begins with gratitude and trust, then support. Those of us involved in rescue have countless stories of pups showing signs of gratitude as they heal from medical issues, physical injuries, and emotional trauma. Even the simple act of getting them out of the shelter. We’ve seen it in their eyes. They way they stick by us, the happiness on our returns. Along the way, they learn to trust us and that bond is forever as far as they are concerned.
Why is loyalty an important value?
It all comes down to these simple words: it feels good. Knowing that we’ve been there for another being, that we stuck by them through and through, that we gave 100% just plain feels good.
When is loyalty not okay?
When it’s not or no longer is a 2-way street. In my observations of the canine species, it seems that dogs can be over loyal. We’ve seen how they love their emotionally or physically abusive owner no matter what. That is not a healthy relationship, and it’s okay to distance or even walk away.
Loyalty to my dogs
Being loyal to my pooches has not always an easy journey paved with butterflies and roses. My Shepherd Coyote comes to mind. He was over protective with both humans and dogs. We worked hard, hard, hard so we could finally walk around parks and events without a Cujo scene.
What did I get back from my loyalty to my boy? I became a better dog trainer. I got to hike in out-of-the-way places I wouldn't have gone on my own because I felt safe with him. I have a greater set of dog training skills and amazing memories thanks to my boy.
If you want loyalty, be loyal to the right folks. Break down those barriers by first showing gratitude to generous folks, build on the trust, and continue to loyalty.
Dogs are so simple and so fun to learn from. If loyalty is difficult for you, start with your dog! They rarely disappoint. Yes, sometimes you need to put in a little work into your new dog who might have some fears or bad dog habits, but the work will pay off with the trust, bond, and loyalty you will enjoy for a lifetime!
Sylvie Parbus is a professional dog trainer and dog behaviorist who thinks too much. She is indeed surrounded by her loyal pack, husband, family, and a ton of friends and networkers.