The Loyalty of Dogs
By Cesar Millan
In the last couple of weeks, I've heard from a lot of people about a couple of the videos we've recently posted. One joyous one is of a dog greeting his owner after he's returned from Afghanistan; the other is a heartbreaking one of a black Labrador guarding her dog companion's body after it was struck by a car.
These are just a couple of examples of the incredible loyalty dogs have shown to their human and animal friends. Think of Hawkeye, the dog who lay down next to the casket of his Navy SEAL owner in grief. Or Hachiko, the Akita who greeted his owner at the train station every day when he returned home from work, and after the owner suddenly died, returned to the train station at the same time every day for nine years (There's a beautiful movie called Hachi: A Dog's Tale starring Richard Gere about this dog).
Why are dogs so loyal? Some people would say it's just because they depend on us for food and shelter, so they have to be nice to us. But when you see how dogs react when their humans and canine friends come back after they've been gone for a long time or when they don't come back at all, you know it's about more than food.
Dogs are pack animals. They want to belong to a pack, whether it's made up of dogs or humans, or pretty much any animal. You can look at these Unlikely Animal Friends videos to see all the different kinds of friends that dogs will make. Dogs aren't loners. When they lose a member of a pack, even temporarily, they feel that a part of them is missing.
Dogs are also naturally affectionate. Their instinct is to want to bond. Dogs that fight or attack have been conditioned by humans to be that way. Dogs want to love and be loved, which I think deep down is what all of us want. They want to be part of a pack, contribute to their pack, and protect their fellow pack members.
My dogs have been my most loyal friends and constant companions. I've always known that Daddy or Junior or one of my other pack members was always there for me. They didn't care about whether I was famous; they just loved me for me. And I love them. If you saw my recent video against bullying, you heard me talk about my very humble beginnings. When I was a kid, I was poor, I didn't have a lot of friends, but I could always count on my dogs. But can our dogs count on us?
The friendship between man and dog has gone back thousands of years. Dogs didn't become "man's best friend" for no reason. They give us unconditional love every day. My question is, do we deserve it? I see too many stories of dogs being mistreated, dogs being made to fight, dogs being overbred for profit, dogs being killed because they don't have homes.
Dogs have been loyal to us. It's time we return the favor.
Stay calm and assertive,