Some of the most common questions concerning the subject of dog behavior and psychology are, “Is my dog intelligent?”; “How intelligent is it?”; “Do dogs have a conscience?”; “Does my dog love me?”; “Do dogs have feelings and emotions?” The fact is that there have been no scientific studies that fully answer these questions, however there are a number of hypotheses based on observation that offer some possible answers. Here we are limited to offering opinions and conclusions based on our personal experiences and those of other dog lovers.
Man’s best friend: The saying “man’s best friend” though often used, should not be taken lightly. Dogs have proven time and again through out man’s history that they are indeed faithful loyal and protective, to a fault, of their human masters. They even seem to be able to understand how we are feeling and respond, even going as far as sacrificing their own lives for us.
But why do they have such loyal feelings towards us? Why do they demonstrate such unconditional love? How should we respond and how can we best show our appreciation to them in a way that our dogs will understand.
One possible answer to these complex questions is found by simply looking at the way dogs act in their natural wild state.
Since domestic dogs spend almost all of their time with their human masters they lose much of the instinctive connection that dogs have between themselves in the wild and this connection becomes focused on the relationship between them and their masters.
The humans in the homes where the dogs live become in effect their “pack”. And the dog then feels the same degree of commitment towards its human family as a wild dog feels towards its pack.
It is important to underline here the fact that dogs not only need to feel like part of a pack but that there also must be a “leader of the pack”.
From the dogs point of view and understanding there must be someone that is in charge and that is responsible for giving the dog what it needs and wants. This person must be consistent, they must be strict while at the same time being impartial and fair. The more consistent we are with our dogs the better they learn to respect and love us.