They Love Us, They Love Us Not: How Loyal Are Our Dogs *Really*?

They Love Us, They Love Us Not: How Loyal Are Our Dogs *Really*?

Pups can be loyal and fickle, but it all depends on the environment.

By Heather Dale

One of the most endearing quality of dogs is their ability to show affection to everyone they come in contact with — wet slobbery kisses for all! But when it comes to spreading the love, it’s a given that our four legged fur kids are our BFFs and biggest fans … or are they?

Research has shown that our pups behavior is heavily influenced by their environment. In a study that took two groups of dogs — one that was petted by strangers and their owners in their own home, versus a second group that was petted by strangers and their owners in an unfamiliar place. The pups were naturally more inclined to interact with their owner in the strange place. But in a familiar environment like their home, the dogs spent more time with the stranger.

Say what?! Being the social creatures that they are, scientists sum it up to dogs feeling safe and comfortable in a familiar place, therefore throwing caution to the wind and increasing the friendliness quotient with new house guests … just call them the paww-fect hosts!

What’s interesting to note, though, is that a dog's behavior with strangers — even in familiar territory — is the friendliest when it’s just one-on-one interaction, rather than two strangers in the presence of one dog. These findings could also be extended to shelter dogs who showed positive connection with a stranger in just three to ten minutes of time together. Even though these dogs are essentially homeless, it’s reassuring to know that shelter dogs can quickly forge new, loving bonds with complete strangers pretty quick. Maybe it’s all those high pitched baby voices that are working to our advantage?! 

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