Dogs are among the most popular pets all over the globe, and many households boast of having one of these friendly domestic animals.
They have distinct characteristics that endear them to their owners. These include their bravery, which makes them a security asset as well as their friendliness and docile nature, which makes them suitable home companions.
Another outstanding character of dogs is their loyalty. It is one crucial attribute that gains them the tag of man’s best friend. A show of their dedication is evident in the ages-old myth, of Argos Odysseus from Odyssey by Homer. According to Wikipedia, Argos demonstrates a show of loyalty by acknowledging the presence of his master when he comes back home in disguise after participating in the war in Troy.
It is an excellent narrative, which, as a dog-owner to-be, will interest you as it brings to light one of the dogs’ defining characteristics.
The Background of Argos the dog from Odyssey by Homer and Relevance to Loyalty
Odysseus is the main character of the story, a hero in ancient Greek, who took part in the Trojan War where he emerged triumphantly. He starts making his way home, which takes him ten years. On the way back to Ithaca, where he is also the king, he becomes knowledgeable that he is presumed dead. As such, many suitors have their eyes set on his wife, according to Ancient Literature.
He decides to come back home in disguise, with help from Athena, to witness the state of his household. Dressed as a beggar, he makes his way to Ithaca. Here is where the story gets interesting for dog lovers. In his disguise, no one noticed him until he set his eyes on his beloved dog Argos.
Before he left for the war, Argos was a fast and robust dog and was a great tracker during hunting expeditions. However, the site that meets Odysseus is not what he expected. On a pile of manure, sleeps the dog that he once shared a bond.
The pup is a shadow of its former self, looking neglected and covered in fleas. Despite being in disguise, the two friends recognize each other. Argos is too weak and acknowledges his master’s presence by shaking its tail and dropping its ears.
It is a brief reunion that is emotional to Odysseus such that he sheds a tear.
The relevance of Argos’ the dog’s story and the theme of loyalty
If you’re a dog lover or have experience with handling canines, then Homer’s Odyssey makes for an excellent literature piece. The brief reunion is the icing on the cake when looking for the theme of dog loyalty.
The fact that Argos the dog did not leave its owner’s homestead, even after years of absence, shows how faithful the dog is and conveys the message that dogs can be dedicating loyal animals. If it were a human, he probably would have left ages ago.
Another interesting thing is the immediate recognition of his master, even in disguise. The fact that even Odysseus’ close friend Eumaeus could not identify him shows how strong the bond was between Odysseus and Argos.
There is a twist where the dog did not bark as it would be the norm. It is probably because the canine was sick. However, the action helped Ithaca’s hero keep his disguise.
Why Dogs are Loyal?
Dogs deserve the tag man’s best friend due to their faithfulness, as most times, they will have your back. It is not uncommon to come across news reports where canines became stressed due to the disappearance or death of their owners.
Michelson Found Animals, a pet care and info website provides a satisfying answer. The explanation is that dogs are naturally social animals, and despite their domestication, they still have the pack mentality. This mentality is evident in wild canines such as wolves, jackals, and wild dogs.
As pack animals, loyalty is paramount as it is a guarantee of safety. When it comes to the human-dog relationship, the pups provide reliability in exchange for the care they receive.
Argos, from Homer’s narrative, was once the most beloved pooch, known for his excellent tracking skills. As one of the best dogs, he probably received the best treatment, at least when its master was still around.
He repays for the kindness by sticking around, even though it became sickly and weak. Dog trainers and other relevant experts opine that dogs view humans as part of their pack; this explains their friendliness.
The Long Association Factor
Another explanation behind the earnestness of man’s best friend is the shared history during evolution. According to the Insider, the domestication of dogs took part around 10000 to 30000 years ago. Several archeological finds point to this relationship.
A significant finding pointing to the lengthy human-canine bond was the Bonn-Oberkassel dog. This was a 1914 discovery at a basalt quarry in Bonn, Germany, and consisted of human and dog skeletons. After years of zero attention, scientists dated the bones and found them to be over 14000 years.
It is evidence of the relationship, mostly around Western Europe. The lengthy bond explains why dogs are truehearted creatures to humans.
The Reward Essence
The reward factor can also fit in as an explanation behind the loyalty of our best animal friend. The logic is that we provide the dogs with care; that is, food, shelter, and also healthcare. As reciprocation, the dogs will be faithful to the owners. This explanation may carry some water, though the pack mentality idea holds much legitimacy to explain the canines’ behavior.
Benefits of Dog Loyalty
When looking at the benefits of pooches’ loyalty, we look at the overall perks that come with owning one. It is their defining attribute that acts as a foundation of other characteristics such as friendliness and care.
One essential advantage of this trait comes in the provision of security. Part of being faithful involves protection, and pups do an excellent job of maintaining sanity in your household. They get alert in case of any intruder, and they may occasionally act up to scare away the unwanted person.
The attachment that comes with earnestness makes them good pets. They are excellent pets that provide excellent company. Their docile nature to their owners makes them great friends with children, and at times they take the role of the protector or babysitter.
The element of attachment is evident in Homer’s poem, the Odyssey, where Argos, attached to his environment and master, sticks on waiting patiently for his return.
Most animals, even the tame ones, will, at times, fail to control their wild instinct and act out with aggression. Dogs also have the wild instinct, though the aggression rarely shows due to their obedience. The adaptability comes due to their friendly nature, another product of loyalty.
Fostering Dog Loyalty
The loyalty your fuzzy pet demonstrates to you works like trust, in that it takes time to build. It is easy to gain the confidence of your pet when it is young, as, at this stage, it is easy to get used to your presence.
To make your dog faithful, the following are some of the tips you can follow.
1. Take it slow and gradual to gain the loyalty of a dog
As earlier hinted, loyalty takes a long time to build. For the process to be effective, you need to be slow and gentle with your poodle. Daily tasks such as feeding and washing make it easy to gain the trust of your dog.
Take your time and do not get frustrated as you may easily go to extreme levels to make the canine faithful. It may work against you, resulting in your pet being unfriendly towards you.
2. Friendliness attracts friends
When you get a hound, it becomes part of your family, and you need to treat it with friendliness. Be kind to it and take care of it the same way you would do to your family. If it feels it fits into your home, then it will always be by your side as a trusted companion.
3. Train your dog
One sure way of fostering the sense of constancy is through training. According to Wag!, when taking your dog through lessons, ensure you establish a social structure. As they are pack animals, they buy well into the social fabric.
In such a hierarchical organization, demonstrate that you are the leader of the pack, and your pet will follow suit. The sense of security it gets from being part of your pack translates to an excellent human-dog relationship.
4. Spare some bonding time
Bonding time with your fuzzy friend makes it accustomed to your presence. Find some time to play with it, as this also improves its physique. As from Odyssey by Homer, we can see that Odysseus had ample time with Argos in their hunting activities, where his animal companion was an excellent tracker.
A decade later and the bond still exists due to the ample time the two had. Try taking it for walks, hikes, and several other outdoor activities with your family to make it feel like part of the pack.
The downsides of the loyalty of a dog
While loyalty is a virtue every dog owner covets, it may, at times, go overboard. Below are some of the downsides to too much faithfulness from your pooch.
When your dog is so much used to your presence or that of your family, it may become overprotective of you. As it is faithful to you, it may perceive other people to be a sign of danger and may go all offensive to strangers. The silver lining on the cloud of over-protectiveness is that you have the assurance of security.
Lack of independence
Should your canine be so attached to you, there are high chances that it won’t be independent. If you are not around, it will appear subdued, acting more of a recluse. According to Purina, Should you go missing for a long time, it gets stressed.
Stress in animals is not a good thing as any stimulus perceived as a threat can lead to the unleashing of their wild instinct.
Excessive dog loyalty may bring about a sense of competition due to the attachment it has towards you. Competition is not that healthy as fights may be common in your households, with you being the center of attention.
What you need to understand about your dog’s faithfulness
There are several things you need to understand about the entire subject of your pup’s constancy. It is a long-lasting trait, that if imparted well, translates to a lengthy and stable relationship.
Your dog’s breed is a huge determinant of how loyal it will be to you. There are several breeds all over the world, and each of them has different attributes. CheatSheet, a news website, lists the Akita as the most loyal dog breed. Dignified and courageous are the befitting adjectives to describe this breed, which is also very social.
Their virtuous nature makes them ideal guide dogs for those who are visually impaired or deaf. The Great Pyrenees and the Collie also take top spots when looking at earnestness.
At the opposite end of loyalty include breeds such as the Irish wolfhound, Chow Chow, and the Ibizan hound. These canine species need proper training to foster their trust.
Dogs are among the most popular pets that you will find in most households. They receive much appreciation due to their constancy, which translates to their friendly nature, the same as a protective instinct towards their human friends.
The Odyssey is a perfect literary piece that perfectly captures the essence of loyalty, which is a standard trait in man’s best friend. They are friendly creatures to have for safety and companion purposes.
They are also excellent guides, evident in many YouTube videos where they take babysitting duties, as well as being guides for the disabled. This piece delves deeper into faithfulness in dogs, with the story of Argos in Homer’s Odyssey acting as an excellent example to show this character.