Man’s best friend or not, the fierce loyalty of dogs is legendary. When they perceive danger, they are known to protect and defend their owners by even sacrificing themselves. Because dogs are loyal to their owners, they are the most preferred pets all over the world. When it comes to the number of breeds, dogs have no rivals.
While it is the dogs’ loyalty that endears them to humans, it does not stem from their affection for us. It’s a trait that’s handed down from their original life in the wild. Animals like wolves that hunt in packs need to stay together under the leadership of the pack leader. This leader, called the Alpha Male, is at the apex of the hierarchy within the pack. Since the ancestry of dogs is traced to wolves, when men assume the position of the Alpha Male, dogs behave as the members of the pack and offer unquestioning obedience and cooperation.
Since they have a strong sense of hierarchy, you have to establish your superiority early on during the training. Otherwise they might begin to consider themselves as the Alpha Males and treat you as a subordinate. Reluctance to obey your orders is a sign of this. Obedience comes from consistently firm guidance. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, but they still haven’t lost their predatory instinct. So it is up to the owners to establish the hierarchy.
Apparently, dogs are not as smart as you may think. They have smaller brains than wolves. Unlike many other animals with greater intelligence, dogs cannot plan ahead or and execute actions accordingly, but sometimes they seem to comprehend our wishes and anticipate events. They achieve this through constant attention to their owners and their repetitive actions. Hence they can be successfully trained to obey orders by repeated instructions.
Wolves may be the ancestors of dogs, but in spite of the several similarities they share, dogs have evolved differently due to their long association with humans. Those that spent most of their times closer to human settlements did not need to continue hunting as they lived on food waste. Their fangs became shorter, their paws became half the original size, and their ears became floppy, from disuse spanning generations. Wolves use different tail positions for communication, but, unlike dogs, they do not have tails curling upwards.
Field vision is excellent in long-nosed breeds. It may not be very detailed but has wider perspective. Pugs and other such short-nosed dogs can perceive details better, but their perspective may be narrow.
Dogs have highly evolved sense of smell. They can detect and identify even faint scents. The smell-detecting cells in a dog’s nose are estimated to be about 220 million, in place of the 5 million we have.
All dogs have sharp ears; even those with floppy lobes have four times the hearing power of humans. Those with regular earlobes have even better hearing. By moving the ear lobes using the 18 muscles provided for that purpose, they can accurately pinpoint the sound source too.