People who have helped others tell us that it was something they needed to do. This could be an instinct similar to a dog’s? Science has shown that woofers can feel all human emotions over the past ten years. Do they feel a need to help? Or do they have a gut instinct from when they were wild wolves? What do you think?
Signs a Dog is Being Brave
The mother, standing on the shore wondering where her child is, cries out in anguish. The toddler was almost drowned when she fell into the ocean. The family Golden Retriever ran toward the waves to rescue the toddler, but the patrol couldn’t make their move. The dog pulls the little girl to shore and sits beside her panting.
Why do dogs jump into action when they see danger? There are many stories about canine bravery. It’s fascinating to discover what motivates a Mastiff, Husky or Dachshund in saving a life. Dog lovers will tell you that they are brave and honorable people who answer the call. However, others may not be as convinced and often find it surprising when local newspapers splash another story about canine heroism.
A woofer must be confident and able to show courage. They should have their ears open, mouth slightly opened, and their tongue hanging out to one side. They can be very expressive with their facial expressions. If you smile, they might raise their paws and their tails will wag with joy. A pup who is confident and relaxed around people is an example of self-assurance.
Love To Know shared the story of Belle, a Beagle therapy dog who called 911 in order to save her diabetic owner. Belle, a therapy dog trained in tracking and monitoring sugar levels, will periodically lick her guardian’s nostrils to check their sugar levels. If they are not on track, Belle will whine or paw at him. Belle was able to use her biting skills and call for help when her father collapsed. Although this Beagle was trained, she did not hesitate to help her owner when it was in danger.
There are many ways to show the brave spirit of a dog. Here’s Zoey, a small Chihuahua that put herself in danger between a rattlesnake, and her 12-month old family member. Zoey was bit by the snake, but she bravely protected her child.
Are these brave acts conscious efforts or instinctive actions of dogs and humans to help when needed?
Brave Dogs: History
Some would say an alpha wolf is a courageous creature, living in the wild through all kinds of weather, searching for food while protecting their young. Challenges for leadership are not uncommon as the head of the pack goes bravely into battle against a rival wolf. They are risk-takers who chase large prey, and thousands of years ago, had the guts to confront primeval man and form a co-operative bond.
As mankind ruled the universe, wolf-dogs roamed the planet, breeching dogs to provide companionship, guarding, and herding. Dogs today live in comfortable homes that provide plenty of delicious food and do not have to fight off wolves who want to take over the pack. Experts believe that dogs have lost their “WOOF” through domestication. However, there is an unconscious instinct that will be revealed when someone screams for help.
In the same way that a human defends their family, wolves fight to protect their clan members. Dogs love their humans and will protect them when they are in danger.
Bark Post presents a gallery of canine heroes that begins with Sergeant Stubby. He was an all-American mutt who fought for his country in World War I and was given medals for his bravery. Stubby was a natural gas detector and alerted soldiers of imminent attacks. He was also a skilled at finding injured soldiers. This remarkable mutt was a national hero, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his contribution to the war effort.
Rags was a Yorkshire Terrier that carried messages across the battlefields during the first world war. The fearless, little dog was found in Paris streets. He had never been trained but made an effort to help.
Skeptics will argue that these dogs were not trained to do a job. While soldiers were trained to fight in the past wars, there were many who could not cope. Dogs were placed in the middle of a human battlefield, and they were asked to face fear and gunfire. Dogs did much more than that. A person who goes beyond the call of duty is called brave and heroic. Dogs shouldn’t expect the same respect from humans and admiration?
The Science of Courageous Canines
Finding the facts about canines is a 21st-century pursuit, with scientists and psychologists putting their paws in the study mix to answer a lot of nagging questions about dogs. The bad press our woofers got back in the olden days stuck like super glue through several centuries. Scientist and philosophers of the time wanting to make their mark instructed a curious world that our mighty mutts were akin to futuristic cyborgs.
Dog owners know this, and scientists now agree with them. Scientists have discovered that the dog’s mammal mind is very similar to ours. Dogs can feel happiness and pain, and they also know a lot about their human guardians. CNN News featured a story on brave dogs who were taught to lie in MRI scanners. Scientists of centuries ago were wrong, dogs are intelligent and emotional beings.
The Guardian published a fascinating analysis on dogs feeling bravery and referred to the medals that were awarded to them for their bravery. The author suggested that animal instincts are similar to ours, in that we can act without thinking about saving a stranger. Princeton University Professor Daniel Kahneman believes that humans can use logic for problem-solving and intuition to find the right solution. This is a type of “Auto-Pilot” thinking style that allows us to be brave and do great things.
This comes with the risk of making mistakes. Many dogs and humans have lost their lives in trying to save others. This theory places us in the doghouse and explains why dogs will risk their lives to save another human’s.
You can train your dog to be courageous
Training a puppy to walk in the shoes of great canines like Honey, an English Cocker Spaniel who brought help to her owner after his SUV rolled into a ravine, might sound an impossible task.
You can train them to be confident, but you may not get the X-Factor which denotes a courageous act of courage from the most unlikely candidates. Peanut was abused and neglected before she was adopted by a loving family. This rescue dog was screaming at her guardians one morning. They couldn’t understand why she was acting so mad. Peanut kept asking for the outside and was persistent. Peanut ran across the field with her pet dad, then her new pet parents let her go. A 3-year-old girl was found naked and shivering by her pet parents. All she could think of was “Doggy”. (Story by people).
Dogs can be trained to find gas leaks and sniff out bombs. Sled dogs can be seen running through the snow to deliver medical supplies to remote areas. Combat canines are used as sendry dogs by the military. Woofers are now highly trained to be ready for any terrors that may await them in war-torn countries.
German Shepherds are a popular breed of dog that is capable of enduring tough situations. The Belgian Malinois, a strong and easy-to-train dog, is proving to be an excellent choice for military work. As brave soldiers fought alongside them, Mercenary Mastiffs wore heavy-duty armor and spiked collars. They are now Mastiff cops and keep citizens safe.
Dogs are tirelessly working for humanity every day. Family pets often surprise their owners with extraordinary acts of bravery, such as brave woofers.