Every country has dogs. Not every country has cobras. India has both, and in a village in eastern India, off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, a pet dog probably saved the lives of at least some, and maybe all, of a family of eight.
It was late, and the family of Raita Dibakar had settled in for a good night’s sleep. Their dog, a Doberman Pinscher, was outside. So were the cobras.
The cobras decided they wanted into the house. The dog took issue with that. It didn’t bark or snarl, it just attacked, silently and fiercely.
When the Dibakar family awoke the next morning, they counted four dead cobras outside the house. Sadly, their dog was also dead from the bites of the cobras, which have some of the most deadly venom in the world.
The dog is now a village hero. It also offers a good example of how fiercely a dog can bond with its family. Dogs have long history of fighting for and defending their human owners. They bond. They join with their families.
A Dog is Not a Duck
That bonding is not automatic, however. Dogs aren’t ducklings. They don’t imprint. Dog-human bonding is a process that goes both ways, and it is up to the person to make it happen, and keep it happening. Bonding is a continual process, not a one-time event.
Bonding is also not an affair of equals. Dogs know instinctively that the human should be the boss. They expect that, although some breeds can display a bit of doggie ambivalence about it. Even the most stubborn, independent breeds respect human authority. They will not respect the person who fails to exert that authority.
Bonding is Not a One-Time Thing
Dogs also need to be reminded frequently just who the boss is. Bonding is not a one-time affair; it is a process of renewal.
That process begins with basic training, teaching your dog to sit, to stay, and heel, and lie down on command. Teaching it not to steal food, not to fight with other critters. Teaching it to ask politely, not to bark when you want it to be silent. Those are things your dog needs to learn, but they are also things your dog wants to learn. All dogs want to please their people, some more than others, but all of them to some extent.
Beyond that basic training, most dog also like to learn other tricks and skills, and the more that happens, the deeper the bond between dog and owner grows.
And although some breeds tend to bond primarily with one person in the family, they will still attach their loyalty and affection to other family members.
Just remember that it all begins with the human partner. Your dog wants to bond, but it is up to you to allow that to happen.