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natural dog packs

marko
June 9th, 2011, 09:29 AM
I found Erykah's quote from another thread super interesting.

...As I have said probably a thousand times over the most well "balanced" and behaved dogs I have ever come across were dogs on the various reservations I worked on.
While yes these dogs were roaming free through the streets in "packs" they posed no threat to people walking playing running ect. On my lunch breaks I would park near a dog pack and watch them interact. It was amazing, there were various breeds with in the pack be them "pitbulls" shepherds, huskies, poodle and the various mixes due to not one dog being altered.
I don't know if the dogs had homes or not, I think the neighbourhood just put out food regardless if they owned dogs or not on 2 of the reserves I worked on.
All of the dogs looked to be in perfect health, not one was fat, not one was limping, not one made me think I should throw one in my truck and get it help.
These dogs all lived "naturally"

I am not saying that all dogs should be roaming around like this, in fact I don't think any should....

I wonder how Natural this is Erykah as it conflicts with an experience in my travels. A long time ago I went to Bali, Indonesia. There, there were packs of feral 'natural' dogs everywhere and they were not healthy at all, they fought w/each other constantly and almost all of them looked mangy and horrible. These dogs had no owners.

I don't know enough about Erykah's experience to compare but these experiences are vastly different. The one Erykah viewed was harmonious, mine looked like pure natural selection at work.

I'm curious as to what may account for the differences? Got opinions?

Melinda
June 9th, 2011, 09:43 AM
my brother lived on a reserve up north and the dogs roamed free, he often commented on how there were rarely fights between them and when there were it was usually for "leader" of the pack and ended quickly, he adopted two of these dogs when he realized that they rounded them up once every two years and took them out onto the ice to shoot them. The two he adopted lived with him for 12 (max) and 14 yrs (molly) and he had no idea how old they were when he rescued them but they were full grown, so...that said, are they also healthier when they only get their shots/spaying etc once they've reached adulthood? another thing to wonder about.

marko
June 9th, 2011, 09:47 AM
Interesting! I wonder if these dogs had 'pseudo owners', where did they sleep? who fed them? Were their coats in good shape?

Melinda
June 9th, 2011, 09:52 AM
according to my bro, their coats were a mess come shedding time, they ate left overs from hunts, the hunters would leave stuff behind for them, they also would take down small game and of course they scavenged, a lot of them slept behind homes, barns and around the smoke houses

Love4himies
June 9th, 2011, 09:59 AM
So is it the food (human grade, not processed) since birth that made them healthy, along with as much exercise as they needed?? No different than humans, eating healthy (unprocessed foods) and getting lots of exercise.

Marko, were the dogs starving in the packs that you saw? That would definitely cause more tension between the dogs, where as with the pack that erykah saw, they may have had more food at their disposal.

If you think of wolf or coyote packs, any defiant member is quickly put in it's place or ends up taking leadership, so there would not be a lot of infighting. They need to work together in order for them to survive as a pack.

marko
June 9th, 2011, 06:53 PM
Marko, were the dogs starving in the packs that you saw? That would definitely cause more tension between the dogs, where as with the pack that erykah saw, they may have had more food at their disposal.

I'm really just trying to make sense of what i saw, they all looked skinny, mangy and in bad shape. I saw scores or dogs like this. I can't really attest to if the dogs were starving. I do know that bali is lush lush with vegetation. Not sure how they get the meat they need, but i don't think they were lacking in vegetation.

hazelrunpack
June 9th, 2011, 07:06 PM
Chances are, if the dogs were skinny with poor coat condition, they were at least close to starving. Feral dogs don't tend to be as organized as wolves--they evidently don't hunt cooperatively so it's every dog for itself. If there are lots of dogs and little food available, there is going to be more competition and poorer relations between individuals. It sounds like the reservation dogs that erykah saw were being fed by people, even if the dogs didn't really have 'homes'? My guess is that without the severe competition for food, they'd be more tolerant of each other and there'd be less of that 'survival of the fittest' intensity about their interactions.

erykah1310
June 9th, 2011, 07:27 PM
On 2 of the reserves every house had food outside in bowls, the dogs were looked after by the community.
However, I do not doubt that mass culls would occur as these dogs just bred amonst each other over and over again. Their coats were not "pretty" all the mixes were husky like coated and the few pure breds or close to it were short coated.
The bullies I saw were muscular and their coats were decent, the rotties as well.

One day when I stopped just out side of town to watch the pack interact with each other, one female had found the head of a deer, she would look towards it almost knowing if she went for it the pack would come in and take it and clearly the most dominant would get it.
IT was funny to watch, she wanted it bad but kept looking at the rest of the dogs who were playing. She grabbed a stick and took off running with it like the wind. The excitement of her finding something that warranted her to run like she did sent the whole group chasing after her. Once they caught up to her she relinquished the stick with out objection and snuck back ot where they all were prior grabbed her deer head and snuck off into the bushes with it.

I will say though that one reserve I was one up near Hearst was the saddest thing I had ever seen.
All the dogs were losing hair, skin and bone and crossing through some yards I couldn't even look to see if some were still breathing.
Another I had frequented near Chapleau I would buy a couple bags of Pedigree and put them in the box of my truck every time I went, We always had dog treats in our trucks and when we would start giving them to the dogs to "get permission" to their yard they would follow the truck around the village the whole day. Instead of teasing them with a milk bone I would scoop out a small container of food and pour it on the ground. As much as I would have loved to dump the bag at some places it would have just made the dog sick. I would leave that property and knowing the dogs would follow I would set up a small feed station near their homes as well to let the neighbouring dog eat in peace.

These dogs on this reserve I have no doubt would have fought amoung each other as they did not wander around harmoniously at all. Most of them stayed near their food sources.

The packs I had enjoyed watching were on Manitoulin Island, not one yard I went into did I have a problem with a dog of any breed or type letting me on their turf, they for the most part would just avoid humans, standing off a few feet from you and if you turned to look right at them they would bolt like a wild animal and be gone.

erykah1310
June 9th, 2011, 07:33 PM
marko I don't know about where you had seen the dog pack that was so different from what I had seen, but the amount of meat "scraps" (internal organs and bones) from year round hunting and the dropped fish from netting that you can find with out looking too hard on many reserves ( not all) keep these dogs I saw pretty well nourished.

marko
June 10th, 2011, 10:06 AM
marko I don't know about where you had seen the dog pack that was so different from what I had seen, but the amount of meat "scraps" (internal organs and bones) from year round hunting and the dropped fish from netting that you can find with out looking too hard on many reserves ( not all) keep these dogs I saw pretty well nourished.

I think that's where the difference lies, food resources.
I guess for me then, maybe the "packs" that i saw were 'more natural' because there was less human intervention.

One day when I stopped just out side of town to watch the pack interact with each other, one female had found the head of a deer, she would look towards it almost knowing if she went for it the pack would come in and take it and clearly the most dominant would get it.
IT was funny to watch, she wanted it bad but kept looking at the rest of the dogs who were playing. She grabbed a stick and took off running with it like the wind. The excitement of her finding something that warranted her to run like she did sent the whole group chasing after her. Once they caught up to her she relinquished the stick with out objection and snuck back ot where they all were prior grabbed her deer head and snuck off into the bushes with it.

AWESOME story...reminds me of my social psychology professor from years back who told us categorically that dogs don't think. :rolleyes: REALLY smart guy but I disagreed with him back then on this issue. Still do.

Dog Dancer
June 10th, 2011, 04:29 PM
Just coming back from Mexico where we were in a small Mayan village one day. Their dogs were all roaming around the village (along with all the chickens and goats and such) and looked pretty mangy. They didn't look like they were going to starve to death, but I sure wanted to take them all home and have them fixed and fed. There didn't seem to be any fighting here either, and I was surprised that it didn't appear they were going after the chickens at all. I do think that food supply for a "pack" of dogs plays a huge role in how they get along.

Marko, I agree with you. Dogs do think. I've seen my girls do similar things as the dog with the deer head with their toys. Shadow has deliberately waited for Halo to leave the room and then hidden a toy in the back of the sofa (where they are not permitted to go) so that she couldn't get it again when she came back. I would expect that behaviour from a child of four or five and to see it in the dogs just solidified the notion that of course they think much more than we tend to give them credit for.

Melinda
June 10th, 2011, 04:42 PM
when a child would come to our house and we had our chi, she would run around gathering all her toys, put them in a corner and lie on them.