Thread: Domination
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:22 PM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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Originally Posted by SamIam View Post
They establish a hierarchical relationship and top dog gets first pick of food, toys, resting area, etc.
I don't know if that's true. Dog social relationships are a lot more fluid than their wolf cousins. Dogs don't form packs like wolves, a wolf pack is a family unit. They are groups of monogamous hunters. The "alpha" male and female are the breeding pair and the rest is made up of their juvenile or adult children - all of whom work to raise the next generation of pups (in fact, since the pups are offered all of the best resources and have a great deal of social freedom, I think there's a convincing argument to be made that they are dominant ). A wolf hierarchy is naturally more rigid because otherwise offspring would start breeding with parents and that makes for bad genetics. The size of a wolf pack is also directly dependent on the type of game available. Wolves in areas that only support small game do not form packs, there is too much competition.
In contrast, domestic dogs are non-monogamous scavengers. They occasionally form loose associational groups but that is not their "state of nature" unless they are beholden to a food source that requires it. They do not form groups that pool resources to raise young. Since almost all feral dog populations exist around human settlements and garbage dumps there is no need for a hunting group to form - again, too much competition for resources.
My point is coming, I swear :P
It is my experience that dogs in houses function much the same way. They do not form rigid "pack" hierarchies. One may take preference in food sources (we feed out dogs from puzzle toys), one may take first access to toys, and one may get the best sleeping spot. It's more of a free-for-all and the order is always subject to change. No one animal commands all resources all the time even if one animal is deferred to more often because they are more assertive in claiming said resources.

Originally Posted by SamIam View Post
If you side WITH the more dominant dog, you will have a happier safer family.
In our house the best behaved dog gets first access to resources - this means that everyone behaves very well .
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