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Thread: pack theory versus not

  1. #1

    Default pack theory versus not

    with the advent of ceaser and a dose of oprah, a tide of instant experts have swept the planet interpretting everything in terms of a alpha/dominance pack theory.

    i have seen way to many people traumitising and stressing their dog as they enforce their dominance as the leader of the pack. eg never taught a loose leash walk/sit/whatever - stand over the dog direct eye contact like you are going to attack it until the dog cowers in submission.....

    i am sure it gives some people a feeling of superiority and power they are otherwise lacking in other aspects of their lives.

    have not got the links but apparently the original papers on pack theory was seriously limited and flawed in their methodology and have been long since discredited by mainstream science.

    another popular theory sees dogs as solitary scavengers living on the fringes of human settlement living off scraps and only coming together temporarily to mate. it is no surprise that any of these dogs that showed human aggression were killed.

    this theory has been anecdotely confirmed in the case of aboriginal elders talking of dingoes living around their camps on fraser, the aggressive ones were speared and eaten. i guess this still occurrs now thru park management except the dogs are not speared and eaten they are re-located or culled?

    this is all just my take on it, i would like to try influence social norms when i can to educate people on any misguided and unecessary stress toward their dogs.

    others views on this issue?
    Last edited by muttboy; 07-22-2013 at 07:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    My observations of dogs and packs around the world?

    Dogs will only hang together when there is enough food for everybody or a ready supply of resources - ie around the outskirts of an outback town or tourist area. Seen the same kind of thing at Uluru (and other oz places), Bali and Cairo.

    Otherwise they will travel solo and only get together occasionally in a good season to make puppies. The only places I've seen more than one dingo together are places where lots of tourists go. Otherwise they're strictly solo.

    Pitlands name for dog that bites is "cheeky papa". One white person I know who worked out there had a bull terrier x cattle dog (I think) and all the locals called him "cheeky papa" but I thought he was a great big sook (and the worst farter ever). He gave her lots of protection from drunken locals - they would leave her alone because of him. She was quite happy to let people play up that he was a cheeky papa. He was also desexed which saved him from being stolen to make more.

    My personal observations with my dog. I don't think it has much to do with packs - she knows her friends but often mistakes similar looking dogs and people for friends and only works out her mistake when she gets to sniffing distance. Comes back all surprised looking.

    She will make all the decisions in her favour if anyone lets her. She's not that great at making decisions in her or anyone else's best interests. She will eat all available food given the opportunity and then demand more. She likes my end of the couch - but only because it's my end. I think if I didn't sit there, she would not either. She always gives it up to me.

    I think people get into trouble with their dogs in very basic ways. They think the dog knows what's best for the dog. But dogs really don't. Especially when it comes to food. And if they let the dog do all the choosing their own life gets pretty miserable. Some people allow their dog to do things they find unacceptable because the dog doesn't learn when they stop it once. The human says "I tried that", but you do have to be super consistent. However trying the wrong things - doesn't help either.

  3. #3
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    All i know is ...in my house I'm top dog!


    ...when my wife lets me.

    Seriously though if i didnt rule the roost here i would have drowned in slobber a long time ago. I reckon i need to be the Alpha but that dosnt mean i have dogs that are scared of me. Mojo does most of the basic commands and walks loose lead. Bronx on the other hand worships me.....i have no idea why he does it so full on.

    I know the type you mean though...the ones who's dogs are scared stupid of thier owners....i hate them tossers and even get up my mates if they try that sh!t when i'm around.


    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
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    DONT SIC YOUR DOGMA ON ME !

  4. #4
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    In our house none of the two dogs is any 'topper' than the other. On first sight Nero seems to have more rights. But if Roxy really wants something she'll get it. Either openly and confrontational or sneeky and behind Neros back. Whatever suits her and the situation... and it's easy for her as she is a lot smarter than Nero.

    While they both have their favourites (Nero = ball; Roxy = place in OHs arms) it seems to be a matter of 'first come first served'. It doesn't matter if Nero really, really wants the bone. If Roxy is there first it's hers and he won't take it away from her. This works both ways. And it also works with their foodbowls. They search through the others foodbowl - but only once they're finished and walked away from it.

    Nero is very cautious about strangers. He clearly makes a distinction between his family, friends of the family (i.e. people and dogs he sees sometimes and whom he knows and trusts) and everyone else. Roxy on the other hand loves everyone... I think any person who offers her a pet and a belly rub could take her away from us. It's a bit of a worry really. But even she hangs around. She is an escape artist and keeps on finding new ways to escape the property but she never runs away. She'll just hang out in the neighbours property hunting rabbits until we call her back. So I guess each in their own way they know 'their family' and tend to hang around because it's a pretty good life with us.

    Maybe if they'd hate it they'd try to find a better place somehow. I remember when I was a child my granddad used to inherit the neighbours farm dogs because he offered them a better deal: sleeping in the house, 2 meals a day plus occasional solitary trips in the forests because the fence was no challenge to speak of and of course there wasn't a chain or a kennel on my granddads property to be found. My granddad had these dogs trust and loyalty - while their real owners could only dream of it. The farmers weren't overly happy but their dogs kept on coming back and at least two dogs ended up with my granddad permanently that way.

    So.. yeah. I'll go with the scavenging opportunist theory
    Last edited by margoo; 07-22-2013 at 04:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Top dog is so dependent on who can be arsed here.
    Be it human or canine.

  6. #6
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    Yep, scavenging opportunist theory. Put me down for that.
    But i always love to read your stuff Hyacynth.

  7. #7
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    Mine have their own hierarchy that they sort. I am the boss when I need to be..no bones trying to be smuggled inside (prime culprit, Jessy) I like win win situations whenever possible and we have all adjusted into the way that we all like in the way we interact in our lives.
    I am the opposite of a micro manager but step in when needed. Mostly I am the door bitch when they tell me they want to come in or out.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  8. #8
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    Dogs have have been domesticated avery long time. They are social creatures as are humans in general and have long been selected for various traits by humans as has been talked about above - they were probably the ultimate opportunist that aligned themselves with a powerful ally and have been exploited ever since, although probably to mutual benefit in many cases.

    I have quite a few dogs and to be honest they would probably all rather be an only dog with my full attention. However they learn to live with each other and a hierarchy has developed and is dependent on the character, age, gender and size of the dog.

    They all default to me not because I force them but because I feed, exercise and train them and set the boundaries. They enjoy my company and working with me as I do theirs, so it is mutually compatible. I love them all but I dont humanise them.

    They do work as a pack if they were to hunt a kangaroo. I have seen them organise themselves as such. My big fast wide casting Border collie will turn the roos back right into the path of the more solid and feisty cattle dogs. They will do the same with any feral animal. But I would not define them as a pack. Rather as a group of familiars that cohabit and understand each other. They do have alliances and I have observed then to have preferred relationships within the grouping. However they still prefer me!

  9. #9
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    I know exactly the kind of dog owners you mean, muttboy. My ex and his wife are totally like that. My then 7yo daughter used to come home crying every weekend she had spent there when they were "training" the dog. Training apparently meaning: you must guess exactly what my cues mean or I will pin you down to the ground and terrify you. I saw the dog a couple of times at that time and I noticed how she cowered when she returned to her owner when he called her and also cowered when I - a stranger - approached her. Very sad to watch. They also punished her severely when they discovered she had ripped up her bed while they were away: so hours after the facts. They will punish her when she escapes and they find her on the driveway when they return home at the end of the day. They will punish her when she takes too long to come back when called. There is no method at all to teach the dog what "too long" means. She'll find out "the hard way". They don't believe in food rewards or any other reward than a 'good dog' and a bit of a pat. They think teaching tricks is for circus dogs and my daughter was not even allowed to teach the dog 'shake'. She's a working dog cross... This all fits in with the alpha male theory. "Do what I want or I will attack you". It's barbarian and brutal and downright stupid.

    I too believe that dogs are the ultimate opportunists (which animal isn't really?) and that taking advantage of that is the most efficient way to train and make them want to please their owners. I believe they couldn't care less who is top dog as long as they get what they want with as little effort as possible.
    Last edited by Beloz; 07-26-2013 at 12:49 PM.

  10. #10

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    i would be more inclined to listen to those types if they could actually demonstrate a better trained dog at something, fact is they can't. so what do they even gain by the techniques? some weird psychological boost to the ego?

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