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Thread: Pack animal?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Cairns, FNQ
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    29

    Default Pack animal?

    I was talking to a trainer I have known for some time now, just general chat about training, dogs ect
    when out of the blue he said dogs are not pack animals.
    I would like some opinions from members on this, so, pack animal or not?
    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southern NSW
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    3,784

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    He is right............Dogs when in the wild actually travel alone..they might chase in a pack, not hunt...just chase. They do enjoy other dog company, but it is not structured

    They do not have the "family" like wolves have and unlike the wolves they will breed indiscriminately to any dog. Several dogs will breed to one bitch. That is why the alpha/dominance/pecking order is just not really relevant to dogs.

    Dogs are into what they can get as easily as possible and as quick as possible...they love being with us and if we give good Leadership (not dominating) they will happily follow.

    In wild dog studies..........As soon as a dog starts being dominant around a group of dogs, they group leaves him.

    Wolves however start with a pair.....this pair are the only pair that breeds in the family/pack. The others help raise the young ( meaning older off spring help with the youngest) When they are the right age the adolescents will find another mate and from another family.....Sometimes these families may work together.

    I have spent quite some time studying wild dogs in groups and also tip dogs in Asia........it is very interesting.

    I have read and follow a couple of people who study wild wolves, not the ones kept in enclosures and it is very different. Also our dogs are mostly descended form the European wolf, which is quite different form the American wolf.

    Anyway most of the studies that people refer to were done in the 30's with chickens of all things to choose from
    Last edited by newfsie; 05-03-2012 at 07:15 PM.
    Pets are forever

  3. #3

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    Very interesting.

    Now this is hardly from scientific sources but I did read in a few different places that in Russia some of the dogs worked together to get food. They had strange packs where they had little cute dogs that they used to beg for food, and then big tough ones that they used for defense and to scare people into throwing their food at them but however they get food they share it with their friends. I'll never forget on Cesar Milan either where there was a feral chihuahua who had a pack of 3 pitbulls. He was the leader and the pitbulls followed him and backed him up. Didn't go into much detail on it though so who knows. Perhaps they're not pack animals, but they do seem to be social.

    When I stay with my sister who has 2 papillons, Sammy quickly assumes the top spot. The male papillon might growl at him a few times initially but Sammy will just ignore him, take the tastiest food and best toys and do his thing. But they then follow him everywhere. Like if Sammy goes to patrol the perimeter which he likes to do they both follow him, sniff where he sniffs and back him up should there be any threat (by barking and cowering behind him). The funniest thing is if one of them sees something they don't like, they run looking for a person and then return to the problem when they have back up. When Sammy is there, they will take a person or him, he comes running when they bark and once they see they have him backing them up they return to the problem just like they would if they had found a person.

    But what is the definition of a pack versus say a group of friends that live together, eat together and work towards common goals?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    SA
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    Default

    I think the difference is that a pack has a rather rigid hierarchy while a group of friends is exactly that. A group with friendships, dislikes, alliances... politics

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    i think the dog trainer friend is right. Dogs can be social. Some dogs who are good friends can work together to catch something they can't catch alone. Some dogs work together to round up sheep.

    But if the resources are tight - dogs will travel alone. Dingos also. If there is not enough food around to sustain more than one dingo - you will only see one. But if there is loads of food around (cos it's a popular tourist spot) they will travel together. And they're sneaky (dogs or dingos) - one in front will distract you while the other sneaks around behind and nicks your lunch.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Rural NSW
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    I just use the word pack as a descriptive word. Sounds better than a gaggle of dogs, flock of dogs is way too fluffy.
    On second thoughts I like gaggle.

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

  7. #7

    Default

    He is correct.

    The original studies that led us to the conculsion that dogs were pack animals were done in the 1940's, lasted 2 weeks and were done on captive wolves.

    More recently Dr Frank Beach spent 30 years studying dog behaviour and social structure (Ian Dunbar took part in this study for 9 years) and basically disproved the pack and dominance theories made popular in the 70's. Here is a good read on some of his findings.
    http://www.streetdogrescue.com/aboutus/Pack_theory.pdf

    I prefer to refer to dogs a family animals, I find this is less confusing to the masses who still have "pack" theory in their heads.

  8. #8

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    When mine went for a wander after they escaped we ended up finding them at opposite ends of the suburb... Dogs that have lived together for years immediately went separate ways... Proof enough for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rural NSW
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    When mine got out they went off together and came home together...go figure.
    It may be they did this as they are a family group and the "pups" were about 1 then 2yrs old at the time on the 2 occasions this happened due to human error.

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

  10. #10

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    It is only an amusing memory, but when my (then) 9 dogs moved to a real rural area, I remember the deerhound, greyhound, cattle dog and someone else, were feeling like REAL dogs, running around the house, (I could see them stop, check something out and push each others shoulders.... "Touch it..." "No. You touch it." "If you touch it, I will..." and they were feeling very big and tough and very macho boys club... They came around the corner, full of themselves, and there was my border leicester X ewe. Meanest old beach in the district. The boys pulled up, in surprise. 2 dogs were as tall, outnumbered 4 to 1...

    I saw the boys, catching each others eyes, little smirks. Yet Edith stood her ground. She gave them the death stare. D i c k i e broke eye contact and looked embarrassed and was unable to look back. Roland the greyhound had his, "I am here but I do not speak your language, I do not comprehend normal emotion or behaviour and I really need to go to bed," face and the other 2 were looking to see what was going to happen. Edith stood erect and glowering. D i c k i e began to look like he'd just realised he'd left his wallet somewhere. Edith stamped her foot. 4 large dogs fled.

    Insanely my dog's perfectly normal name has been bleeped. If you recall the shortened form of RICHARD, and add the ie, you'll know my lovely dog's name. He was never Richard. This is PC ness to insanity level.

    H says: I fixed the dog name for you. Yes the auto swear/abuse word editor is insane. You can't talk about your friend called G a y l e n e in here either, or h o m o genised milk. The change happens automatically - it's not personal about it. And you can get around it by putting spaces in the word or swapping out the vowels for similar looking numbers.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 05-04-2012 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Someone objects to a traditional British boys name, centuries old.

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