As some of you may know, we have four dogs here right now. Sooty (7 year female staffy), Leo (6 year male jack russellxwhippet), Lily (1.5 year female kelpiexborder collie) and Obie (1 year male bull arab). All have been desexed, although Leo much later in life than the others.
Do you believe family dogs have a hierarchy among themselves? I do, and I've been trying to work out who is the "leader" of sorts. Today I was throwing the ball for them all, and this sometimes leads to tussles and nips and hackles up and all (but they all respond to a quick "Oi!" and they're all friends again). Sooty and Leo are very, very ball driven, Lily not so much, and Obie just runs to chase everyone else. I must have thrown the ball 30 times or more, and I noticed every time Leo got the ball, Sooty tried to get it from him and start a fight, and Lily would jump on her, knock her over and get in way. On the other hand, every time Sooty got the ball and Leo tried to get it off her, Lily would jump on him and do the same to him as she does to Sooty.
What does this sound like to people who know much more about dog behaviour than I do? haha. In my rather uneducated opinion, I think she's the leader. Keeping the peace and sorting out arguments and all that. What also leads me to this conclusion is Obie.
I know many people scoff at the theory dogs relating to wolves and having the same behaviours, but Obie reminds me clearly of a wolf pack "omega". He's the most timid, will put himself between arguments even if it means he gets hurt, accepts pats and food last. He even carries himself lower then the other dogs when there's a tiff and rolls over to expose his belly/throat readily. He also takes lead from Lily. As in today he only interfered between the two arguing dogs if Lily did so first.
Obviously my conclusion may be entirely wrong, I just thought it was interesting and worth making a thread about