Being a Top Dog - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 09:32 PM
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My dogs male and female both mark over each other's pee.When one of the neighboring dogs wanderers over for a visit they all have a "sniff and mark fest."

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Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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@GSDchoice sounds like Rumo reminds me of Dog X. But does he ever charge or get aggressive though?
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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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@dogma13 oh wow, the female does it too? That's interesting. I know some females hump and lift their legs, but I didn't know they also mark
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 08:41 AM
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My previous GSD was female, spayed after at least 1 heat, possibly 2. (Xiao Mei was stray, the vet who did the surgery reported that.) When she was ~8-9 she started marking on our walks and mounting my friend’s neutered male dogs. She’d always been cheerfully pushy with other dogs, but the marking, etc. didn’t start til she was older.
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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 10:32 AM
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@GSDchoice sounds like Rumo reminds me of Dog X. But does he ever charge or get aggressive though?
Hmm, in most cases submission is "offered" without any conflict - for instance, a few dogs have licked him on the face. I thought, "how cute! They like my dog and gave him a doggy kiss!" Then I read that this is some kind of submissive gesture?

He met another husky and they ran around together for a bit (this is in early days before we quit the dog park) and then they both came back to us. I saw that Rumo was standing with his head over the husky's back. Apparently standing with your head over somebody's back in that "T" position is a dominance gesture! But the husky looked perfectly happy, in fact I was hoping we would meet them again, because they play well together.

So most of the time, there is no conflict...

If Rumo passed Dog X, it would probably be like the 10% dogs we meet that do not submit. There would probably be growling on both sides. You would see Rumo stand stiffly with head and tail high, making himself look as tall as possible. There would be a lot of tension in his body. He might be giving a low growl. (Then you would see me speak sharply to Rumo and drag him away!!) Anyway, from then on, every time we pass dog X, there will be conflict but of course they won't be allowed to "fight it out" like they would if they were free.

I also think that since Rumo is a middle-aged older dog, he's a bit delusional...in real life, a younger dog would probably have beaten him out by now! But because he is on a leash, and the dogs don't get to act freely, he still has this idea that he is a Top Dog.

The thing I like most about him is that he is very polite to the little dogs. He is very tolerant with them, will sniff very carefully, and he never growls at little dogs. Only other big males. So in that sense, he may be different from Dog X...does Dog X assert himself even over little dogs? That does seem like insecurity then.

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 11:28 AM
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Hmm, in most cases submission is "offered" without any conflict - for instance, a few dogs have licked him on the face.
From what I’ve read of actual studies done, this is how social rank is defined by dogs - that the lower-ranking dog defines the hierarchy by offering submissive behavior to the higher ranking dog. Dogs who start off with dominance behaviors, especially with obviously weaker dogs, are not necessarily high-ranking dogs, they are just insecure about their social rank. Dogs who lots of other dogs spontaneously offer submission to are the socially high-ranking dogs.

So Rumo sounds like a high-ranking dog, Dog X does not.
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 11:45 AM
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I'm just wondering, is Top Dog a personality that a dog was born with (biological) or is it something that is shaped situationally/something that the dog is accustomed to?What are your thoughts?
For this, just like with people, I bet it's both? Starting from the time they are born, there are some puppies in litters that push the other pups away and get the best nursing position. And then, a lot of their "self-image" is also probably how they are treated by their owners and how they are socialized with other dogs (like if they are in a multi-dog household and every dog lets them have the best spot on the couch, they get reinforced in their idea of their rank).

It's not about size, either...
With that husky at the dog park, his owner said, "I have two dogs, a husky and a beagle. The beagle is alpha. I had to put my husky's bowl in another room, because he won't dare to even approach his food if she is in the room!"

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 01:08 PM
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A couple of things I have actually observed about pack behavior is before leash laws were a thing dogs would spend the the days wandering around together peacefully.No peeing on each other,no fighting,even when several dogs were lusting after a bitch in heat.Fences,leashes,dog parks have fostered some neurotic behavior I think.
I have kept a pack of three or four dogs for the last twenty years and which dog is in charge changes according to the circumstances at the time.Various situations call for certain skills and the pack will follow the "specialist".It's very fluid.
In the 60's all neighbor dogs ran loose. Same experience as yours. Yes, not even the males would fight over a female in heat, just hanging out, waiting for their turn.
Several years ago, before the GSDs, I had 4 for many years. There was one I called my teacher dog (Whippet intact male) who has always been in charge of the others as a fair leader. Indeed, he was cool and calm and never picked a fight. The only corrective interaction was with dogs who ran up to him, mainly adolescent idiots The only thing he had to do was a snarl or lifting his lips and posturing before they backed off. The other was a very laid back intact male Whippet who never would challenge any dog. And a large mellow neutered male mutt who never challenged a dog either. Then a Whippet female, who manipulated the males with her cleverness to get what she wanted. I never figured out her rank. These 4 statuses were consistent and never fluid. They peacefully lived together for many years. Sometimes it is hard to figure out how they do it and I realize that we don't know as much about them as we think we do.
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 02:44 PM
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@wolfy dog I find it endlessly fascinating!One example of fluidity is when we're out running in the woods Misty is the leader and the other ones take direction from her on what scents to follow.That's her specialty.They run by frequently and go approximately the same direction as me so I'm the 'ulimate boss.'At home she is very sweet and submissive.
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Terri

Samson Blk/Slvr GSD. RN
Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 03:51 PM
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Sometimes I wish they (dogs!) could arrange a workshop for us to understand them fully. The best I can do is to observe and learn from their lessons.
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