Being a Top Dog - Page 4 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #31 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 04:02 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.
Lol,yes!And I wish scents were in color so we could understand that aspect of their world better
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post #32 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 05:59 PM
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Two points first, alphas are the quiet ones that exude confidence, and domestic dogs are really screwed by altering and unnaturally large litters.

Most canines live in packs that are actually family groups and wild canines have litters of between 3 and 6(not 6-12). Canines are born biologically programmed to some extent to fill positions. OK men close your eyes because you won't like this. Alpha females are born, alpha males are created by …. who the female chooses to be her mate! It is the female that rules and you can view the alpha male as her hired muscle. Actual fights are rare in packs and seldom involve the alpha pair except in the case of an interloper, which the male will run off. Why? Because the entire pack serves a function and fighting amongst themselves damages the machine. It is very seldom that the alpha female is put at risk in hunting patterns or defense of territory because she is the only one to reproduce. The theory is that this is to prevent inbreeding, since packs are family units. Lesser pack members are usually an assortment of pups from multiple litters, and alphas are seldom overthrown, they step down. The pups that leave the pack are determined by what positions need to be filled within the pack at that time. The only way a beta steps up is if there is no alpha. In rare cases were the population is threatened she will also produce a litter, but her general role is that of protector and care giver to the alphas pups. These are the girls most prone to territorial aggression and resource guarding, especially of their people.
The switching that people are seeing is likely a holdover of the genetically remembered hunting patterns that we know wolves(and other canids) have.

My theory is that we see so many sibling disputes because we are doubling up on biological positions with artificially large litters. Altering of dogs seriously upsets the balance and behavior and I suspect we will find that it is because hormones play a part in determining those positions and when we remove them we essentially not only removing the dogs identity but other dogs ability to tell who they are.
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post #33 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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This just popped into my head: Arguably there are 2 main ways of asserting dominance, that is by being respected and being feared. Last night I came across a research in which a wolf pack came to change alphas/leaders. Long story short, Alpha 1 is a female who asserts dominance by inducing fear. For a while she held the alpha position. But then, one of the pups grew and started to dethrone the alpha by being calm and rational, 2 very different alpha style. The pack broke into 2, with the majority came with the pup who has become respected as opposed to the female who was feared.

But that is only a research based on the observation of 1 wolf pack.

And to answer some of your questions, don't X never acts on little dogs. Dogs that are smaller than him, yes. But not small dogs, not that I've seen him approach a small dog in the 7 months I've known this dog.
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post #34 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 07:49 PM
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This just popped into my head: Arguably there are 2 main ways of asserting dominance, that is by being respected and being feared. Last night I came across a research in which a wolf pack came to change alphas/leaders. Long story short, Alpha 1 is a female who asserts dominance by inducing fear. For a while she held the alpha position. But then, one of the pups grew and started to dethrone the alpha by being calm and rational, 2 very different alpha style. The pack broke into 2, with the majority came with the pup who has become respected as opposed to the female who was feared.
This would be bogus research artificially set up. You cannot create a pack, they create themselves and a pack would starve to death if the leader ruled by fear because their hunting style demands flawless cooperation and team work.
While packs do occasionally split it happens only when the numbers have gotten to large to be supported.
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post #35 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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@SabisMom be that as it may (legit research or no), what do you think about asserting dominance via respect vs fear?
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post #36 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 08:22 PM
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@SabisMom be that as it may (legit research or no), what do you think about asserting dominance via respect vs fear?
I think that history has shown us that respect wins every time. Occupations are always doomed to failure and an oppressed force will inevitably rise up against its oppressors.
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post #37 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 11:09 PM
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I think that history has shown us that respect wins every time. Occupations are always doomed to failure and an oppressed force will inevitably rise up against its oppressors.
Every freaking time, whether it humans, dogs, pigs, or horses...rulers that are rulers due to fear, are always, and usually violently deposed! The only exception to this that I've seen is maybe chickens, because the biggest baddest rooster always reigns supreme...

Benevolent and respected leaders, as has been mentioned, usually voluntarily step down at some point.

As far as dog x goes, just a bully IMHO. Not necessarily insecure, just a "habit" that his owner has allowed him to practice...And not a good thing!

I totally agree that true alpha dogs are such because they are both calm and benevolent. Any dog that is trying to proactively intimidate other dogs, is not yet at least, anywhere near alpha status. And if they continue to intimidate other dogs, they'll never make it LOL! Just my 2¢...

The funny thing is size has very little to do with it...it's all about demeanor! I have a 5-6 lb Chihuahua. He dominates many bigger dogs, and isn't afraid of anything...well, he's a Chihuahua, so simultaneously, he's afraid of many many things LOL, but big dogs aren't on the list....
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #38 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for the studies! I really geeked out on them, because I have observed these behaviors in real life!
Although I do not allow meets often, we do wind up meeting other dogs maybe 1 -3 times a week, so over time that has added up to a lot of brief meet & greets to observe.

I have observed:
- the muzzle/face lick (which I had interpreted as a friendly doggy kiss!)
- other dog lowers their body slightly (slight crouch) and his body comes around in an arc, Rumo keeps his more straight.
- Rumo has the first sniff, other dog submits to his sniff, and then mutual sniffing ensues
- when sniffing face to face, other dog first averts their head and eyes
All of this is quick, peaceful and quiet and they are done in a minute or two.

When the other dog remains face to face, not averting head, not averting eyes, body not lowered, body not curved -
that's when the growling starts up and we get alarmed and pull our dogs away from each other!
( This is rare, and has only happened with other large males.)

So I think that Dog X sounds like he wants to be a Top Dog, but isn't quite there yet.
He has to be very heavy-handed, because the others don't implicitly acknowledge his rank right away.

It's quite interesting - the social lives of dogs :-)


@Sabis mom and @Tim -
I like that view of the world (rising up against oppression)!
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post #39 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 11:08 AM
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@Beau's Mom
Thanks for the studies! I really geeked out on them, because I have observed these behaviors in real life!
I know, it’s all fascinating, isn’t it? I started looking for this kind of work after reading Dogs by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger. Every few years I google and check Amazon to see what’s new.
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