RE-establishing pack order when a dog joins the family - how they do it and other ?'s - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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RE-establishing pack order when a dog joins the family - how they do it and other ?'s

Just how DO dogs establish pack order? Obviously pups start out at the bottom, but how often do they grow older and take over a higher spot?

Has this happened in your household?

What kinds of things happened to make you think the dogs were vying for top dog spot? (squabbles or other?) Did you let them "work it out?" Are there common instances that they never do (work it out) and the pack order is never really established and you just deal with the instability?

Do you, as the owner, nurture one dog or another to have that spot? (Feed them first, potty first, etc)

Older dog doesn't necessarily mean top dog, does it ??

I'm wondering about all these things. My oldest dog is my sweetheart. I almost always feed her first, potty her first, etc. Yet, she's the weakest link in that she'll just go along with whatever. She's the kind of dog that doesn't care a smidge about pack order or anything other than getting her tummy rubbed. Yet, my middle and youngest are willful. If I inadvertently leave a high value toy down, they will compete for it. The middle dog will get snarly and grumpy and the pup will back off, but will be right back at it. I'm not saying that's competition for top spot, but in some weird way, I do think the middle dog feels her position is "threatened" by the youngest.

Anyway, just looking for feedback on some of the questions above. Thanks.!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 10:49 PM
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I've never found any rigid "pack order" structure in my household.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 10:57 PM
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Here, the oldest one is usually the top dog.
Libby's ultimate top bitch always.
Of the Dachshunds though, Tristan probably is, he's just natured that way. The others don't care that much.
Veronica (Boston) wishes she could have a higher spot I think but her style of playing differs from the doxies.
The puppy - Ruger - is always the bottom which is fine w/me. He doesn't pull anything he would get away with.

I guess you could say we enforce the 'pack order'. Newcomers (foster dogs), even if a similar age to the others, do not get higher status than our dogs. If we allowed that there'd be **** to pay.

If you want your old gal to continue to have protected (alpha type) status you should protect it for her, from the pup and middle dog.

Sometimes the top dog does not seemingly do a lot to enforce his or her status, but it's happening and the other dogs just sense it.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:04 PM
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I asked this in Gen Behavior a long time ago, no hits.

I lucked out and my GSD kept his top slot with the Mal. It works great as Banjo is easy going and does not get overly jealous, he tolerates a lot.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:04 PM
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I think it just depends on the dogs attitude.
I have one that has always tried to be dominant and she(Onyx) as a 5 month old puppy acted like the top dog when 21 month old Kacie moved in.
I had a senior(Clover 12yrs) at the time, and the pup still tried to be the dominant dog. She constantly wanted to herd the others. I had to correct her often(still do) for it.

The senior passed at almost 15, another pup, Karlo was introduced 6 months later and Onyx was still the "leader".
Karlo(almost 3) and Onyx, now 5yrs are basically on the same level.
Kacie is still the one that submits(thankfully). If Kacie had decided to challenge Onyx, there would be bloodshed and one less female or crate/rotate in their world.
None of my dogs compete for toys, I may hear a whine from one when one is chewing an antler or something, but never growls. They are out together unsupervised with their toys/chews no problems.
If I were to add another dog to the pack, I'd step up NILIF for all and put away the toys/chews until the dogs settled the dynamics more.

I think when we, the dogs people are present, the resource guarding, jealousy of attention is heightened, so more problems arise when we are around.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:04 PM
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Pack order is usually established with dominance and submission displays more than fights. A lot of it gets worked out in playing; they get an idea of who is stronger, who has more will, who is dominant during play.

Rocky has been the dominant one, first with Cash and then later with Kopper. I don't think you can make one dog higher in the pack order than another. They know when the humans are propping up a dog that can't stand on its own. I think that no good can come of artificially elevating one dog over another that he/she is not naturally dominant over. However that does not mean the dominant dog gets to do whatever he/she wants to the more submissive dogs.

Rocky has always been a very fair pack leader. He mediates disputes between lower-ranking members, he enforces the rules, he doesn't pick on subordinates. If there ever comes a day that Kopper becomes dominant over him I can't force Kopper to be submissive, but ultimately I am the alpha and it's my job to protect the weaker from the stronger.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msvette2u View Post
If you want your old gal to continue to have protected (alpha type) status you should protect it for her, from the pup and middle dog.

Sometimes the top dog does not seemingly do a lot to enforce his or her status, but it's happening and the other dogs just sense it.
I'm sure they do sense it, but that's more about me and how I treat her, as she does nothing to enforce anything. She just goes with the flow. She doesn't care what the other dogs are playing with. She just checks them out and the look on her face is something like, "You two are idiots, look how smart I am, I'm in mom's lap or in my comfy bed." But maybe she's giving off doggy vibes I don't feel/understand.

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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
None of my dogs compete for toys, I may hear a whine from one when one is chewing an antler or something, but never growls. They are out together unsupervised with their toys/chews no problems.
If I were to add another dog to the pack, I'd step up NILIF for all and put away the toys/chews until the dogs settled the dynamics more.

I think when we, the dogs people are present, the resource guarding, jealousy of attention is heightened, so more problems arise when we are around.
It is always the middle dog, the Shiba, who "steals" the toy (usually in the middle of a game of indoor fetch with Bailey), and Bailey whines about it. I can't blame him in one way - we're in the middle of the game and the Shiba grabs the toy and runs off with it. I've backed off playing the game when the Shiba is in the room. I put her in another room for these play sessions. But I know that is not really dealing with the issue.

They've never fought, nor even had a "squabble," YET, because Bailey backs down to her. I know that day will come that he finally tests her seriously. That's why I need to learn more.

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Originally Posted by Emoore View Post
Pack order is usually established with dominance and submission displays more than fights. A lot of it gets worked out in playing; they get an idea of who is stronger, who has more will, who is dominant during play.

Rocky has been the dominant one, first with Cash and then later with Kopper. I don't think you can make one dog higher in the pack order than another. They know when the humans are propping up a dog that can't stand on its own. I think that no good can come of artificially elevating one dog over another that he/she is not naturally dominant over. However that does not mean the dominant dog gets to do whatever he/she wants to the more submissive dogs.

Rocky has always been a very fair pack leader. He mediates disputes between lower-ranking members, he enforces the rules, he doesn't pick on subordinates. If there ever comes a day that Kopper becomes dominant over him I can't force Kopper to be submissive, but ultimately I am the alpha and it's my job to protect the weaker from the stronger.
Very interesting. Lots to think about there. So far Bailey submits to the Shiba. My worry is the day he won't anymore.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:54 PM
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I think for the most part, males most often submit to females! I may be wrong on that, but I see the females always are the queen of the kingdom.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:51 AM
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Also wanted to add, I used to often have "new" dogs in because I would often have foster dogs coming in, in addition to my own two dogs. I did always feed my Golden first and give her treats first and so on, mostly because she was the one I owned first (although my second dog was older than her) and also partially because she was my "favorite" so to speak.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:56 AM
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In our dog world, Daisy is "top dog," even though she is the youngest. Its pretty much been that way since we got her when she was about 5 1/2 weeks old (to a lesser extent when she was younger.) She will nip at Ditto if Ditto is being insecure, she HAS to be ahead of the other two while walking, she is in charge of them (in her mind and in their minds.)
However, as the humans in the household, we try to treat them pretty equally. Dakota gets special treatment because he is old and has a harder time getting around. He usually gets a spot on the couch, even if that means Ditto or Daisy have to get down. Sometimes they will get down for him, but other times we tell them to get down. Daisy gets some special treatment, because she is extremely thin. We give her more scraps than the other two, but only if they aren't in the room. Ditto gets special treatment in the sense that she goes places with us more often because she behaves the best and enjoys it the most. We try to be fair about how we treat them but sometimes it may seem like we favor one more than another for certain aspects.

I usually let the dogs work out any problems, not that they really have any. The only problem we have ever really had is that Daisy wants to play rough and Ditto wants to chase her ball. This results in Daisy jumping at/biting Ditto until she drops the ball and Daisy steals it and then Ditto chases her.

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