Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pack Theory

I'd like to establish how exactly the Pack Theory works in a dog pack. Why does Mom call me an Alpha bitch in our tiny dog-pack of 3.

You see, in every litter born, there will naturally be 1 pup which is the "Leader" of the pack. The rest - "Followers". In some animal packs, eg the Meerkats, there can be "Beta" as well. It is all natural in the animal kingdom. Which is why the sayin, "leaders are born, not made."

& I, happen to be the leader (Alpha) amongst my litter. This is derived from simple observations of behaviour amongst my family when I was young. Simple eg, I've NEVER EVER been in a submissive position (turn-over body askin for bellyrubs, or when meetin new dogs & establishin leadership/followers position), never a hyper-crazy-dog like Cotton & Starr. I'm always calm.(Atho I'm a lil' barky but that is juz my breeds' genes... since I've never undergone proper trainings under a certified trainer as Mom doesn't believe in us being too obedient like robot-dogs.) Submissive dogs are most trainable, & I'm definitely not as I'm Stubborn, for all those whom know me, I am naturally stubborn compared to all my siblings. Neither do I SIT (like most dogs) when I'm out on my normal walks. I'm always standin tall & alert.

I remember when I was less than a year old, I once almost fought with a husky over a silly chewbone for my family. While the rest of my family stayed behind me... watchin the entire process. Luckily, there was a gate between us, so none of us were hurt in anyways as the humans came to stop the silly commotion (I'd have persisted if no one intervened).

Lemme share this article with you, which Mom came across, read it, & thought she was readin about, Me.


A Dr. Mech performed a 30-year study on dogs at Yale and UC Berkeley. 19 years of the study was devoted to social behavior of a dog pack. (Not a wolf pack. A DOG pack.) Some of his findings:

* Male dogs have a rigid hierarchy.
(This can be easily observed if you've alpha-male dogs. We don't, so we shan't go too much into it)

* Female dogs have a hierarchy, but it's more variable.
(Obviously the opposite of a Alpha-Male.)

* When you mix the sexes, the rules get mixed up. Males try to follow their constitution, but the females have "amendments."

* Young puppies have what's called "puppy license." Basically, that license to do most anything. Bitches are more tolerant of puppy license than males are.
(Mom had a customer with less than 3months old male puppy. It humped me like nobody's business 24/7. Every1 whom knows me knows how much I CAN'T tolerate another dog humpin on me. However, I did not even move an inch while dat puppy humped me non-stop literally. Even Mom was taken aback by my magnanimity. However, when that same pup came by again, it was already nearin 5months old, he tried again as well, this time, I wouldn't tolerate another second of it & decided to start teachin him some manners. With juz a harsh growl, & pushin him down to the floor, he screamed & peed of cuz. & since then, he never once ever dared to hump me again becuz simply via our own species' language, we were able to recognize one another's "status". DO NOT misunderstand that I do that to ALL Dogs I see. It is only when they, the submissive ones OR puppies, do not understand & try crossin my boundaries, that I will instinctively let known of my status to them. & it doesn't involve any fights nor bloodsheds. Have you watched documentaries on how Mother Tiger brings up her pups as well as disicpline them? It's almost the same.)

* The puppy license is revoked at approximately four months of age. At that time, the older middle-ranked dogs literally give the puppy hell -- psychologically torturing it until it offers all of the appropriate appeasement behaviors and takes its place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The top-ranked dogs ignore the whole thing.
(Note also that I do not bully puppies the way some dogs do to pups, considerin Mom has brought home so many puppies home after me. Every1 whom knows me, know I ignore cute puppies like how I'd ignore my poo & pee.)

* There is NO physical domination. Everything is accomplished through psychological harassment. It's all ritualistic.
(I do not fight with dogs for no apparent reasons. Thoughts are conveyed through "Energy". Unless I've to, to defend myself I guess.)

* A small minority of "alpha" dogs assumed their position by bullying and force. Those that did were quickly deposed. No one likes a dictator.
(In my family of bitches, I prevent Cotton from bullyin Lauryn. It is weird that Lauryn only likes ME & no one else like Cotton or Starr. She prolly can sense that I'm the Alpha of the pack & thus, finds comfort in me. Eg. she can only slp beside ME, & no one else, Runs to me for protection when Cotton decides to have some 'fun' wit her, etc, & I will put Cotton in her place.)

* The vast majority of alpha dogs rule benevolently. They are confident in their position. They do not stoop to squabbling to prove their point. To do so would lower their status because... * Middle-ranked animals squabble. They are insecure in their positions and want to advance over other middle-ranked animals.
(I'm a very confident bitch whom NEVER submits to other dogs nor humans, eg turnin over askin for belly rubs from humans or simply submittin to the other dog. I stand tall & proud even when it comes to dogs 5 to 20 times my weight which I do know of & am friends with. Cotton always used to 'quarrel' with Starr, for fun. Which I never did of cuz. How do I rule my own pack? I come in between Cotton & Lauryn literally when I sense arguments comin. Sometimes if Cotton's stubborn, I'd hav to prove my point a lil' clearer to her minute lil' brain.)

* Low-ranked animals do not squabble. They know they would lose. They know their position, and they accept it.
(This goes for Starr. He was the most submissive dog in our pack.)

* "Alpha" does not mean physically dominant. It means "in control of resources." Many, many alpha dogs are too small or too physically frail to physically dominate. But they have earned the right to control the valued resources. An individual dog determines which resources he considers important. Thus an alpha dog may give up a prime sleeping place because he simply couldn't care less. (I share Mom's bed aka My bed too, with all the other dogs. Never once do I dominate anythin. EXCEPT MY RAW FOODS. However, I will never fight with my own pack over food. I only do that to other dogs NOT in my pack. It's juz me, I'm a born-foodie. Wanna be friends with me? DO NOT eat in front of me. It's only nautral I guess juz like in the wild animal kingdom where 2 Leaders from different groups meet, with a dead prey in 1 group, there will be bloodshed over the prey. The stronger leader will claim its 'reward'. Howver, for alpha-females, some can be very magnanimous amongst their own pack when it comes to food, which is why alpha-females are more 'variable' compared to alpha-males.)

So what does this mean for the dog-human relationship?

* Using physical force of any kind reduces your "rank." Only middle- ranked animals insecure in their place squabble.

* To be "alpha," control the resources. I don't mean hokey stuff like not allowing dogs on beds or preceding them through doorways. I mean making resources contingent on behavior. Does the dog want to be fed. Great -- ask him to sit first. Does the dog want to go outside? Sit first. Dog want to greet people? Sit first. Want to play a game? Sit first. Or whatever. If you are proactive enough to control the things your dogs want, *you* are alpha by definition.
(Mom shares her bed & pillow with me, sometimes even lettin me lie on her entire pillow body-on. I'm sure u've all read/seen abt dogs being dominant over their owners' bed... to the point of attackin the owners' if the owners were to lie on the beds. But I'm not dat crazy sort obviously. But Mom still does ask me to 'perform' before my meals. So, she is still our overall Alpha even tho' I'm the Alpha of my dog-pack.)

* Train your dog. This is the dog-human equivalent of the "revoking of puppy license" phase in dog development. Children, women, elderly people, handicapped people -- all are capable of training a dog. Very few people are capable of physical domination.

* Reward deferential behavior, rather than pushy behavior. I have two dogs. If one pushes in front of the other, the other gets the attention, the food, whatever the first dog wanted. The first dog to sit gets treated. Pulling on lead goes nowhere. Doors don't open until dogs are seated and I say they may go out. Reward pushy, and you get pushy.
(Sometimes Mom cuts us some slack in this aspect. However, pullin on lead is a NO-NO rite from the very beginnin. Mom trusts me alot, so most of the time, I'm walked off-leashed @ times as well durin my daily walks. For dogs that can get a lil' pushy like Cotton, we do not trust her to be let off-leashed except at the beach.)

Your job is to be a leader, not a boss, not a dictator. Leadership is a huge responsibility. Your job is to provide for all of your dog's needs... food, water, vet care, social needs, security, etc. If you fail to provide what your dog needs, your dog will try to satisfy those needs on his own.

I hope this has helped some of u classify your dogs as simply being a born-Alpha, or just being spoilt & naughty, or even havin (aggressive/problematic/under-socialized) behavioural issues as it is impt to not get confused...

Cotton does have some issues, but it is controllable, & most imptly, its harmless if ppl understand abt dog psychology & react appropriately to it. Other than that, most ppl simply luvs her for her erm... 'innocent stupidity'.

[Mom: & this is exactly why I love my Birdee. Becuz she's so independent since she's an Alpha-Female... so unlike the rest. She's almost like a 'matured human being'. I prefer this sorta strong character rather than a submissive 1.]

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