Category Archives: Pack Instinct

Tales From The Pack #7

This is about doggie toys in general.

In the pack situation, dogs find their own entertainment, so a stick or a pebble can become the source of endless hours of entertainment for a young dog. The higher up in the pack that dog ranks, the more control he has over what toys he plays with, when he plays with them and when he shares them with other dogs lower down in the pack.

If a lower ranking dog tries to take his toy from him, he’ll growl, show teeth and become aggressive enough to let the interloper know who’s boss.

In the family “pack” the dog will often have a whole box-full of toys. Balls, furry things, squeaky rubber things and all sorts. If your dog believes himself to be of high enough rank in your family pack, he’ll quite happily help himself to whatever toy he wants from the box, whenever he wants it.

When he’s finished playing with it, or allowing you to share it with him, he’ll simply discard it where it falls and go off to do something else.

To really get on top of your dog in the family pack rankings, you need to change this behaviour somewhat. First up, place the box of toys out of your dog’s reach somewhere high. Then, when you want to play with a toy with your dog, you go get it. When you’re finished, take it off him and put it back in the box.

That tells him that you are the boss and you decide which toy he plays with, when he can play with it and for how long.

Terry Didcott
Dogs Wish

Tales From The Pack #6

Back in the pack again!

This time we’ll look at feeding time.

In the pack situation, the strongest and highest ranking dogs will always eat first. Followed by the highest ranking females, then the other adult dogs. Older pups get the scraps while the younger ones are fed by their mothers and occasionally by other pup-less females.

If a lower ranking dog tries to muscle in on the food while the higher ranking dogs are feeding, there will inevitably be a lot of snarling and menacing shows of teeth as the higher ranking dogs put the interloper into his place. If he persists, then a fight will likely break out until either the lower ranking dog is dismissed or he proves himself and ousts his seniors. In which case he attains a higher rank and things settle down quickly.

How does that translate into the home?

Well, if a dog growls at you when you approach while he’s eating, then its a sure sign that he feels he outranks you and he’s just warning you away from his food.

The way to get round this behaviour is to have a look at some of the other posts in this series and see if you are allowing him to lead you in any way. If he does, then you can correct the behaviour by making sure you take the lead and he knows it. Once his rank has been taken away, his behaviour should return to that of a lower ranking dog.

Terry Didcott
Dogs Wish