Dog Behavior Questions
A dog is a dog! This may seem to be a very evident truth, but the real thing is that many of us are so used to considering our dogs another member of our family that we end up forgetting about its limitations and its purely canine abilities or Dog behavior. Questions on canine behavior is a wonderful fusion of the instinctive and the learnt things. Almost every personality trait answers an instinctive need of making the reproduction possible and guaranteeing the perpetuation of the species in a wild environment. Educating a dog, teaching it how to live in our world with us is after all, no other thing than teaching the dog how to develop and let its natural instincts flow, but in the correct place and time.
MEMBERS OF THE PACK or team
Dogs are social animals, so they instinctually need to feel integrated to the social structure of the group and as a team in the pack. In the natural environment, no canine would survive for a long time outside the pack because in order to retrieve big sized pieces it is mandatory to hunt in teams. This is why the wild canine's packs are always organized into hierarchies and presided by norms that establish which one has the right to get mate in the pack and which one has the privilege to eat first once the prey is killed.
Naturally, there is always one individual that tries to challenge the established social order, but to avoid major injuries that would have harmed the pack in general, the specie evolution substituted the mutual aggressions for a series of ritual behaviors that allow them to solve any conflict among the member of the pack with no blood shedding. These rituals include theatrical gestures made with the face and the body, intense sights, growls, etc. a complete and very efficient system of signs useful to express both, intentions and answers.
Until not long ago, it was believed that the dominant wolf or supreme leader used to be the biggest and strongest individual of the pack. However, it is currently believed that the wolves that have the absolute power and control the others are precisely the one that standout on the gesture language.
THE LEADER OF THE Dog PACK
In the natural environment, some canines and wolfs take the best part of everything: they get the biggest portion of the prey, the safest place to sleep and the other wolf's attention as getting dressed up and cleaned, they also get allies inside the pack that support them, while others must conform with the left overs of the privileged ones. Obviously, the first ones have more opportunities to mate and have healthier puppies than the ones that stare and wait until the first ones finish eating; they also have to sleep in the most exposed part of the lair and manage with almost no attention from the rest. The canines that always take the best part of everything and consequently have more opportunities to procreate, are called the Alfa or dominant individuals.
This social order shouldn't really surprise humans. It is well know that the CEOs of companies have huge offices, wonderful desks and armchairs that only they can use, reserved space at the parking lot and even official cars provided by the companies, while the subordinates must cope with a lot less than that.
In fact, what has made possible for dogs and humans to get along so well is the fact that there are many similarities on the canine and human social structures. In conclusion, when a dog lives with us at home, it understands that we are the leaders of the pack and that choosing is our function, while theirs is to adjust themselves to the things we do. It is precisely the hierarchical structure of the pack what prevents the serious problems between these two species. Now well, some experiences may revoke this instinctive submission in such an intelligent and adaptable animal as the domestic dog. This is when the learning process plays a very important part.