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  #11  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:21 AM
Athe Athe is offline
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I never really took any advise from any one who referred to the owner as being Alpha I have owned many dogs, a dog is more like a child. You establish rules in the household so the dog knows what his/her limits are. This is not establishing Alpha status it is only merely showing the dog what the rules of the home are. I have used NIFIL policy with fearful dogs with great success, aggressive dogs, terrorizing maniac dogs etc. Dogs need rules to follow and to be happy. In the wild, dogs would never have the rules in place that a human would

As for wolf packs, after doing reading on wolves etc. they act much differently in a conservation wolf park opposed to living in the wild. In a park where they have to live with other wolves not in their immediate family they have to have rules and some wolves can be more dominant. In the wild, wolves have a family pack consisting of a mating pair (a wolf biologist discussed this just recently - can't think of his name off the top of my head) this biologist is not using the term Alpha any longer. It is now the mating pair and offspring. Wolves do not often run in the wild with unrelated wolves. The offspring are of course not allowed to breed with the parents, this takes care of inbreeding and why it doesn't happen in the wild. When the pups get old enough usually 2 years of age, they leave the parents and find their own mate and start their own family. Some times in some areas, some wolves do not form packs, and in some areas depending on the size of the prey; coyotes which are normally not pack animals will form a pack to take down large prey. It's interesting as well to find that some DNA studies show that many wolves have been descended from coyotes, and some wolves have actually descended from domestic dogs. Interesting.

The same for dogs, Raymond Coppinger- biologist, studied natural domestic wild dogs...these dogs are probably the forefathers of our current purebred dogs and all other domestic dogs. Any way, these domestic wild dogs which look similar to hound dogs live within villages of people living off discarded human waste. These domestic wild dogs do not form any sort of pack instead choosing a semi solitary existence. The only reason a Canine has to form a pack is if they are hunting big game...living off discarded human wastes does not require packing behavior of any kind. For these dogs for a human to try to take them in and enforce alpha rules would be very confused.

This is exactly what happens with many problem dogs that I have met. People get this grand idea that you need to have pack rules, alpha rolling to show who is boss, neck scruffing, physical punishment for things dogs do naturally...all they are is creating a confused dog which will turn out to be more of a challenge and problem at the shelter it will eventually end up at.
I own 5 dogs, I do have the NIFIL policy in place simply for the fact that my dogs need rules. These are human rules that the dog learns to abide by, not Canine rules. Having a dog sit before feeding would never happen to any wild Canine. Dogs are opportunist animals and would steal food and not sit and wait for another dog to eat first. Even the most timid dog would try to snatch a leftover in the wild and try to outrun a dominant dog before it would allow another dog to eat before it does...it's called survival.

I am very happy with my dogs and how well behaved they are. I train only with positive training as most things I want from my dogs are not normal doggy behavior (heeling, come and sit, long down, long stay). I am certainly not going to reprimand a dog for doing some thing natural. I am just going to show the dog the way I want it done, when the dog does what I want praise and treats follow. This is in no way treating my dogs like a pack of wolves (at least the image of a pack of wolves that some people portray). My dogs are happy because they know the human rules I kindly showed them, never forced. I would consider my dogs to be my children with rules of my house hold.
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:27 AM
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Renee750il Renee750il is offline
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I think much of our desire to see ourselves as part of a 'pack' is a primal yearning to identify with the power and freedom of the romanticized world of the wolf. For dog-people, the wolf is the ultimate totem.

It's a matter of how we choose to perceive ourselves. In the microcosmic world that encompasses our dogs and us, we try to recreate a semblance of that romanticized existence. That's fine as long as it's kept inside our heads and we don't try to impose it in practice! Our dogs aren't wild animals. They are domestic. There is a thread that runs through their being that is other than domestic - an ability to move between worlds, as it were, but by and large they are domestic. They have adapted and transmogrified through eons to become what they are today - companions, helpers, friends, part of our very existence - and they live lives that are a far cry from the wolf pack. Even dogs who become feral - and very few dogs can actually survive in a feral existence - don't have the ability to function seamlessly as a community like the wolf.

It is a testament to the adaptability of the dog that they function so successfully in our world and understand and adapt to us much more easily than we do to them. We do meet them part of the way, trying to understand the way they sort things out among themselves and achieve a sort of order in the world they live in.

Are we a 'pack' in the classic sense? No. It's a term we use because it appeals to us and gives us a verbal skeleton to describe - and romanticize - our human/canine relationships. Like so many of the terms we've embraced to define dogdom - aggressive, alpha, dominant - it's a grossly inaccurate terminology, but we just love to think of ourselves and our dogs in those terms.
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Last edited by Renee750il; 05-31-2005 at 09:44 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:32 AM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Good post Athe. Yes, I've seen programs and read some of that which you described regarding packs and how they aren't the glue that some people think they are. Coyotes definitely are not "pack" animals. But will on occasion, when needed group up. They are more solitary than a lot of other canines. And I saw that about the scavenging animals which were not in packs and because they hadn't lived in packs did not exhibit that kind of behavior that occurs in packs. It's somewhat of a learned thing and not an intense drive. That's why we don't see much of that behavior in our domestic dogs. So, for us to be so presumptuous as to think we can join into a pack of dogs when they don't even think they need to all the time is ridiculous. I bet they'd be laughing all the way to the next piece of road kill.
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:34 AM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
I think much of our desire to see ourselves as part of a 'pack' is a primal yearning to identify with the power and freedom of the romanticized world of the wolf. For dog-people, the wolf is the ultimate totem.
Renee! You're brilliant. I love your post. You are so right on.
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:45 AM
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And when I say that my dogs have a pack between them, it is in no way like a pack would be in the wild....obviously. They don't have to hunt. They don't have to fight for a date with my female. They don't need to set up too many rules between themselves. They do display some natural tendancies and instincts. But by and large, they are not unlike having children. For me, that is, that they are taught things, expected to follow certain rules, privileges are taken away if they're naughty, but they do not need physical domination or abuse to follow the rules. (neither do wolves) They "behave" and they get rewarded. They don't follow rules, they don't get rewarded. LOL. As long as we're on our toes about training...positive training and paying attention to how we interact with our dogs, we can have beautifully behaved and happy dogs. Domination, abuse and thinking that is how wolves behave (they don't) or thinking we need to disguise ourselves as wolves is ludicrous. Dogs aren't dummies.
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  #16  
Old 05-31-2005, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oriondw
CT, i dont think its important what words you use when they have the same meaning.
It matters quite a bit when you're working with people who have preconceived notions of what the words mean. When people hear you say, "You have to dominate your dog," they attach all those negative connotations and feelings that come with the physical training most of us grew up with. It's important when you're working with an owner to be perfectly clear in the words you use and how you use them. Words like "dominant", "submissive," and "alpha" are accurate and have their place, but through negative use they've come to mean something different than they should. If you want to escape punishment-based training, you have to disassociate yourself with the punishment-based trainers. That means finding a new dictionary to help average dog owners to see what you're doing differently and why. I agree that it shouldn't be that way, but unfortunately it is.
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  #17  
Old 05-31-2005, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv
OK...that looks like word salad, doesn't it.
I think it was very eloquent!

...and yes, a little.
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  #18  
Old 05-31-2005, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv
And when I say that my dogs have a pack between them, it is in no way like a pack would be in the wild....obviously.
Amy, my friend who did the Fila site I refer people to most of the time (http://www.mindspring.com/~anableps/fila.html) refers to her "pride" of Fila. I love that expression.

Another term I'd like to see take a much needed break from the canine lexicon is "aggressive." It is dangerously overused and misused. Defensive dogs are labeled with the term 'aggressive,' a complete misnomer. There is a vast difference between a dog that is defensive and the rare aggressive dog.
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Stupid is the most notoriously incurable and contagious disease known to mankind. If you find yourself in close proximity to someone infected with stupid, walk away as soon as said infection is noted.


There are few things more nauseating than pure obedience. ~ Kvothe

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  #19  
Old 06-01-2005, 03:24 PM
GSDFan05 GSDFan05 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee750il
There is a vast difference between a dog that is defensive and the rare aggressive dog.
That's very true, it's frustrating to see all 'aggression' lumped into the same category and attributed to 'bad dogs'. Unfortunately sometimes a fear-biter can be even more dangerous because they truly do feel like they're fighting for their lives. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a beautiful dog that is reduced to a basket of volatile nerves in many situations just because its owner never took the time to socialize it.
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  #20  
Old 06-01-2005, 03:31 PM
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There really needs to be more care taken with words in the dog world. Fear biting is lumped into the 'aggressive dog' label, as are dogs who are defending. Even dogs that are giving warning growls or even a warning stance get tagged as aggressive dogs, when aggression has nothing to do with what's going on. Makes it far too easy for the breed ban neo-fascists to incite fear.
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In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. ~Buddha

Stupid is the most notoriously incurable and contagious disease known to mankind. If you find yourself in close proximity to someone infected with stupid, walk away as soon as said infection is noted.


There are few things more nauseating than pure obedience. ~ Kvothe

***8206;"silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation."
Rumi
Be a god. Know when to shut up.


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