The dog’s pack behavior
The dog’s pack behavior
Throughout the centuries, domestication has led to not only physical or physiological changes in dogs, but also behavioral changes. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the status of dogs has become one of companion animal, even though they are also used for hunting, guarding and work.
Spontaneous Behavior of Pack Dogs.
Due to their living conditions, domestic dogs do not form groups large enough to establish hierarchical systems that are as complex as those of wolves. Among wolves, the pack forms a social unit in which hierarchy, play and solidarity all help to maintain group cohesion, increase the chances of survival and facilitate reproduction.
Packs of wild dogs defend their territory but may also co-opt new members from other groups of stray or wild dogs.
Stray Dogs and Wild Dogs
In the United States and in certain European countries, there are numerous stray dogs that only rarely have contact with humans or that have become completely wild. These dogs stick to the outskirts of big cities, public places or freely-accessible areas that are out of immediate human view, as well as to agricultural or forest regions.
These dogs, known as “free ranging dogs” (FRD), are defined as dogs that may or may not belong to an owner. Among these dogs are those that are left to roam freely by their owners for long periods of time and those that are lost or have been abandoned and therefore no longer have an owner.
Sharing Food according to the Hierarchy
There is a complex hierarchy within a pack of dogs. The feeding mode of wild canines is such that they can consume large quantities of food in a short amount of time after capturing their prey.
They do not necessarily eat every day because the hunt is not always successful. They must find their prey, but prey does not keep and there is competition from other animals.
Once the prey is captured, the dominant dogs eat first. Submissive dogs must keep a certain distance and wait until the dominant dogs have finished their meal before they have their chance at the food.
Waste Elimination Behavior: A Personal Identity Card
In wild canines, waste elimination plays more than a physiological role. It is also a means of olfactory communication, which is primarily conveyed through pheromones found in urine, feces and vaginal secretions. These pheromones provide information about the sex, identity, physiological condition and hierarchical position of the dog producing them.
Dominant – Submissive Relationship
Within a pack of dogs, the dominant dog controls how the pack occupies space while at rest and the movement of his subjects. The dominant dogs sleep together in the middle of a circle formed by the pack. The space is divided into concentric circles for the various level of the hierarchy. The closer a dog is to the leader, the higher his rank in the hierarchy.
The dominant dog controls sexuality within the group. Only the dominant dog may express his sexuality in front of the other members of the pack. Submissive dogs may only mate in areas shielded from his view. City dogs never live in a true pack environment, but country dogs may.