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Dog pack: How do dogs behave in a group?


Dog packs have always been the subject of various studies to learn more about the behavior of our beloved fur snouts. One thing is certain: the dog is not designed for life as a loner by nature, but as part of a family-like group. When dogs are out and about in the dog pack, the hierarchy is clearly regulated - chanyut Sribua rawd / Shutterstock

The dog pack has always interested us humans to get to know the four-legged friends better and to interpret their behavior better. How do the animals behave towards each other, what is the order of rank? Read here what makes dogs tick when they are in the family as a pack of dogs.

Dog pack behavior: hierarchy

Alpha dogs and beta dogs can be found in the dog pack. In between are the "wannabe alpha dogs", that is, the animals that soon want to be part of the pack's leadership team. Of course, the reality looks less static. Hierarchical structures in the dog pack are much more in motion than was long thought. In most cases, there is no very clear alpha dog, but there are several animals in the pack that show alpha behavior in different situations. For example, a four-legged friend is always the first to eat. To do this, another person is generally allowed to start with a toy.

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Alpha dogs behave calmly in the dog pack

Female and male animals each have their own hierarchical structure. If it is a group of mixed sex, it is not at all certain that a female basically leaves the field to the male. Whether female or male: the dog that has an important object, be it a bone or a toy, is considered the leader and is not challenged.

In general, the animals in a dog pack regulate the hierarchy far less via physical strength than would be expected. If you see four-legged friends fighting in a pack, it is mostly the contenders for the alpha position who fight each other a minimal change in their position. Alpha dogs do not take part in such fights because they do not have to prove themselves. They are often the quietest animals in the pack, who hardly ever bark, growl or reprimand other animals.

Why are dogs in a group?

In the wild, the four-legged friends form a pack because they act so much more energy-saving: they can support each other in the hunt and protect them from dangers. This is also the main reason why there are comparatively few internal fights in dog packs. The animals are energy savers - fighting means wasting energy and is pointless. Space and ownership are much more important for status within the family association. For example, if a dog has a good place to sleep under its control, the others will not disturb it.

Dogs and humans as packs

Most animal behavior experts believe that dogs are less likely to perceive humans as part of their pack. The fur noses understand the difference between the species and communicate with humans differently than among themselves. In households in which several four-legged friends live, these have probably established a hierarchy among themselves - most likely, man does not belong to this order of rank.

Nevertheless, we can learn a lot from the structure and behavior in the dog pack. One of the most important aspects: Those who have resources such as food and dog toys lead the group. Use all of this with patience to train and play with your dog.