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#142014 - 04/22/05 09:06 AM Re: Raised by wolves
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Thanks for that story, ff--I love a good read.

#142015 - 04/22/05 10:23 AM Re: Alpha status
TheFallibleFiend Offline

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA

It's a good idea that the kids are never alone with the wolf. OTOH, I think of dogs as domesticated wolves. And I've read of a few cases where dogs have killed small children - which I think was usually attributed to jealously.

I believe I mentioned previously that we have a Jack Russell Terrier. She's really a very pretty dog. The kids - and particularly my eldest - took one look at her at the shelter and just had to have her. She was pretty there, but when we got her home and cleaned up she turned out to be one of the prettiest little things I've ever seen.

Anyway, she clearly recognizes me as the lead dog, but she was growling at the kids. Ever time I either growl back while looming over her with my teeth showing, or I yell. She's nipped my youngest twice, and I've popped her (hard) on the backside. She's pretty well figured out her place in the family now. I don't tolerate even the least hint of a growl or a bite, because I know what's going on in that little head. (It would be different if a dog bit someone who was tormenting them. That, I have no problems with.) My girls had trouble dominating the little cuss at first, but I've tried to show them - and they've got it worked out now, I think. They even handle other, much bigger, dogs better now. There are several problems with pet owners, I think. One is that they don't think things through in advance. The other is that they often don't realize that when they bring a dog into their house, they have a de facto pack. Whether they acknowledge it, whether they're even aware of it, or approve of it. They have a pack. Somebody in that pack WILL be the alpha. It's either a person or it's the dog. If there's any uncertainty about who's in charge, here's a hint: it's not the human. Screaming does not make one the alpha. Holding the leash does not make one the alpha. We're still trying to get my wife to understand this. She takes the dog for a walk and the dog is directing the entire walk. I've tried to tell her not to let the dog lead, but she's a stubborn woman. The dog ought not to be tugging on the leash. I've tried to get her to watch videos, but she won't. Thinks it's a waste of time. Here's an item, though: Dog (Ginger) used to growl and nip when we tried to brush her teeth, but now my youngest has complete control over her and can brush her teeth with relative ease. This one took a really long time, but her teeth get brushed 2 or 3 times a week. I'm so proud of my youngest for sticking with it. When you're a kid and a dog bites you, it's hard to not think the dog hates you. Of course, that's not it at all. They're just being what they are. You ought not tolerate it (even once), but it doesn't mean there's something wrong with the dog - especially when it's new to a family. One thing - with most dogs, you jockey for position once, the dog figures out where he is in the pecking order, and everything's fine. With this JRT, she's continually trying to push her limits - which I think is why they have such a reputation for being unruly. But this is exactly the sort of thing I consider a virtue. They're not for people who want an easy go of it. It's almost like having a 2 year old kid - very demanding and very rewarding.

#142016 - 04/22/05 10:56 AM Re: Alpha female
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
> Somebody in that pack WILL be the alpha. [...] If there's any uncertainty about who's in charge, here's a hint: it's not the human. [...] I've tried to tell her not to let the dog lead, but she's a stubborn woman.


#142017 - 04/22/05 02:59 PM Domesticated wolves, etc
Elizabeth Creith Offline

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada
The Sault Star has for years offered a reward for a confirmed report of an unprovoked attack by a healthy wolf on a human being. Never had to pay it out. Of course, every year we hear a few stories of dogs attacking and even killing children or adults. Dog packs are the thing to fear, not wolf packs.
You're absolutely right, FF, when you get a dog, you've got a pack, and you'd better be the alpha. Keeper, our late lamented sod, once growled at our niece, a toddler at the time. David (my husband) pounced on Keeper, hauled him up off the ground, holding him by the skin on the sides of his neck, shook him and growled, then threw him down. This took about three seconds. The next time my niece came into the room, Keeper got up and left. He wouldn't even look at her thereafter for the remainder of the visit.

#142018 - 04/22/05 05:19 PM Re: Alpha status
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Dogs are significantly better than cats at making us think that we are in charge. By doing so they are significantly better at enslaving us. Is this irony?

#142019 - 05/04/05 09:47 AM NOVA program about dogs
TheFallibleFiend Offline

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA

My daughter and I watched a show about dog evolution on NOVA last night. It was narrated by John Lithgow. Very interesting stuff. The scientists interviewed scoffed at the idea that humans adopted, then domesticated wolves.

Their reasoning goes like this:

1) Dog training and selective breeding are very difficult. They require a lot of resources and some sophisticated knowledge.

2) While archaeological evidence shows that humans and dogs have cohabited for at least 15,000 years, genetic clock evidence indicates that the dog line goes back about 100,000 years.

3) Dog's brains are smaller than wolves' brains.

From these facts some researchers conclude that dogs became at least partially domesticated BEFORE humans adopted them. They suggest that as early human groups began to throw away garbage, some wolves filled a niche by becoming scavengers. (Scavengers generally have smaller brains than predators.) Those scavengers had an evolutionary advantage over the wilder ones who had to struggle much harder to get their food. Over generations, populations of these animals gradually lost their fear of humans and lived alongside them. That is, they became dogs in this process.

An interesting factoid from the show: the earliest dogs seemed to be playthings for royalty and looked a lot like modern salukis.

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