Dominance in Domestic Dogs

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by GoingNowhere, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I mean they don't live in a pack structure if you leave them to their own devices. In fact they socialize pretty much just like domestic cats. They don't form stable groups (like a pack) they mate with who ever they like (not like a pack) Studies have shown that while the dogs are often seen in the company of others, that the individuals in a group change on a regular bases. This is VERY unpack like. They don't co operate to hunt, share raising young duties.

    They just hang out with buds. There is little in the way of strict hierarchies (though even wolves don't have strict ones like dominance aficionados would have you believe)

    Dogs are opportunistic scavengers. That doesn't mean they can't hunt, just that is not their strong point, nor their first choice (as a species)

    People when in a group of strangers will do strange things during a mob. When people talk about dogs 'packing up' its more akin to mob mentatity than a pack. These dogs when they are done attacking what ever it is they attacked often go on their seperate ways. Just like people who over turn cars, smash windows etc. That doesn't mean the other people in the mob are you 'family' or even associates. Claiming that people in a mob are the true and "REAL" way that people live is silly.

    The whole dominace/pack/alpha dog thing interests me alot. I'm not sure I understand much of it (which is why I would like to learn more), but it does interest me since I do have a female who is 'alpha dog' in our group of dogs.

    Not really. Even a lot of scientists have stopped using it as its not useful and often misunderstood. Also dogs that are often called alpha are often just bullies, the play police, or socially inappropriate. An 'alpha' dog would be calm, relaxed and not likely to try to control other dogs. They would be confident if something came along that they wanted it, it would be theirs. Even in wolves they don't tend to call one 'alpha' and no dominate isn't really correct either. I have yet to see any dog dominate another one. I have seen humans dominate dogs though.

    They are referring to the animal's natural state. Ie horses are herd animals, wolves are pack animals, tigers are solitary, geese pair bond.
     
  2. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    Dogs are very intelligent, yes, but in comparison to wolves, not so. When dogs were domesticated, the intelligence to survive was taken out of them because they relied on humans to care for them. Wolves NEED to be intelligent in order to survive on their own in the harsh, brutal wild. Stick your domesticated pet dogs out in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, by themselves in the middle of winter, and see how long they live. Somehow I don't think their knowledge of the word "sit" and "rollover" are going to feed them or keep them warm.
     
  3. Danefied

    Danefied New Member

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    Hi, meet Lunar (dog in foreground), ex feral dog. He survived two gun shot wounds and ended up in bad shape not because of lack of survival skills, but because of heartworm. Tell him he's not as smart as a wolf.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, he doesn't know roll over ;)
     
  4. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I don't know. Who's smarter? The animal who fights daily to scrape together enough food and is lucky to have one offspring out of a litter survive to adulthood and reproduce? Or the animal who teamed up with these silly bipedal apes who are willing to raise their offspring for them and often have 100% survival rates for their litters? As a species, dogs have a much more secure future in terms of survival than wolves do. ;)
     
  5. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    Wolves Beat Dogs on Logic Test | LiveScience

    The Doglando Blog : Orlando Dog Grooming | Orlando Dog Training | Dog Day Care Orlando: Dingos Like Wolves Are Smarter Than Dogs

    A species intelligence is based on how well it's able to survive. Wolves have survived for thousands of years and have been here much longer then the dog has. Dogs are technically a freak of nature created by humans, and if it weren't for humans, probably wouldn't be here. Dogs rely soooo much on humans for their survival. Even strays/feral dogs. If humans were wiped out, the domestic dog population would to, where as wolves would still live on.
     
  6. Danefied

    Danefied New Member

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    According to who?
    Following this theory, cockroaches are geniuses. Hmmm... wonder if anyone has tried to clicker train a cockroach?
    Yeah, kind of the whole premise of the "domestic" or "familiaris" part... Not getting the point.
    If you put a domestic dog puppy in a pack of wolves, and let the wolves raise him, he would survive just fine.
    Survival instinct does not equate with intelligence. Survival instinct is just that - instinct.
     
  7. Raegan

    Raegan Member

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    I don't think you can say that at all. For the most part the scientific community can't agree how to measure HUMAN intelligence, let alone the intelligence of an entirely different species. You've seen Stanley Coren's list of the most/least intelligent dog breeds, right? It's bogus, because it defines intelligence in a very misleading way: following commands.

    I don't think you can say that wolves are smarter than dogs, or that any species is smarter than another. Dogs can be taught to match to sample, parrots can be taught to count, and I can't find a video right now but dogs can be taught to string words together to form meanings: fetch the red bone vs. the blue bone. Scientists are constantly finding new things that animals can understand that are marks of intelligence and previously thought to be the sole domain of humans. There's too much that isn't known about what intelligence is or how to measure it.

    And even if intelligence was ability to survive, wouldn't dogs win that one? There's what, 70 million dogs in the United States alone? A number for wolves was harder to find, but the largest I found was 200,000 for the present day and 2 million at their peak. I'd say dogs are kind of kicking wolf butt at surviving.
     
  8. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Umm. Dingos ARE feral dogs. They were domesticated, hauled to Australia by humans from Asia, and went feral. You can catch a dingo puppy and raise it to be much more companionable than a wolf. It's still a primitive dog for sure, and not like having a golden retriever. But it's a dog.

    In the first study, I'm really interested in what breeds of dogs they tested and whether the test subjects had any previous obedience training. There was another study I read about independence and problem solving in dogs. Basically it said that dogs trained to a high level of obedience would look to a human handler for cues rather than go for the obvious solution. Vs. non trained dogs who would happily leap over obstacles to get straight at a food reward. I'll hunt around for that one, it was really fascinating.

    And while I agree, if you dumped a load of domestic dogs out in the wilderness in winter they'd probably die. You could say the same of wolves raised in a zoo. Or even wild wolves dumped into unfamiliar territory in the middle of winter. None of them are going to be familiar with local food sources and they are going to have to compete with resident predators for survival. Honestly I have a lot of faith in my borzois' survival skills. They've already proved not only can they "harvest" game reliably, they can handle groups of coyotes and come out unscathed. Whereas the coyotes come out dead.
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    There are many different kinds of intelligence. Wolves are better than dogs at say...figuring out how to unlatch a gate or open a clasp on a box. They'll try and try and try until they figure it out, which they often do. Dogs will try once or twice, then look at the human standing by and look back at the puzzle, back at the human again. Dogs are better at reading human social signals than wolves, even puppies raised with little human contact. It's inherent in domestic dogs. They understand things like what humans are pointing to, nodding toward, or even marking an object with something and removing it, dogs get it what the target object was. Wolves don't get that at all, even wolves raised from a very young age by humans. There are all kinds of examples.

    Wolves and chimps have better means to an end cognition, such as pulling through cage bars, a string with a piece of food at the other end. Dogs aren't so good at that. We can train dogs to do some asounding things. No so with wolves.

    Intelligence or instinct...learned or inherent? Dogs are one of the most successful animals in evolutionary terms. Just because they haven't been around as long, doesn't mean they're less intelligent. I bet they'll be around a very long time. Look what we do for dogs. If you knew how much resources go to sustaining dogs, it would astonish you. They could actually cause us to go extinct, they draw so much from our bank accounts. LOL. There are so many ins and outs that I think it's pretty hard to say which is "more intelligent." One is better at some things, the other better at other things.
     
  10. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    My husband said it best:

    Dogs are nothing more then wolves who learned to adapt to living around humans. They learned to survive in their enviroment around people and other wolves that lived farther away learned to survive on their own in the wild. They are simply one species that went two seperate ways and learned to master their enviroment. What dogs have is social intelligence towards humans, because humans are the key to their survival (despite the fact that humans are often the cause of their death), where as wolves have problem solving and survival skills. There for wolves have larger brains then dogs do. They NEED more brain power because it's themselves they depend on.

    It's 50/50. Dogs are smarter in regards to knowing humans better because humans are thye key to their survival, but wolves are smarter at taking care of themselves because that's the key to their survival.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Well put Shakou. Every organism finds it's niche, an environment where it is able to adapt, thrive, reproduce and pass on it's genes. The niche with humans has been advantageous to dogs and has allowed them to evolve. I think comparing intelligence is almost beside the point. Of course different animals are going to vary in their talents.
     
  12. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    I think my use of the words "dumbed down" was misunderstood. My dog, Charlotte, was a street dog for God knows how long down in Nashville, TN and survived the floods when it happened, and when she got sick of life on her own, she found my husband and stuck with him. CLEARLY dogs are very intelligent. What I was referring to by being "dumbed down" was their disorganized, scattered social skills with canines in comparison to wolves. Though that may be because they are more human social then pack social.
     
  13. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Dog social structure is honestly a lot closer to coyote social structure than wolf. Honestly I don't buy that they are descended from wolves either. I think they are very closely related, share a common ancestor, and some more recent lines of dog have had wolf blood infused in the past few hundred years (german shepherds for one) but for the most part they are descended from wild dogs. Probably a now extinct species.

    When domestic animals go feral, they revert to look like their parent species within a few generations. You see it in cats, hogs, cattle, horses, etc. But there has never been a population of feral dogs that reverted back to looking remotely wolf-like. They all turn into red/yellow pariah dogs with prick ears, like dingos, carolina dogs, caanan dogs, etc.

    The ability to survive I think is in great part learned. Locally we have Wolf Haven. They are part of the species survival plan for mexican red and grey wolves. Even though the wolves they raise are pure wolf, and they do their best to teach them how to survive on their own, a certain number who are released are never able to adapt fully and learn to do it on their own before they die.
     
  14. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    Do you have a study to back that up? Because there are loads of studies saying the opposite.

    Dollo's Law posits that an organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realized in the ranks of its ancestors. Once a trait has been genetically "lost" it has an infinitesimally small chance (if at all) to reappear further down the evolutionary line.

    Sorry, bit of a science nerd here.
     
  15. Raegan

    Raegan Member

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    I really want to believe this, I think it fits a lot of what we (think we) know/observe about dog behavior, but so far the science hasn't seemed to back that up. Ethologically, dogs and wolves are very different (just ask anyone who's worked with wolfdogs!) but physiologically they're quite similar, once you account for the plasticity of phenotype. Isn't that basically the argument made for feeding raw? I'm not satisfied that the current understanding of the origin of dogs answers every question, but canis lupus familiaris fits the evidence we have right now.
     
  16. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    This guy has a pretty comprehensive blog on the subject with peer reviewed references.

    Darren Naish: Tetrapod Zoology: Controversial origins of the domestic dog

    Have you seen the Russian domestic fox experiment? They were able to cause significant phenotypical changes in the foxes consistent with changes found in other domestic animals (white facial blazes, drop ears, shortened muzzles, curled tails, etc.) in only 40 years simply by breeding for calmness. In breeding for calmness, they decreased the amount of adrenalin reaching the developing fox embryos. It's very likely that had a huge impact on the way their genes are expressed and would explain why so many of the changes took place so quickly, and are also found in so many other domestic mammals. So it may be that domestic animals are not terribly different genetically than their forebears, just that the smaller amounts of adrenalin we have bred them to produce change how their genes are expressed.

    Take for example, pigs. Here's a wild boar, with little to no domestic hog ancestry:
    [​IMG]

    Here are feral hogs from Auckland Island, where they have been feral and isolated since people left them there in 1807.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's a link to a list of DNA studies done on feral animals. The ones on the Auckland pigs show that they are descended from purely domestic ancestors. Despite that, they were able to recover the phenotype of their wild ancestors when faced with surviving on their own.
    DNA Studies of Rare Breeds
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  17. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Yes, and IMO it's not that great of an argument. There's a thread on here from years ago about the raw argument and I posted in it. I tried to find it but I couldn't, because I remember I had a link to an article in there... scatology studies show the eating habits of coyotes and feral dogs to be far more similar than those of wolves and feral dogs. From a scientific/evolutionary standpoint, animals do what works. Wolves eat hardly any "plant" material because it doesn't do much for them. Coyotes and dogs both eat other material if it's available - in the Midwest they like corn (plenty of it!), but they also do berries and fruit. Wolves typically just don't go out and scavenge like this, even when they're starving - and most people agree that what small corn/berry content does show in their scat is usually "accidentally" consumed via the stomach/digestive contents of their meaty prey.

    The same post I'm talking about also had quite a bit of scientific discussion about... crap, I forget the term now. But it's the same as how there has been a genetic link determined between apes and humans, meaning both species share an ancestor... not that apes ARE the ancestor, but that we both had one ancestor at one point back in our evolution, before the two species evolved separately. Dogs and wolves are the same. Science has determined both species share an ancestor, but that is NOT the same as "dogs evolved from wolves." (The guy posting completely misunderstood the science involved and kept insisting that sharing a same ancestor meant wolves ARE the ancestor...)

    Personally I think there's a lot of weight to the argument that dogs and coyotes are far more similar than dogs and wolves, but that's just based on stuff I've read here and there and conversations I've had with animal science folks. I don't think there's a lot of interest in exploring that because for so long we've been beat over the head with "DOGS ARE EVOLVED FROM WOLVES" that nobody wants to be too divergent on that...


    ETA: I do want to clarify that no matter wolf, coyote, or wild dog, all of these prefer meat, and none of it is cooked, therefore I think feeding raw is still a wonderful diet if done properly. The post I'm referencing above, IIRC, actually went beyond "dogs like meat" and into "adding fruit/veggies to your dog's diet is not only useless but HARMFUL." It's been a long time and I'm glad that post is buried deep, LOL.
     
  18. Raegan

    Raegan Member

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    :rofl1::rofl1::rofl1:

    I know it's gone back and forth and off to Oz a LOT. The latest I had heard was that animals functionally identically to the modern Indian Wolf hung out with cavemen and turned into dogs. Which is the exact opposite of what you're saying, that they shared a common ancestor.

    Ugh, I'm going to have to go scientific study reading, aren't I? Gorramit, that stuff is so dense. ;)

    I do think the fact that feral/highly mixed dogs tend toward the Pariah dog type is very significant. Has there been any observations on that phenomena in a habitat that isn't suited to that type? Like, temperate forests or the tundra? Most of the places that I can think of off the top of my head that have a significant feral dog problem and see a convergence to Pariah-type are pretty arid: Central America, the US South, the Middle East.
     
  19. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I'm not sure. Part of that may be temperate areas worldwide are usually already inhabited by coyotes and wolves, who not only compete for the same ecological niche but also view dogs as potential mates/food. I'd guess a lot of the dogs that escape or are dumped to potentially establish a feral population are either eaten by their local wild canids or, more rarely, interbreed and are absorbed into the local population.

    Temperate areas where wolves and other large predators who eat dogs are not common are usually full of humans, who prevent feral dog populations from being established.

    If you've never looked into the Village Dog project, it's really fascinating. They're doing DNA testing on feral type primitive village dogs across all continents and comparing that with wild canids to get an idea of where they were domesticated, and from what, and how they spread around the world. So far it looks like there was more than one point of domestication.

    Village Dog Project
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  20. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    I'm not sure that this is more than anecdotal evidence, but my uncle has quite a bit of land down in south Georgia and used to have a large amount of feral dogs living on it. People dump their dogs in the country, and they have to learn to survive on their own. What is interesting is that they all looked like dingo type dogs after awhile. He distinctly remembers when someone dumped a German Shepherd, and how he would see it hanging out with these other dogs beside the river, and when he was out checking his property.

    He said a few years later, he would see black and tan dogs, but with the upright build the pariah dog has, and a much shorter coat. There were spotted white and red dogs, and I remember seeing a few take off when we surprised them by a deer carcass in the woods. There were about four of them, two looked fairly young, and they were black and white spotted, and a red/yellow one.


    They ended up probably getting wiped out or close to it about five or six years ago when there was a particularly violent rabies outbreak. My uncle had to shoot a few of them and a few coyotes as well.

    Anyway, it's all anecdotal, but it's mostly scrub forest where he has his property. He's planted and managed stands of pine trees for his retirement, and he has probably close to 800 acres of land to himself, and the chattahooche bisects part of his property, so it's all mostly wild except where his house sits. So, not sure if that's temperate or the forest type environment. It's not tundra, but it's different from the desert at any rate, and we do get some cold winters.
     

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