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Pack Order


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Okiedokie, i mentioned around a week ago that Luka was acting like a little craphead. excuse my term, but what i'd really like to call him isn't forum friendly haha.


Here's my next question.... I was talking to my Rescue director and she mentioned that Luka is way too young to really be in an alpha role and not to mention that she doesn't think he's really a dominant dog. She thinks he may be confused as he's been pushed into that position and not really sure what he's doing.


I obviously only have 2 dogs of my own but i have 2 fosters and my roommate has also added a dog. He's a puppy but he challenges Luka on a weekly basis. I watch and try to let them work it out because that's what i've always heard to do. I do however find it odd that a 7 month puppy finds it necessary to challenge an almost 2 year old. Luka obviously isn't going to back down and I eventually have to break it up or else i worry that luka will rip his head off.


Tahoe loves Luka and he's submissive so he could care less. Zoey is the same with him. and Knox well he's always been around Luka so no issues there. It's Rhett. and I must say it doesn't help that I seriously can't stand him. I feel horrible saying that but he literally drives me insane. Maybe it's the fact that I feel like i'm constantly taking care of him and he's not my dog but his personality doesn't help things either.


My question is should i let them work it out or try to intervene more since it's obviously affecting Luka's behavior? and How can i try not to dislike a dog that drives me insane?

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This is interesting, because I have been noticing changes in the pack order here too.  Like Luka, I had always thought of Nikko as the alpha dog, and that's the role he immediately took with Yukon, and since Yukon is really submissive it wasn't much of a battle.  I think Luka is ALOT like Nikko, like we said before they must have been separated at birth!


It's very interesting what that rescue director said, I never thought that there was a certain age with that.  Now, my situation is a lot different than yours as there are only 3 dogs here and you foster plus have more (i lost count :P ). 


When I got Kodiak, I felt so bad for Nikko because he would litteraly run and hide from him the first couple weeks and they would get into a few serious fights that I had to break up.  Looking at the interaction Kodiak is for sure the alpha over those 3, but what is funny is that with humans he is the most submissive dog ever! 


Now...for the dog you don't like, that's hard.  I don't know if I would let him get into all out brawls, but you could stand by and see how far they escalate.  Maybe spend some more time with the pup to try and bond, that is if it's going to be a permanent addition and you don't have a choice. 

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You've "heard" me say it before, but I'll repeat it just to make sure. "As long as there's not any more blood than you'd see in normal play, let them sort it out themselves." But I know there reaches a point where they're on our last nerves and it's either tell them to go lay down or have serious thoughts about killing one or the other (okay, not serious thoughts, but you know what I mean!)

I'm surprised at your rescue director - it's not uncommon for a adolescent pup to "try on the alpha role" - which normally works just about long enough for the real "big boss" (if there is one) to put his paw down,  It's not like all of a sudden this pup or that one decides he's going to the "alpha" and succeeds in his first try.  If he does, he's going to be one confused pup, 'cause he's not going to know how to be the "big boss".

Pack hierarchy, ignoring the human, is a fluid thing.  Especially in a domestic pack! One may "rule the roost" in the house while another may be the "main man" when they're out for a walk.  A female may be the "alpha" in a domestic pack - she may be older, stronger, better fitted to be the controlling influence in the pack. One may fall sick, relinquish the alpha role and then try to resume it when they're better - something that would seldom happen in the wild.


Now, this is where I differ from a lot of others who have commented on "alpha" and "pack hierarchy" - humans are not part of that hierarchy, or at least we shouldn't be.  Yes, we fill the role of the "alpha" in a wild pack - we provide food, guidance, etc but we're not supposed to be part of the pack.  Our position is NOT fluid, even though we may not be the "all powerful" alpha (er, let's face it, most dogs could take us on and win in a physical contest!) we are the ones who "pull the strings".  When those positions are allowed to change, you have a dog who is constantly challenging the human and a human who is fearful of the dog - not a good situation! 


As for the one you don't like - there's nothing I can say to that; some people just don't like some dogs - and vice versa - unless the attitude is changed then you're not going to automatically start liking him some day.  The fact that you feel he's an imposition doesn't help things at all.

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