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Pack Structure - Does it Exist?

This is the next leading argument which looks to be a founding cause for many other problems.


Argument 1 - It has been bred out of domestic dogs

This argument says that due to selective breeding we have bred dogs to be more eager to please and want to work with us.

Even some wolf researchers say it is more about conflict avoidance than it is about actual pack structure. They seem quite a lot like a family like yours and ours.

The sense of needing to be dominant is not necessary because dogs really want to work with us.


Argument 2 - Pack Structure does exist

This argument says that pack structure does exist and you need to be the Alpha or dominant over your dog for them to listen to you.

This side will say things like you need to eat first, take bones from them, go through doors first and several other things.


Why the two opinions? Who is right and who is wrong?

Both sides have valid points. Breeders have been breeding dogs for specific jobs. Many breeds have been bred so well for a job that they just do it naturally and require little to no training. Dogs used to be required to help out with work, to lighten the load for farmers, hunters, sailors and other workers. They didn’t want to spend a lot of time training them, that is why they were getting the help, to lessen the work. If a dog wasn’t good at their job they would get rid of that dog (often meant shoot that dog) and would get another one that was better bred.

One issue as of recently is breeding for show or breeders that aren’t necessarily breeding for traits such as some backyard breeders. In show the dog is often bred for looks. While breeding for looks a breeder may inadvertently breed once desired traits for that breed out of the dog.

Backyard breeders and even reputable breeders may be trying to make extra income so they breed dogs and sell all puppies no matter what their traits are.

You can breed for dogs to be more eager to please such as the Golden Retriever but if a breeder is not specifically breeding for those traits, other traits can creep in such as a dog that is independent or may not have the same desire to please. As the years go on we see more Retrievers that don’t want to listen and give their families a lot of grief.

Even when a breeder is breeding for certain traits, a litter of puppies can be surprisingly different. Some will have the traits and some may not. If you look at any working dogs, using police dogs as an example. You can breed two dogs with the right traits to be a police dog and still end up with puppies that don’t make good police dogs.

If a breeder has been breeding for nice tempered and eager to please puppies it is still possible to get some puppies out of that litter that are a bit more of a trouble maker.

In the argument for Pack Structure it can seem to be necessary to follow more rules with a dog that wants to “test” you more or doesn’t seem eager to please or want to listen. In these cases a dog can seem like they are trying to be the boss over you. If they are able to view you as being the boss over them they listen better.

Why is this the case for some dogs and not others? That brings us to the next topic that helps clarify why both sides seem to be right at certain times.


Settling Point for Argument? - Types of Dogs