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raum's avatar

Are domesticated dogs pack animals?

Asked by raum (7676points) October 8th, 2019 from iPhone

As asked.

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19 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

They can be. They are a bit different than their wolf ancestors, though

ucme's avatar

Absolutely they are.
The wolf in your living room, as some smart arse clever dick once said.

josie's avatar

All dogs are pack animals
This is the key to training dogs to be “good dogs”
There are no bad dogs
There are only dogs whose human masters do or do not recognize that dogs are pack animals

longgone's avatar

The simple answer is “no”. The term “pack” is defined by action. It means “wild canines that hunt together”. By definition, dogs are not pack animals. They are simply very social animals.

In rare cases, feral dogs might scavenge as a group. Usually, they keep to themselves.

All dogs that have been bred by people are domesticated. Huskies, definitely. African Wild Dogs, no.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Yes, and we human companions are members of the pack.

Sadie is so thrilled when Paul and I are sitting in the same room together. She lies down, contentedly, between us and won’t move. When we’re not together, and she’s unhappy about that, she herds us; she approaches the “stray” pack member, barks, and leads that person in the right direction.

YARNLADY's avatar

Oh, I thought you meant do they carry packs for us.
Yes, they have a pack instinct, substituting humans for their “pack”.

longgone's avatar

To those who said yes – can you clarify? What does “being a pack animal” mean?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Like humans,in a way. We are usually “part of a tribe.” Dogs know, that person/people they are bonded to, are part of their “pack.” There is a hierarchy, of sorts. They have a sort of rank. For instance, my mother’s chihuahua, saw her as a resource provider, or leader of the pack, and therefore would protect her, and put her life in danger to protect her pack.

My Wanda, was similar. She understood that I was the alpha. She followed rank, and as such protected me, and at the same time, would follow my command s.
Lots of breeds, like retrievers, will go to any lengths, to do tasks, for the alpha. I have had dogs that would have walked through fire for me.
They have an instinctive understanding of what their rank is…

One of my favorite stories, though not a good one is as follows. A family was traveling down a dirt road, in foggy conditions. The family dog started running along side the car along a dirt road, and barking. It eventually threw itself under the tires, of the family car. The dog was killed. The family was perplexed. But it turns out that the families son, had gotten injured, on the road, and was injured, and lying in the path of the family vehicle. The dog sacrificed itself, to protect the child, from being run over. It tried to warn them.When all options were worn out, it threw itself under the car. It wasn’t clear, until all facts were gathered, that the dog knew that one of it’s younger members of the pack was in danger, that it sacrificed itself, to save the child… Who would have been run over, if not for the dog running under the vehicle’s tires, causing them to stop…

That, is a tribe/pack mentality. The dog knew that it should place it’s life, over the child’s. It understood that the child, was most important, and gave it’s life, to save it…

longgone's avatar

@MrGrimm888 So it means being a socially aware animal, to you? That is undisputed. Thanks!

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Perhaps, not in those words, but yes…

janbb's avatar

I think pack animal is usually used to mean that dogs acknowledge a “pecking order” in their tribe and I believe this is the concept that is currently being critiqued by animal behaviorists..

Of course, donkeys are in actuality, “pack animals” but that’s a different meaning of the term.

Patty_Melt's avatar

There is pack hunting, and pack behaviors, which refers to pecking order as is observed by pack hunters, only without the actual kill together part.

Yellowdog's avatar

When I was in Cherokee, Alabama—just about ALL the dogs in a particular area of town ran around in a large “pack” at night. Well, maybe about 30–40 dogs. The dogs did not seem to think people were supposed to be out at night—that was THEIR domain. Evidently all the dogs went back home by morning. Probably it wasn’t ALL the dogs but it was probably most of them.

Inspired_2write's avatar

A few years ago while hiking we came upon a herd of Elk which isn’t unusual in a National Park system, but when the herd parted a bit a lone weak ragged dog appeared with them.
To make a long story short;
1. Tourists lost there dog a couple of years ago when it ran off.
2. This lone dog would had starved if it didn’t roam with the Elk herd ,as it ate and drank when ever the Elk did as well as it was protected by the huge Elk too.
3. Eventually it was caught and was well looked after until the owners were found.
It may simply be survival instinct that kicked in otherwise it would be killed by predators.

In some cases dogs became part of a wild pack of wolves.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dogs and elk don’t eat the same things, so what did he eat @Inspired_2write? Elk are herbivores. Dogs are mostly carnivores.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Berries and leaves as we observed. Poor dog was so afraid of humans that we couldn’t get close to it.
A month or two later it was picked up and survived.

Sagacious's avatar

Yes, they can and will become part of a pack.

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