Pack Leaders: the role
In the last few decades, there has been a sharp increase in the aggression levels of dogs. This has led to puppies and dogs of various breeds and sizes facing, sometimes fatal, conflicts with other dogs.
Often this violence has much more serious consequences than when concerning humans.
Paradoxically (but perfectly understandable), the most serious attacks occur most often in the family environment where the dog lives.
Interpretation of this phenomenon becomes understandable when its highlighted that a pack leader feels itself as the owner of its living environment and considers its family as “subjects”.
It seems logical from its perspective, to put in line the “puppy” of the human being.
What is less logical is the clearly disproportionate and particularly violent proof of its leadership.
In fact the rules of the pack dictates the leader exercise demonstrative action when necessary, but without causing serious injury and never killing. This behavior extends to even those who aspire to take its place. Contrary to the expression, dog does not eat dog.
Frequent episodes of violence from dogs towards family members (often directed towards the neck or face, a very serious action from an ethology point of view) requires objective analysis, not preconceived notions.
Aggression situations in dogs
Dogs are social animals that live in a packs, and for the same reasons of survival, the presence of a pack leader is strictly necessary. In a pack there will be a maximum of two or three members with an instinct for dominance.
Their hierarchy is established through fighting, possibly bloody but never deadly.
The strongest will become the leader and his authority will be established. He will mount the females and guide the pack in hunting food and exploring territory.
All will follow his rule until, because of age, sickness, or another reason, his place will be taken by someone else.
A dogs behavior will be identical even when joining a human family. If he has the character of a follower, he will find it perfectly normal to become a member of the family and provide for everyones needs.
He will easily accept a higher hierarchy role from the family members, even the children.
If the dog has a dominant instinct, he will only accept a subordinate role if the owner is able to avoid committing any initial mistakes in communicating their authoritarian leadership.
If the message is not clear, it will be the start of a daily fight to settle who is truly in command.
Very often the situation is not clarified, which establishes an opportunity for the animal to take the role as pack leader.