Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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Dogs

Why Do Dogs Form Packs?

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
May 23 ·
why dogs form packs

Some dog breeds prefer to be alone and be the only dog (or pet) in the house. However, plenty of other breeds love to have another dog or two around as a playmate. It depends on their temperament and their personality. However, it’s also a survival instinct. So, why do dogs form packs? Let’s talk about it. 

Why Dogs Form Packs In The Wild

Wolves form packs to work together to survive. So, for example, they’ll breed and hunt together. On the other hand, wild dogs will form packs but not necessarily for this reason.

In a way, it is for survival, but the dogs don’t necessarily work together. They know there are strengths in numbers, and the pack will last only about 1.5 to two weeks before the dogs move on. After that, they’ll either be by themselves or join a different pack for a week or two. They join temporarily to hunt and eat together, but that’s about it.

These packs will form by a large dog barking loudly until other dogs come to join it. The largest dog in the group is considered to be the leader.

How Many Dogs Are Typically In A Pack?

A pack of wild dogs can range anywhere from two dogs to as many as 40 wild dogs. However, the typical average of these packs is about seven to 15 dogs. 

Most packs compose of the same sex. Females will stick together while males will stick to their own as well. Offspring may stay with their pack until they’re about two years old before going to a different pack of the same sex.

The dogs do this to avoid inbreeding. However, when they’re ready to mate, they’ll join another pack with the opposite sex.

What Happens When Two Packs Meet?

In most cases, different packs of dogs aren’t friendly toward one another. Instead, they’ll often fight each other, being territorial. Or they’ll fight over some prey.

Unfortunately, this often results in some dogs getting serious wounds and injuries. In some cases, some of the dogs will end up getting killed.

Do Dogs See Their Human Family As Pack Members?

Domesticated dogs do view their families as pack members. Packs go in order by rank, such as alpha, beta, and omega. So, your dog may view you as the alpha, or the leader, of the pack.

On the other hand, if your dog isn’t trained properly, they might believe themselves to be the pack leader. Also, if you have young children at home, your dog may believe them to be omega. As a result, your dog will believe they rank higher than the kids, thus protecting them.

This is one of the reasons why training your dog is essential. You want them to know that you’re the one in charge so that they’ll always listen and respect you.

How To Tell If Your Dog Thinks Of You As The Pack Leader

Dogs have a way of showing us who they believe the pack’s leader is. For example, they’ll do the following.

First, they’ll follow you around. Even if they’re comfortable in the house, they’ll want to know where you are. If you’re cooking, you can be sure that your doggo will be there. Leaders are supposed to lead the way, so your dog will follow you wherever you go.

Since the leader is always supposed to lead, your dog will let you go through the door first. If you’re bringing them for a car ride or a walk, the dog will not dart outside first when you leave the house. Instead, they’ll wait until you step outside, and then they’ll follow your lead. 

In addition, they won’t try to steal food from you. They might beg you at the dinner table, but they won’t snatch food out of your hand. Also, the dog will shower you will love, affection, kisses, and cuddles. This means they love you, but they’re also seeking your approval. 

If you have a staring contest with your dog and break eye contact first, that’s another sign that they believe you’re the alpha or the leader. Breaking eye contact first is a sign of submission. 

Finally, your dog will remain calm in a stressful situation if you’re present. If you’re with them, they’ll trust you to know what to do. This is another sign that your dog believes you’re the leader because the leader is supposed to handle stressful situations.

Are You The Pack Leader In Your House?

Dogs form packs to survive. They’ll hunt together and mate together to keep the pack going. However, not all wild dogs will stick to the same pack. Domesticated dogs will always follow the pack leader, whether you, your partner or another dog in the house. 

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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