The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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2 June 2010 The State of the Pack

June 3rd, 2010 · · Journal, Photo Gallery

I made this gallery to illustrate how much more apparent the cohesiveness of our little pack becomes when we move off territory. Each of us is constantly aware of the whereabouts of each of the others. The dogs check in with me and almost always come when called. They tag after each other, often sniffing or peeing (only Cleo and Benny) on the same things. I’ve seen them all sniffing the same dog at once and usually they just go through the procedure and then take off all at once, having apparently satisfied themselves that the dog under scrutiny is no problem to them.  We had a couple of tense moments this spring with Cleo exercising her penchant for large intact males and leading the rest of the pack to the vicinity of a fine specimen; unfortunately intact males of any size are the kind of dogs that I need to keep Benny away from.  But we were lucky and got a leash on Cleo and “leave it” was uttered before things got out of hand with Benny.

Arlo is just about a year old now and is typically enamoured of playing with other dogs. He even plays by himself, tossing toys and catching it, or dropping objects in water and knocking them around with his paws. He is a natural retriever,  especially in water. He is low dog on the totem pole but cheerful nonetheless. He remains confident with new dogs but somewhat less so with new people.  He can be a bit of a toy hoarder, walking around with two raw hides in his mouth while Benny and Cleo ignore him. I take them away because I can see how much it stresses him to have to guard the objects. His submissive displays are high dramas often culminating in peeing. I try to stage manage them outside. He is physically daring and unafraid of strange objects. He jumps through a hoop easily. He is gentle with people but he can be clumsy. In general he exudes an air of happiness. He’s glad he’s a dog. He’s glad he’s alive.

The last three pictures are of the dogs eating the frozen marrow bones they got that after the walk that day. The way I see it is that the walk replaces the hunt for the domestic dog pack and as the hunt, if it is successful, culminates in sharing food so should the walk.


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