a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Shadow is interesting. I am 99.9% convinced he is husky/wolf (versus any other dog mix.) And yet I think Angelus was still more of a true alpha dog. Angelus would walk into dog parks or on the beach and other dogs just respected him. There was none of the rushing him or trying to dominate him you see when there are a pack of dogs and a new one comes in. It was like they just knew. They would run up to him but then just stop. And sniff. And respect. He would never, ever start a fight. Not one in his life. But he did finish a few. And they were mostly when other dogs attacked Storm. As alpha, it was Angelus’ job to protect his pack. And he did. Of course, Storm started most of them because he wanted to be the underboss only to Angelus.

Shadow definitely tried to assert his dominance a bit in the house when he arrived. As a rescue I think that is normal as he is trying to figure out where his place in the pack is. As long as it is addressed immediately, it should be fine. And he has gotten much, much better in the few weeks we have had him. I still won’t have food around when both he and Storm are together but they have been doing better and you can tell he is a sweetheart. But he doesn’t try and crap with me anymore.

Around other dogs he is typically very jovial and playful and not aggressive but does do the humping thing which is a sign of him trying to show his dominance. And has smacked down dogs who try and steal his ball. That’s normal dog behavior though. But he has actually allowed a couple of other dogs to try & hump him. Crikey – Angelus would not have had ANY of that business. Ever. But I think that’s because other dogs just knew not to try it. I don’t recall a time when a dog did try it with him. Well, Storm tried it when he was an older puppy, not quite teenager age. Angelus smacked him down a few times and we had to pull them apart a couple times. And then Storm realized it just wasn’t going to happen and never tried again (with Angelus that is.)

Interestingly, you see these same behaviors in people. The male species much more but not always limited to boys. How many times is the term Alpha Male thrown around? In reality, most of the boys it is attached to are more beta than alpha. Constantly trying to jockey for position and show who is more alpha. A true alpha is known. He does not have to show he is alpha. At times he could be challenged and will deal with it, but doesn’t need to walk around trying to show the others how he is the boss all the time. He just is. It’s confidence and respect.

Go hang out with a group of investment bankers, lawyers, CEOs or athletes. Rather entertaining really. But no, they are not all alpha males. Maybe they want to be. But there is only 1 alpha (male/female) in each pack. And watching all of the betas try and impress the alpha or challenge the alpha can be interesting. Of course you also have the omega. Poor Omega.

Take a football team, you have a group of over-testosteroned guys who all view themselves as top dog material trying to outdo each other. But really – the coach, or in a few cases, the QB (looking at you Peyton), are the true alpha. No one gives him any guff or challenges him. Period. And they generally suck up a little in the hopes they will be the pack beta who gets to take over at some point when the alpha is not around. When the alpha wolf is not around, a beta can take over temporarily. When the alpha in injured or dies, a beta will step up and take over. With people, you will see this jockeying a LOT. How many VPs suck up to the CEO on a regular basis?

Michael Corleone is a good example. Vito was alpha. Michael took over as alpha even while Vito was around because at some point, the alpha will step back. And then you had all of the buffers in the pack who want to be next to him and hope to take over as well as the alphas of other packs (although wolf packs generally leave each other alone – they are much more civilized than humans.) Humans tend to have a 2nd in command in place like the true Beta wolf. Like Spock or Number 1 on Star Trek :) With humans he is more of a patient, alpha type as well who can and will step in at the right time and not just a pack member who wants to impress or simply be part of the pack or *think* he can fill the alpha role. Human packs tend to have a lot of those. That kind of behavior gets smacked down pretty quick in wolf packs.

Being an alpha male doesn’t mean you walk around bellowing and being obnoxious and showing off. It means you have the most freedom to go and do what you want. And the pack naturally follows you. You get to mate with the alpha female. And wolves are generally monogamous. Most male humans who think they are alpha male seem to think it also gives them the right to mate with all the females they can find. Tacky.

When I lost Angelus, and someone asked if I would get another dog and what kind, I thought about that for a second. I knew I would want another dog in my life but didn’t know when. But what I did know was that I wanted another one like him. No other dog will ever truly be the same as he was very special. But I knew I couldn’t have a submissive dog. At the beach you see the dogs that just run up to everyone, love everyone and roll and submit to every dog. They are always sweet doggies but they weren’t challenging. At all.

Angelus and Storm have always been my dogs. They love me and I never doubted that. I was alpha to them. And when people came up to pet them or stop them and see them, they could not have cared less about them. They cared about their pack – people and dogs who they came to know well. But that’s it. Everyone else was there to give them a treat or move on. Stormy was more friendly and effusive to strangers as a puppy but then I think he took an Angelus’ (or maybe my?) traits. I’m not sure what that says about me, but the idea of slobbery, goofy, run up to everyone to love them and roll over kinda dog was not going to happen. Ever. I actually got sad thinking about that possibility.

I know some people prefer that type of dog (or significant other) because they don’t want to be challenged. Just want the submissive. They say people choose dogs that look similar to them. I have actually seen that in real life. Weird actually! Well, I don’t have pointy ears so don’t think I look anything like a husky! But maybe it’s more you go for dogs that match you (not necessarily in looks.)

Huskies are considered challenging and not meant for first time dog owners. They are highly intelligent but get easily bored and need to stay stimulated. They are great problems solvers (i.e. will break into the fridge and out of the yard.) They are very independent but are loving with their pack. They are friendly but are not overly effusive dogs with just anyone (see Golden Retrievers or Labs.) I think our personalities match pretty well. For better or worse :)

I really hate when people use the term “throwing someone to the wolves” when referring to how someone wasn’t cared for properly, or how they would be on their own to fend for themselves in a harsh situation, or stuff like that.

Wolf packs actually care very much for their pack mates. Pups are cared for by not only the mother but the father and other pack mates.

So what people actually should be saying is throwing someone to the homo sapiens because you are much more likely to get a crappy parent/family/boss/etc from the humanoid world than from the Canis lupus one….

Would rather be raised by...