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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Brut and Fiona's Relationship-Alpha and Omega

Brut and Fiona have this awesome relationship that started when Fiona was young.  They have a proper pack relationship.  Fiona automatically submits to Brut.  When Brut corrects Fiona, it is usually only for a few seconds and then they are off play bowing and chasing each other.  She keeps her head and tail lower than him, staying close to the ground if needing to submit immediately.  To me it is completely fascinating, as the only other time I have seen this hierarchy in action is during documentaries about wolves.

When there isn't an friction between them, they are basically equal and I have witnessed Brut give in to Fiona many times.  Fiona is amazing in her speed and wit and can usually outsmart Brut with a single move, but when Brut calls rank, she is down.  No questions, no challenge, no nothing.  Consider me an equal opportunist but I've have never completely understood the purpose of the lower ranked dogs.  They are always cowering and look like they've been beaten, but somehow I understand in witnessing this respectful relationship between Fiona and Brut how powerful it can really be.

I have always wanted to record a full blown account of this Alpha-Omega in action, but this was the closest I could find.  In this video from last fall, you can see in the beginning as Fiona meets Brut at his level, then her head starts to drop, then her tail, until she is sitting.  It is like bowing with the ultimate respect and having it returned.  That is the part that blows me away. 

Brut and Fiona's relationship is the most direct form of the Alpha-Omega relationship that I have witness between the four Back Dogs and I find myself in a bit of awe about it.  How about you? 

For those of you with more than one dog do you see this same dominance-submission traits in your pack?  


5 comments:

Pamela said...

It's so fascinating to watch the way dogs behave around each other. They communicate so much through body language.

And I'm so slow in comparison I loved the video I can watch a few times to see what i've missed.

The scientist, David Mech, who publicized the term Alpha for wolves now talks about how family structure is even more important for understanding wolves.

Since your dogs are literally a family, you might find his comments interesting. Here's a link to him talking about it on a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtFgdwTsbU.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Pack order is so fascinating. When we had Dakota, as a young dog she was alpha in all ways. As she aged, she conceded a lot of her need to be top dog except when it came to food. Phantom and Thunder always recognized her as the leader but were very comfortable in their roles too. Now I am not sure we have an out and out Alpha. The three dogs really do seem to live in harmony with no need for a boss. Phantom will bring out the fun police at times but it is all a guise for his really wanting to play too. Thunder could care less about being in control. He just loves life. And Ciara is bossy but it is all play. So far she really has no desire to be the alpha, but I do think that as she gets older, she will be the leader.

Fascinating stuff.

Corbin said...

We currently have a very dominate foster dog, Money. While Corbin isn't overly dominate, he has a very sly way of showing other dogs that he's the boss. Even Money, who I have seen dominate top dogs, will submit to Corbin. We have yet to see a foster dog show dominance over Corbin...
-Corbin's momma Jenn

Linda said...

I had a male Husky (Jake) who I just loved to watch when all of the other dogs were in one room together. If he wanted to sit in a chair or on the couch, all he had to do was look at the one in "his" spot and they would quietly get up and move. I thought it was one of the coolest things to watch. The only one who wouldn't move was my female Husky (Cheyanne). My huskies were definitely the two dominant ones in my pack.

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

We are daily amazed at the interactions of the White Dog Army...and we are fascinated that adding a fifth dog was so different than adding number 3 or 4. Now it seems there is a lot more pack type maneuvering that goes on. Of course we are still in the adjustment period, YoYoMa has only been with us 3 months. We learn so much reading your blog.