Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dogs Don’t Share

Have you ever had two or more dogs living together under one household? Well if you have I am sure you’ve experienced their lack of ability to share. The article, Why Dogs Don’t Share, by Daniel Estep and Suzanne Hetts clearly explains how the meaning of sharing is different for dogs and humans. A typical person who owns two or more dogs will try and divide everything between the dogs equally. Well, if they do this they will notice that one dog will always try to take stuff away from the other. This is because dogs don’t live by equality they live by a dominance hierarchy

Dogs rank themselves from high to low. The top dog is most often called the alpha , the second ranking dog the beta, and so on and so forth. They rank themselves to determine who gets what first. They determine rank status by threats and aggression. When all the ranking is sorted out there are no fights or threats, because the submissive dogs just wait their turn and give the more dominate dogs their way. Overall, dogs are meant to live this way and humans need to let them go through their process or else they will never get along.

Posted By: Chantal Gomes (2)


Response to Amy Kawazoe
Yes, this does still occur when dogs in the same house get along. The fact that they have a ranking system has nothing to do with whether or not they get along. This is just a dogs way of life. They develop a ranking system no matter what.

Response to Julie Riley
Giving each dog a certain amount of stuff each day actually doesn't help them at all. All this does is enforce human sharing, equality, on the dogs. This will not teach the dogs anything or prevent them from going about their natural instinct of ranking. Therefore, there is no way they can adopt to lose this behavior, it is a part of their lifestyle.

Response to Amanda Joyce
Dogs base dominance on threats and aggression. Basically, they fight their way up to the top. Whoever can defeat the others gains dominance.

Response to Katie Cole
Cats do have a hierarchy. The hierarchy between cats and dogs is quite different. Dogs have and absolute hierarchy where an individual holds a position until it is beat for its place. Cats on the other hand have a relative hierarchy where individuals switch position depending on the situation. You can read more about it here.


At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dogs are more like wolves then people know. It is impressive how submissive dogs just wait their turn instead of trying to become "top dog", like most humans would do. I just got a kitten and the same thing occured within my house. The new kitten was the "alpha" in a sense because she is always trying to steal the food from the other two cats, and seems to think she owns the house. Do you think there is some kind of hierarchy system in cats as well? I never would of thought so because cats are so independent and laid back, but perhaps so.

Posted by: Katie Cole

At 2:09 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Dogs are nice and friendly animal to human, but in their society it is different story. As you say, dog has their top and bottom society system. One day, I was watching an animal channel. The channel showed a house, which had more than ten dogs. The TV shows showed me a lot about their society and how they behaved. It was so different than what I expected to see from them because they were not that nice to each other. It was very interesting shows to me. This article reminded me the TV shows.

So Jin Lee

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not find this surprising at all. My friend's two dogs look like they get along and share everything, but once you look closer they tend to horde things for themselves. Is it possible to train them to share various things, or is this built into them so to speak.

Duy Nguyen

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Dan said...

I find it interesting that the beta dogs will eventually just accept that they are 'inferior' to the alpha dog. Do dogs have an ego? I would imagine it must hurt somewhere having to be so submissive.

~Dan Hong

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to be like a sibling rivalry. Is this true for all different dogs, because from my experience some dogs are really laid back, or would that just because they had given the power to the other dog and didn't need to have the alpha position. i think these are interesting questions and i wonder if they have been addressed.

-Amanda Joyce

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do dogs decide who is the more dominate one? I have a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire Terrier. They are about the same size and female, but the chihuahua is older. The chihuahua doesn't really like to share so is she the dominate one?

-Sasha Rogers

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can domestic dogs fight for their position of ranking?

- David Huynh

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if dogs will always be this way. In the wild they need to establish rank in order to survive because of limited resources, which is understandable. However, since domestic dogs have a constant amount of food per day, toys, etc. would they adapt to lose this behavior? They don't have to fight for food so why would they still try to take it away. I wonder if this is something that could change over time or not. I agree with the statement that dogs shouldn't fight, a pitbull recently attacked my dog and it was very scary, dog fighting is extremely dangerous.

-Julie Riley

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see that even domesticated dogs still retain their natural instinct to develop a dominance hierarchy. I've never owned two dogs at once so I've never actually seen this, but does this occur even when dogs in the same home get along?

Amy Kawazoe

At 5:42 PM, Blogger PWH said...

The overall dominance hierarchy with dogs is a familiar subject, but I was wondering if the whole "alpha"/"beta" ranking system works as well when you have multiple female dogs. Also, if you do have multiple male dogs, does the hierarchy still play out the way it would if the dogs were neutered, and did not have the testosterone-driven mindset?

-Kiel Boutelle

At 5:51 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is an interesting, yet common characteristic that I have noticed among dogs. I have actually read about other animals like monkeys that act this way. It makes sense that they have the intuition to act this way in nature, however, since fitness will determine who survives in the group.


At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have many questions now. I have two dogs and they always fight over food. We try to train them to eat out of their own dishes, but they go for each others and not their own. Can they be trained to eat their own food? Also, I had a little Lhasa Apso for a couple of years and we recently got a bloodhound. They fight all of the time, but who would be the more dominant? The big female bloodhound who is new to the house or the little male Lhasa Apso who has been at my house for years?

-Alyson Paige

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Jen Kodela said...

Is there different levels of this competition between dogs within different breeds? If you have two different types of dogs is one more likely to be submissive to the other? Also, do dogs sometimes consider small children in this ranking, because my aunts dog always steals my little cousins blankets and toys.

-Jen Kodela

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Odmir Rodrigues said...

Dogs don't share is an interesting article and it catches the readers attention very easily, but I believe you should show the reason why dogs act in that particular way or if there is a physiological or anatomical reason behind that.

Odmir Rodrigues


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