It doesn't feel right asking about abstractions in the thread about Kelly's loss.
Has anyone experience or observations of packs of hunting dogs? I'm a fan of Rita Mae Brown's 'Mrs. Murphy' mysteries. (Just the right amount of anthropomorphism for me. Emotion: smile But, I gave up her foxhunting series because I keep thinking she's concealing things. (She did describe a dog being peppered with ratshot for straying from the pack. She then entered the dogs mind where it realized that it had deserved it. Uh, huh. That's where I stopped reading her.) Is it possible for kennelled dogs to have a really full life? How close is their relationship to a person they see mostly for training? Is this a case, as in Perry's observation, when pack structure is firmer than their relationship to an owner?
Melinda, may I move your comment over here?
My experience has been that dogs that live together will form a relationship, even if it's a bad one.=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Melinda Shore

Mine exhibit only tolerance. Could it be because I interact with each of them too much, so they don't need each other?
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Mine exhibit only tolerance. Could it be because I interact with each of them too much, so they don't need each other?

When they interact, what do you do? Do you interrupt ("I want to play, too").

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Since January 2001 the federal budget outlook for 2002-2011 has deteriorated by $8.8 trillion.
Is it possible for kennelled dogs to have a really full life?

I am only going to answer this, because it is the only one I could offer a decent question/comment on.
Whose definition of full life are we talking about?

We have to be careful, IMO, with questions like this because it is very easy to start applying our ideas of what is a full life to a dog.

From the dog's point of view, why would it not be a good life? They get to live with a bunch of other beings that look exactly like them, think like them, and act like them. There is very little questioning in what they can or cannot do, their place in the pack, etc.
But from our point of view, there is none of the human-dog interaction that humans define as being better for a dog.
Marcel
Melinda, may I move your comment over here? My experience ... will form a relationship, even if it's a bad one.

Mine exhibit only tolerance. Could it be because I interact with each of them too much, so they don't need each other?

I think alot of dogs only tolerate their canine housemates, particularly when they're not of the same breed. At least that's been an offhand observation of mine. My 10yo Min. Dachshund, Pebbles, has always only tolerated Fancy the 5-6yo Boxer. Fancy would love to play with her but Pebbles won't have any of it. They're not close, they don't share anything, Fancy is even petrified to lay on the huge dog bed if Pebbles is already on it (ok, alot of it is respect for Pebbles' status).

The only time we have seen anything more than tolerance is when Fancy is sick. When she's sick Pebbles goes to her willingly and tries to clean her ears & licks her mouth (its really very funny since Fancy's head is bigger than Pebbles' whole body). I believe its an individual dog thing but I do think there's a breed component in there. I've seen very few Boxers who didn't LOVE other dogs as playmates, particularly other Boxers, while I've also seen a good many Dachshunds who preferred to be only-dogs and only tolerated others.

Tara
Marcel, you frame the crux of my question better than I did:
From the dog's point of view, why would it not be a good life? They get to live with a ... it that way, but rather the question, "When we took dogs into our lives, did we do them a service?"

As you point out, a relatively 'humanless' pack may be more to a dog's liking. OTOH, the wild dogs of Africa teeter on the brink of extinction while domestic dogs suffer from over-population, which, I suppose, is one definition of success.
I wonder, sometimes, if the excesses some of us are willing to engage in for our animals is the result of guilt. Knowing we've deprived them of a 'natural' life, we try to compensate however we can.
It doesn't feel right asking about abstractions in the thread aboutKelly's loss. Has anyone experience or observations of packs of hunting dogs? Is it possible for kennelled dogs to have a really full life?

I have only limited, anecdotal experience with this. I was a member of a hunt club as a teen. The farm at which the club was based kept a pack of working hounds kenneled there.
These dogs were not, in my opinion, well cared for. They were dirty, seemingly over crowded, and I never saw them outside the kennel save during hunt season. Now, there /must/ have been more going on to keep these dogs in shape, but I never saw it. Is this typical for working packs? I surly hope not, and doubt that it is. However I think Marcel posed a good question: What is a "full life" for a dog? Before your question can be answered, that must be known.
I don't think these dogs had a "full life" because they were not able to indulge in regular activity. Perhaps if they hunted every week, rather than just every week from November to April. Perhaps if their minds were given more to do on a daily basis than they were. I suspect there are well maintained packs that live perfectly satisfying lives.

How close is their relationship to a
person they see mostly for training?

See above. Does a relationship with a human define what is a "full life"? If they are otherwise engaged, who cares?
Is this a case, as in Perry's observation, when pack structure is firmer than their relationship to an owner?

Perry's statement seems to be a comment on poor training and management, not something that is considered inevitable or normal, as such. It certainly could happen without proper training and attention.
Mine exhibit only tolerance. Could it be because I interact with each of them too much, so they don't need each other?

What is "too much"? Too much for what? For whom? Do you want them to need each other, or just enjoy one another? Do you prevent them from interacting?

I live with five dogs. A pack by anyone's definition I'm sure. "The girls", that's Bren and Boo, have a very close relationship with one another, their dam, Shane and Fanny. Shane and Delphi tolerate one another, but there is clearly no love lost between them. Shane likes Fan but that's about it. Delphi hates Fan and will bully her if she pays any attention to her at all. However, if any member of the group is threatened, they all react to protect the pack. Sure, Delphi hates Fan, but she doesn't want other dogs messing with her. That's Delphi's job! So they are individuals and have individual relationships which I cannot make or break. I only moderate what behavior (fighting, etc) is or is not acceptable. But I can't make them like or dislike one another.Just fwiw: "The girls" are littermates and very bonded with one another. However, I have no problem with either dog. They respect me, and I have never, ever had a problem with them paying more attention to one another or blowing me off as a result. In fact, Brenna and Booboo pay /more/ attention to me than Delphi does, and Delphi was an only dog at least for a little while before Shane showed up. I attribute that to a difference in temperament, and that I'm a better dog owner now than I was when I first got Delphi.

So the whole idea of dogs blowing off their owners because there are too many or are they are "more bonded" to one another seems to be purely a management/training issue and not the mere fact of their being more dogs. I'd have to say that I feel the girls have benefited greatly from being in a pack: they are wonderful at the dog park and are very keen to dog-dog relations. They know dog etiquette.

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There are those to whom you dare not mention PETA because of a remark that Ingrid Newkirk once made (which ... it that way, but rather the question, "When we took dogs into our lives, did we do them a service?"[/nq]That is something that we will never know. All that we can do is compare before and after. And we don't really know before. What did we give them?? Health, security, constant food source, comfortable place to sleep. Personally, I think that we did them a favor. The life of dogs (along with any number of domesticated animals) is tied permanantly to that of us humans, and there is nothing that we could do about it now.

For people like PETA to think that they could put them back to the wild is completely absurd. Since we have domesticated them, the majority of dogs have lost teh ability to live in the wild. Think of the dogs that would do very poorly in the wild. Most really big, really small, or specialized dogs would be dead within a couple of generations.
As you point out, a relatively 'humanless' pack may be more to a dog's liking. OTOH, the wild dogs of Africa teeter on the brink of extinction while domestic dogs suffer from over-population, which, I suppose, is one definition of success.

Yup. The success of dogs is directly linked to that of humans. There is no other animal in the world that has had as much success as dogs. Since their path got linked to ours, their success has took off.
I wonder, sometimes, if the excesses some of us are willing to engage in for our animals is the result of guilt. Knowing we've deprived them of a 'natural' life, we try to compensate however we can.

Don't say that we have deprived them of a natural life. Don't foget, for most dogs, for the past umpteen thousand generations, this has been their life. They have had no life in the wild. There is a small proportion of dogs that actually work for a living in the way that they were bred to do. And I am not talking about the people who work their dogs along AKC or whatever other herding organisation is out there. I am talking about herding thousands of sheep/cows/whatever day in and day out.
Personally, I feel no guilt whatsoever for depriving Moogli of living in the wild. He was a runt. His mother hid him in the house 4 times. He would have died in the wild, unless socks or bounce sheets were found naturally in the wild.
Marcel
I think alot of dogs only tolerate their canine housemates, particularly when they're not of the same breed. At least that's been an offhand observation of mine.[/nq]We have very different mixed breed dogs with two old & one young dog. As a pack, they are very tight. They all seem to be very close and seem to like each other very much. Two of the three are extremely other dog (actually other animal) aggresive. Each of them is very protective of the others in the pack. If one dog alerts, the other two come running. They show little doggie signs of affection with each other every day, like neck nibbling or sleeping together.

They like to gently play together. Once in a blue moon they will have a little spat, but that's usually my fault for not better managing the occasional most excellent treats, Spats end before they really begin when I simply say "unh uh." We consistantly encourage them to behave sweetly with each other and they do, This is obviously just an anecdotal observation of our troika.
When they interact, what do you do? Do you interrupt ("I want to play, too").

Further, do dogs need to play with one another? "Shouldn't my dogs need only me? I should be the most interesting thing in my dog's life."
A serious question, I'm in a bit of a real-life dispute.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
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