Description of the situation:
My dogs, none littermates, quickly formed a pack, and 2 of them I used to run in agility.
My small pack (3 8,9,10-yearolds) toy dogs, and they show no sign of slowing down. and all want to be in my lap.
There's a frequent occurrence I don't understand.
A is on my lap B is on the floor, considering at length jumping up on my lap too.
C is nearby on another soft chair by herself.
A senses B is thinking about jumping up on my lap, and starts growling at B.

C reacts by jumping up on my lap from the other side, and starts growling at the growling A.
What's the dynamics here? Why is C called to challenge and give stink eye to A, who is warning B not to come and take her space?
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Description of the situation: My dogs, none littermates, quickly formed a pack, and 2 of them I used to run ... called to challenge and give stink eye to A, who is warning B not to come and take her space?[/nq]Is it always the same dogs which are involved? Is one dog always doing the same action. If dog C is always the same dog, then it would appear he/she is exerting their dominance on the other two dogs. If it is always the same three dogs and they always do the same thing, then I would say C is Alpha, and the other two haven't quite figured out who is who in the pack order yet. If it is always different dogs involved, do your dogs ever get into fights.

If they do, do you immediately break them up, or do you give them a chance to settle it themselves first. In the case of similarly sized dogs, where one does not have a definite advantage over the other, it is best to allow them to settle it themselves. Only step in if one of them appears to actually be in danger. Most fights won't actually lead to any serious injuries, and if they are not able to establish their pack order, they will just keep having issues.
Most fights won't actually lead to any serious injuries, and if they are not able to establish their pack order, they will just keep having issues.

I'm not sure what you mean by "fight" here, but I'd absolutely intervene in an actual, physical fight. Snarking is a different matter, and while I keep an eye on it I tend to let it go. Dogs typically do not establish pack order by fighting. I have no idea where this myth came from but I really wish it would go away.

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

Bad policies lead to bad results.
What's the dynamics here? Why is C called to challenge and give stink eye to A, who is warning B not to come and take her space?

Without seeing it happen, it's difficult to say exactly what's happening, so take what I say as a FWIW.
FWIW, this sounds more like resource guarding than pack/alpha/dominance stuff. In this case, you're the resource, making it easy for you to control the resource. Make the resource disappear when one of your dogs lays claim to it by standing up and not paying any particular attention to the dogs.

Certainly, don't let them fight it out.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Thank you and the Longest, for your replies, and Ifmyfriends', pack-challenge.
Pack behavior is downright fascinating if one figures it out right, I see that it is repetitive. Having a pack inside the house gives more observation oppty's.
There has been a history of sudden to-the-death-altracations that ended up in several stitches. It was over who got the "best" spot in my bed with me in it, and it happened under the covers(!) and I couldn't get out bed fast enough. I've decided these sudden, lightening fast confrontations are far more likely to happen in a confined space than out in the open, and I resist saving some money when boarding by putting them together in the same kennel, instead separate them . People that work at boarding kennels don't realize that these cute little fuzzy females can turn into snapping Jaws in a hot second. But anyway, in this case, B won, and to this day the other two don't even get in B's spot EVEN WHEN B IS NOT AT HOME.
This goes on every day at least once. There is something about the spot in my recliner next to my left leg that is highly sought after. There is no interest at all in the spot next to my right leg, at least initially, but frequently I will find all 3 dogs asleep in my lap,, in exactly the same positions every time. But it starts out as I described A gets there first and growls at B, but eventually B sort of worms her way in and is partially on top of A, which annoys A very much.
X= me
A-X-C
B
Is it possible that each favorite place must be settled?
Is it possible that each favorite place must be settled?

It sounds to me as if at least one of your dogs is resource guarding, with you as the resource. I have a *** who, left to her own devices, thinks she ought to be allowed to resource guard me. It's not a behavior I am willing to put up with. If she did something like that in bed, she'd very quickly find herself demoted to sleeping in her crate.

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
Most fights won't actually lead to any serious injuries, and ... establish their pack order, they will just keep having issues.

Most things which people call a fight, aren't really a fight that is why they won't lead to injury. It is more a show than anything else. But if you prevent them from performing their shows, they will never settle on a pack order, and so disputes will continue to arise.
Most things which people call a fight, aren't really a fight that is why they won't lead to injury. It ... them from performing their shows, they will never settle on a pack order, and so disputes will continue to arise.

I'm still not clear what you mean by "fight." Most negotiation between dogs is really very subtle. I've seen a couple of fights to settle pack status but it's the exception rather than the rule.
I can think of words that might be more descriptive, like "dispute," "conflict," "contention," and undoubtedly a myriad of others. It seems to me that if you're going to tell people that it's okay to let their dogs fight because otherwise they won't settle pack structure you might want to consider defining what you mean by "fight" because, well, if you can't tell why I just don't know.
Personally, I allow gestures, I allow very low-key growling, I do not allow lunging, baring of teeth, or hard-*** growling, and I CERTAINLY do not allow fighting. Ever.
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Bad policies lead to bad results.
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