Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Submit Photo: 3
Photo Submissions 66 Times in 66 Posts
here is more from Patricia McConnell.
"Here’s what “dominance” ISN’T: It has nothing to do with decision-making about the actions of a group or one other individual. There is no relationship in the literature between who decides when to move on, where to go or what to do. Period. (Bookmark this point!)
It has nothing to do with “who’s in front.” (In prey animals, the ‘dominant’ member of the group is often found in the middle of the herd if the group is in an area that might be dangerous.)
It is not fixed and immutable: Who “has dominance” can vary in time (as one individual ages for example), in space (one individual can have it in one area and not another) and in context (perhaps one individual with dominance doesn’t like pork chops.) In some species it appears to be linear (as in chickens, for example, in which if A is over B, and B is over C, then A is always over C). In most social mammals, it is non-linear and much, much more fluid and complicated.
It is highly influenced by resource distribution: “Clumped, high quality resources” tend to exaggerate social hierarchies, which probably explains why captive wolves appear to be absolutely obsessed with hierarchy, while wild wolves appear to be more relaxed about issues related to social status. (Keep this in mind for later when we talk about studies on feral dogs versus owned dogs.)
It is usually maintained by visual or chemical displays that are innate and are species-specific. It can be achieved by an initial fight in which one individual wins and the other backs off, or, more commonly, by nothing more than the types of display specific to that species. (Think high tail, erect ears and forward posture of a captive wolf). If the individuals continue to fight over a resource, then there is not an established hierarchy.
It is not a relationship desired equally by all individuals in a group. In complex social societies, not everyone is equally motivated to be first in line for the goodies. In our species, for example, some people would love the status associated with being famous, while others would consider a guarantee of a great table at a restaurant to be a poor trade for losing their privacy and would avoid it at all costs. In some species, high status is associated with increased responsibility, which can be dangerous and burdensome".
Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild