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Dogs hierarchy and stick carrying?

(6 Posts)
dollyjo Thu 11-Feb-16 11:08:25

I had 3 dogs, 2 well behaved Beardies and a very naughty but loveable pug. The eldest Beardie, Bella, died at 11 yrs. during Christmas week. She was a stick carrier and would keep it with her on all walks then bringing it back home, dropping it at the door - ready for her next walk.
Tilly, 6 yrs., was a 'take it or leave it ' type of stick carrier. She may decide to carry one and then leave it when she got fed up of carrying it. That is until Bella died.

Tilly now carries a stick in the same way that Bella did. Picking it up at home and dropping it at the door when we return. It is not the same stick that Bella had and so it is not Bella's scent on the stick.
Is carrying a stick a status thing with dogs? Or is there another explanation

Before someone tells me that it is dangerous for dogs to carry sticks, I think it is a characteristic of some breeds and Bella used to drop it if she was 'free running' and come back for it to continue her walk.

GrannyPiggy Thu 11-Feb-16 11:56:26

I can't really answer your question specifically about sticks because having owned several dopy dobermans who seem to think a log is to be used to take out the knees of ones owners I know discourage stick / log carrying !
However there is always a leader in our pack and luckily at the moment it is our 5 year old ridgeback Meg who came in and overthrew our crazy Doberman Shadow ( now 11 ) and helps keep him calm
Years ago it was our jack Russell kept everyone in order

Auntieflo Thu 11-Feb-16 12:28:35

Our DD's german shepherd used to always find a stick/log to carry when walking. The bigger the better. We do miss him, he was my surrogate dog, and I loved him lots, but he was kept in order by our cairn terrier.

NanaandGrampy Thu 11-Feb-16 12:55:37

That's really interesting behaviour dollyjo .

Not sure if this might explain it.

In 2009, Bristol University published a paper showing that social status in dogs is in constant flux, it’s fluid, what one dog will find of value another will quite readily give it up as he finds something else more valuable instead, for example:

A resident Labrador carries a stick everywhere he goes when out for a walk, a rescue cross breed is introduced into the household of the Labrador. The first few times they go for a walk together the cross breed dog tries to take the stick away from the Lab. With absolutely no aggression or conflict, just using body language and calming signals the cross breed dog soon learns to not bother even trying to get the stick. He has just learnt the Lab values carrying the stick above anything else at that moment.

They are then walked to a large secure field where off lead play time ensues. The Lab then will drop the stick for the cross breed to play fetch with the owner. Why I hear you ask? Because at the field they meet up with friends and their dogs and the Lab loves to play fight with his friend the chocolate Labrador, he values the play fight more than carrying the stick. The cross breed dog values the game of fetch with the owner more than play fighting with other dogs although he does if the mood takes him, usually when there’s no stick to play fetch with.

When the leads get clipped on to go home the cross breed dog relinquishes the stick for the Lab to carry home as he knows the Lab values the stick for carrying and the cross breed dog values the walk home with the owner more than carrying a stick.

So, that might indicate Tilly recognised Bella liked to carry a stick and so didn't challenge her for it because she valued the walk more than the stick. Now without Bella she can have both.

Just a thought smile

I'm sorry for your loss, dogs leave a hole in your heart and life x

dollyjo Thu 11-Feb-16 18:46:22

I value your comments especially NanaandGrampy that explanation really fits with my Beardies' behavour. When Tilly was a puppy, she used to try to take Bella's stick from her but never managed it. Now she can have her own stick for the whole of the walk. The pug doesn't carry sticks!

Dolly the pug is a rescue dog around 6 yrs old now. I think she has been used for breeding and was grossly overweight when we took her in. She is now a lean machine and so naughty with it. She is so greedy and because she can now jump, she will tackle any height to get to food. eg A whole birthday cake but she left the marzipan. Christmas chocolates still in the cellophane and cardboard box. Both of which we thought were out of her reach. She is a treasure though and permanently 'glued' to my husband's side.
One thing she doesn't like is siren's. I wonder if she was a police dog in her earlier life. She is certainly 'the boss' in our family. To look at her, you wouldn't think butter would melt...

NanaandGrampy Thu 11-Feb-16 19:08:46

She's super cute dollyjo .

I'm glad the research rang a bell with you re your lovely beardies .

We once had a spaniel who cleared the chocolate off our Christmas tree then ate an entire box of cigars !! They seem to have steel tummies smile