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The Dog Wolf Link

Jul 6, 2008
Several of the wolf-like social behaviors of a dog are not things that endear them to us, and several have lost their social purpose to the dog. They are additions that God hasn't managed to shake yet. Like the humans, they range from purely useless to downright weird.

The complicated eliminatory patterns of dogs are a source of bewilderment and sorrow to many dog owners, but if it is any comfort, they don't make much sense for the dog, either. In wolves, the alpha male and the alpha female usually urinate with a raised leg; all other members of the pack normally squat. The raised-leg urinations include depositing relatively small amounts of urine in prominent places and on noticeable objects like flower beds. This almost has nothing to do with the needs of elimination and everything to do with territorial markers.

Several humans believe the often repeated tale that wolves only mark the perimeter of their territory in this way, as a "keep-out" signal. Studies in Minnesota discovered that wolves urine-mark throughout their territory. They also do this with their feces (scats) which are often deposited on prominent spots, too, such as trees, stumps, garbage cans, and even empty boxes on the street.

Wolf scats are also often found at trail junctions, usually in the immediate vicinity of rendezvous sites where growing wolf pups are left while older wolves go off to hunt for food. Their scent glands on either side of the anus serves to add an individually distinctive odor to scats, underlining their function as scent markers. The grazing of the ground that usually follows elimination by socially domineering wolves, and which some but not all dogs show, appears to be aimed at underlining the scent mark with a visual mark, or to reinforce it more straight with odor from glands in the paws. (Wolves are cautious while grazing up dirt or leaves throughout this action not to aim the dirt directly at the site of their eliminations.)

Dogs do not have intuition to keep such a large area clean; the opposite they have a significant instinct to thoroughly mark their surrounding area with both urine and feces. Wolves usually do this so that pack members can know when ever they are in their home territory. The main stimulus for raised-leg urination in wolves is not, the scent of a strange wolf's urine, but instead the existence of the wolf's own mark: there is a firm instinct to mark and remark sites along regularly traveled routes within the wolf's own location. It may be an almost routine response to the odor of urine. Laboratory studies have discovered that when the nasal lining of dogs is stimulated electrically, it sets off an immediate calmness of the urinary sphincter muscles.

Myth or Reality

There are many popular myths about dog / wolf connections, especially in science fiction books, television shows and movies. Here are some to take a look at just for fun:

1) Dogs, bitten by wolves, changes into wolves during a full moon.
2) These creatures in number 1 cannot be killed unless a silver bullet is used.
3) If they bite a human, a human will change into a werewolf.
4) All of the above must howl at full moons, and stalk prey...the next werewolve to be brought into the fold!

OOOOHHHHHHHHHahhhhhhhhhh!! Wow, is it Halloween time yet?
About the Author
Written by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies - for the top small dog carriers source, visit http://www.ohmydogsupplies.com/dog-supplies/dog-carriers/
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