Well, recently I boarded a couple of dogs who were kind enough to act distinctly pack-ish, and display awesome pack behavior! And then they did it on video. Woo hoo!
Before we move on to the video, let’s talk about the dogs involved, from youngest to oldest. First we have Captain. Captain is an 11-12 week old black lab, and firmly in the throes of puppyhood! He’s the baby.
Next we have Bella. Bella is a 1-1.5 year old labradoodle. She’s in adolescence, coming up on adulthood. While physically she’s able to have puppies, it would be like a 17 or 18 year old human having puppies: they could make it work, yes, but ideally they’re still baby sitting other peoples’ kids and learning how to be an adult and then, eventually, how to be a parent.
Cash (a king shepherd) is next in the age range. At 4-coming-on-5, he’s shifting out of the ideal parenting age. Between about 2 and 5 dogs are at their strongest and most resilient, in many ways. They are the equivalent of our 20-40 year old humans. The younger the dogs are, the more of a playful parent they are. The older, the less playful, but still with the patience and wisdom needed to be a good parent. That’s the stage Cash is in: he’s no longer super playful with the puppies, but he’s still a good “dad”!
Finally, we have Lily. Lily turned 8 this summer, and she’s never been overly interested in puppies to begin with. Add to that the fact that she’s eight. While pit bulls generally live to be around 14, in the wild 8 would be elderly! She’s grandmother age, now, and is about as interested in dealing with pups as an elderly human would be. Fun for a little while, and then handed back to the parents!
You see these four stages in packs of dogs quite frequently (with the grandmother age being the rarest to see, given death rates in the wild). The adults — Cash — teach the puppies and adolescents manners, the adolescents babysit the puppies, and the grandparents do whatever they feel like doing. Ready to witness? Excellent!