understanding dog pack behavior

Some useful tips about dog packs

Recently I attended a seminar hosted by Training By Tara, an Austin-based dog behaviorist. I picked up some valuable tips on working with dogs and, in particular, understanding how dogs think and behave when in a pack. A pack, of course, can be even an informal or temporary gathering of dogs, such as three or four dogs roaming a neighborhood. Here are the tips:

  • If a single, off-leash dog charges toward you, don’t stare directly at the dog. Look slightly away.
  • As the dog is approaching, point and yell “Out!” or “No!” Don’t run or retreat until they leave.
  • Dogs have a different mentality when in a pack. While you would yell to discourage a single aggressive dog, do not yell if there is a pack.
  • If you see a pack of dogs in the distance, quickly scan the ground for a stick to pick up, and move to an area where you can have your back against a wall. If there isn’t a wall nearby, put your back against a mailbox or a tree. The reason: Pack dogs attack from behind. Also, know that typically the “quite one” in the back of the pack will be the one most likely to circle around for a sneak attack.


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