Wolf Pack Ways – Wild Wolf Pups as Instinctive Predators

As the wolf pups rapidly grow and develop, all members of the wild wolf society participate in their instruction and discipline. The wolf pups quickly learn that obedience and responsiveness to warning signals from the alpha leader and other wolf pack members are requisites for their very survival. After all, grizzlies, spiders, disease, and large birds of prey do not hesitate to prey on the young wolf pups! nahls

Much of their wild wolf instinctive behavior is revealed in the wolf pups’ play and parallels what we observe in our domestic dogs. Wrestling, mouthing on each other, chasing, biting of the back legs, tug-of-war with caribou hides, stalking each other, and other games are all things the pups do to develop and strengthen their survival skills. From the beginning, it is quite evident that these rambunctious pups are predators!

After a while, the wolf pups start challenging adults the same way they do their peers. Like teenagers who think they are all grown up and able to handle anything, the pups might nip the back of an adult’s legs or seek to wrestle him in what is only half-play.
When the wolf pups start getting too full of themselves, taking their play out on the adults as well as each other, then it is time for the alpha leader to take them out on their first hunt. Messipoker

The first time on the hunt, the pups just watch. The alpha leader selects an old or sick animal, then each member of the pack takes his place and uses his hunting skills. They are positioned perfectly by the alpha leader through very subtle, inconspicuous eye signals, so they work together and do not confuse one another. Eye signals are extremely important communication in both the wild wolf and domestic dog worlds. (You should watch your dog’s subtle eye signals, because those little glances mean a lot!)

When the kill is made, the young wolves are brought to the carcass. The alpha leader makes the pups rip open the carcass themselves, for they have to work for their food. He directs them in how to cut it open, and he will help with a strategic step (but minimally) if the pups are unable to open it themselves. (This is similar to some mother birds helping a to-be-hatched chick by pecking a little on the shell and making the first crack.)

The alpha leader also teaches the pups which form of prey to prefer — such as eat deer, ignore moose. (Each pack has its own preferences and prohibitions.) These laws change only in the times of famine, as when the caribou have eaten themselves out of house and home. Then the wolf pack will hunt anything, even rabbits, ground squirrels, and lemmings. During the famine, the packs often have few to no pups, simply because there is not enough food for them and weak pups die. preferablepups

The alpha leader will often make the member with the lowest wolf pack rank eat last. If the omega tries to sneak in to eat with the rest, the other wolf pack members will band together as one in obedience to the alpha leader’s decision and drive the omega away.

Might does not make right in the wilderness. Regardless of their prowess and potential for future wolf pack rank, only the wolf pups who are alert, take direction from the alpha leader and other adults, obey warnings, and stay close to the wolf pack will survive. There is no Wild Dog Behavior in wild wolf society!


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