Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pecking Order

Hercules is our senior German Shepherd Dog. He is in the prime of life at two years of age. He is a proper gentleman of about 75 pounds.

Zeus is the new puppy and he is about 9 pounds and a bit thin on the social skills.

Zeus was chasing Herc around the house.  It was not a game.  Herc was avoiding Zeus.  Zeus really wanted to catch Herc.

It looked like pecking order (dominance) and Herc was not going to come out on top.  That was a mystery to me.

Unusual  Weapons and Tactics

As a student of human dynamics I am fascinated by the evolution of social relationships.  And right before my eyes I was seeing one of the real puzzlers: How does a young pup displace a big dog?

This is what I observed.

Zeus snuck up behind Herc in a moment of Herculean inattention and attempted to nurse.  Those of you who know anything about dogs realize that there is only one item protruding from the bottom of a boy dog that resembles a teat.  That item is filled with nerve endings.  Dog lovers also realize that puppy teeth are needle sharp.

Herc accelerated as though assisted by JATO packs.

Zeus pursued his uncooperative food source.  Herc kept moving, looking behind with great apprehension.

Is it fair to suggest humans might share this dynamic?

Well of course it does.  Humans are social animals.  Higher status translates to better access to resources.  ANY marker that elevates status increases the odds of survival and improves quality of life.  Social life is a constant slam-and-bang of status testing.  Most testing results in Brownian Motion but some testing results in quantum leaps in status.

Even victimhood is crassly exploited by hucksters to create a strange kind of quantum jumping status.  There are many commentators on the internet who will explain in great detail how the victim industry works.

But for now I have a lot of empathy for Herc.  This situation was not of his making and it looks like the script will not end well for him.

And perhaps that explains the adolescent need to shock their elders whether through music, grooming or sexual expression.  It is a way to elbow some space between their elders at the feed trough.

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