The heartwarming two part program "Martin Clunes: A Man and His Dogs" follows actor Martin Clunes (Doc Martin, Men Behaving Badly) as he embarks upon a quest to discover the origins of man's best friend. Traveling from the U.K. to America, Australia, and Africa, he meets many of the 400 recognised dog breeds from around the world, including designer breeds, working dogs, wild dingoes, African painted dogs, and a pack of wolves.
I hadn’t seen it before, and I found part one particularly interesting. Clunes spends time with Wolf researcher Shaun Ellis, who demonstrates his surprising role as a mediator within the wolf pack he's raised from pups. This clip gives us a unique demonstration of a wolf pack. As the show continues to remind us our domestic dogs are 99% wolf DNA, and their behaviours and understanding of pack hierarchy are very similar. Dogs like wolves are forever trying to work out where they fit into the pack. It seems that dogs and wolves are happy to follow human or dog/wolf, it is not speciesism that matters, rather how the individual conducts themselves. Ellis’ role in his wolf pack was that of mediator, which means that he is the ones who resolves fights in the pack, especially between the alpha and beta wolf around food. Having worked with many dogs with food aggression, I was amazed to see a man dive into a of fight over a recent kill and come out without a scratch. It’s really worth a look.
This documentary was a great reminder of the importance of respecting and remembering how much of your dear dog is wolf and how much they see the world in terms of hierarchy. To live a peaceful life with your dog you need to demonstrate that you are a leader who can be strong, decisive, consistent as well as someone who can protect and who can provide.
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