Tuesday, 24 January 2012

dogs and wolves DO follow paths!

I'm feeling pleased with myself for noticing Penny's path-following behaviour. As I said in my recent post on this topic, I had contacted the Wolf Education and Research Center to ask a question, and here is the answer that came a couple of days ago:
Absolutely, wolves nearly always use trails to navigate through their territory. The behavior is well documented among both wild and captive wolves, and wolves often mark trails (with urine and feces) we believe to assist in orientation to their territory. The behavior of using trails is likely to conserve energy as is takes far less energy to walk a path than to bushwhack. It also helps them conserve vital energy during the winter/snow months by using a beaten trail versus struggle through deep snow. I have personally witnessed captive packs break through deep fresh snow to use a trail after several feet of snow just dropped over the trail. In other words, they either have their common trails memorized, or can some how detect them under several feet of snow (possibly through olfaction--hence the urine and feces deposits?). Some breeds of dogs, such as bloodhounds, have been "trained" through husbandry to not do such trail use behavior so they can better scan the landscape for scent.
Hope this information helps. Let me know if you have any further questions. By the way, good observation on canine behavior!


I'm really grateful to be able to ask questions of an expert like this. Isn't the internet wonderful and aren't people generous with their knowledge and time?

The Wolf Education and Research Center has a great site, with lots of interesting pages, but the one I've enjoyed most is Wolf Behavior 101. Now I know why Penny always shakes the water off after she has a swim. (I'm not going to reveal the answer. You'll have to go over there and find out for yourself, lol.)


Oskar said...

Great information, thanks for sharing it.

Nubbin wiggles,

parlance said...

My pleasure, Oskar!

Rusty said...

Hi! It's good to see you again! I'm proud of Penny's dedication to her Squirrel (possum) Patrol duties.

Rusty's mom: We are still dealing with rusty's itchy skin and have decided it isn't his food, it's invironmental. Poor little guy, can't keep him inside, he has too much fun barking at the squirrels!

This is very interesting about wolves and trails. I hadn't really thought about it but when we go walking in the woods our little wolves at heart stay on the trail. Now I'll be more aware of this when we do go out.

parlance said...

Yeah, I can sympathise about the itchy skin. We have decided the same thing. One environmental plant that we are very aware of is wandering tradescantia.