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The Key to Better Communication with your Dog

Barbara Ertel

Silke W. Wichers

The Key to Better Communication with your Dog

Inherited Dog Pack Positions:

A Different Approach to Understanding the Social Structure of Dogs

Based on the Knowledge and Experience of Philipp, Josef and Karl Werner (1810-1977)


In Appreciation of the Sources


1  Introduction

1.1  Origins

1.2  Explanation of the Term ‘Inherited Pack Positions’

2  Forms of Social Structures of Domestic Dogs

2.1  Structured Packs

2.1.1  Construction and Function of a Structured Pack

2.1.2  Structured Extension of a Pack

2.1.3  Working on the Community

2.2  Loose Associations

2.3  Loners and Structured Small Groups

2.4  Assessment

2.5  An Alternative View

3.  Description of the Different Positions

3.1  Recognising the Birth Position

3.2  Front Lead Dog (VLH)

3.3  Second Front Link Dog (V2)

3.4  Third Front Link Dog (V3)

3.5  Central Coordination Dog (MBH)

3.6  Second Rear Link Dog (N2)

3.7  Third Rear Link Dog (N3)

3.8  Rear Lead Dog (NLH)

3.9  Maverick

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4.  Dog Keeping in View of Pack Positions

4.1  Position Capability

4.2  Special Aspects of Dog Ownership

4.2.1   Evaluation System for Dogs  Assessment of Other Dogs  Assessment of Humans  Assessment by Humans

4.2.2  Taboo Zones

4.2.3  They Play so Nicely

4.2.4  Compensation Pressure

4.2.5  Encounters with Stranger-Dogs

4.2.6  Working Dogs, Sports and Leisure Activities

4.2.7  Education

4.3  Puppies and Young Dogs

4.3.1  General Information  Safeguarding and Providing Boundaries  Puppy Taboo Zones  Contact with Conspecifics  Communication and Conditioning

4.3.2  Particularities of the Specific Positions

4.4  Single Dog Ownership

4.4.1   Lead Dogs

4.4.2  Link Dogs

4.5  Keeping Multiple Dogs

4.5.1  Structured Composition of a Pack

4.5.2  Filling Vacant Pack Positions

4.5.3  Affection and Responsibilities

4.6  Senior Dogs

4.7  Taking on Dogs with Behavioural Problems

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5.  Breeding

5.1  Litter Categories

5.2  Mating and Handling of Puppies

5.3  Puppy Development-Professionalisation

5.3.1  Perfect Litter

5.3.2  Acceptable Litter

5.4  Maldevelopments

Picture Block 3

6.  Review and Outlook

Additional Notes of a Breeder

Picture Block 4



In Appreciation of the Sources

Karl Werner, 04 June 1902 to 14 May 1977

I am most grateful to the breeder Karl Werner who taught me his knowledge about Inherited Pack Positions and provided practical demonstrations. I learned from him to understand, respect, and enter partnerships with dogs. This book has been written in remembrance of him, to honour his guidance and to pay tribute to his father and grandfather who handed down their knowledge.

I have to thank Mrs. Anja Martin in particular. As a descendant of Karl Werner, she tracked down and sent me the photos of the Werner family.

I learned from the stories that Karl Werner told me during our joint visits to breeders. The certificates that were displayed on the walls of his office provided confirmation of his expertise.

Philipp Werner
23 February 1810 – date of death is unknown

This expertise began with the work of his grandfather, Philipp Werner a winegrower born 1810 in Rauenthal, Germany, who built up and sold dog packs to be used as work groups.

After Philipp‘s death (exactly when is not known), his son Josef Werner continued to build working packs, while working as the manager of a wholesale nursery.

This photo shows the young Josef:

Josef Werner
1 April 1862 to 11 October 1940

His son Karl Werner, who was born in 1902, was the last member of the family to continue the tradition of selling packs, which ended during the Second World War.

His focus from then on was dog breeding and he is regarded one of the pioneers of developing the Eurasier breed.

The photograph above dates from the 1970s. In 1977, shortly after the picture was taken, he had a fatal accident.

When I met Karl Werner in 1968, he was a master gardener in Niederwalluf. I was only 19 years old, and was very impressed by the large number of letters of gratitude and certificates that were displayed on the walls of his study, some from as far back as 1844. In particular, I remember that the gratitude was always expressed for the harmony and easy management of the Werner packs.

There were also quite a number of black notebooks full of records, labelled sketches of sleeping puppies, and information about breeders and their litters. They were hand written, mostly in the old German ‘Sütterlin’ handwriting.

These documents seem to be lost which is very unfortunate, as these books contain a unique wealth of experience that would be valuable for today´s breeders. I hope that these documents still exist somewhere and will be found one day.

In addition to Mrs. Martin, I would also like to thank Mr. Michel, archivist of Walluf, Mrs. Lippert, also from the Walluf municipality, and Mr. Guhrmann, President of the society ProEurasier e.V. for their support with this research .


I want to thank all my critics, whose ignorance towards their dogs made me so angry that I started to write down my knowledge and long experience with structured dog packs. Unfortunately, dogs, as intelligent as they may be, cannot write for themselves and express their innate need for inherited structure.

Also, I would like to thank the dog owners and breeders for the images they provided, regardless of how far they have already implemented the structured life for their dogs.

Furthermore, I want to thank our team ‘book’.

Finally, I would like to thank all users of the chat forum of the website