Inherited pack position

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Inherited pack position is the name for a pseudoscience with a commercial background. It was propagated by the Association for Inherited Pack Positions of Dogs eV and was commercially evaluated by the Center Inherited Pack Positions of Dogs UG, which has been operated by the club since 2013 . The pack position theory is based on the idea that the nature and behavior of dogs and wolves are predetermined by their “birth position”. The center for inherited pack position of the dogs UG was dissolved in May 2017.


According to the pack position theory, there are seven types of dogs or wolves: front lead dog (VLH), front scout (V2), front guard (V3), central dog (MBH), rear scout (N2), rear guard (N3) and rear lead dog ( NLH). These types are referred to as the seven "birth positions" because they should be fixed from birth and correspond to the positions in a hypothetical dog pack. The lead dogs and the "central dog" are decision-makers who assign tasks to the "tie dogs" assigned to them (guards and scouts) or pass on instructions from the dog owner. However, this communication between the dogs is not directly observable, since it does not take place through body language or even barking, but "mentally" through "fixing".

According to the association, you have to know the birth position of your dog in order to be able to handle it properly. The subsequent assessment of the birth position was offered commercially by the UG in "workshops". When keeping several dogs, it is essential to ensure that their positions match each other. Otherwise a distinction is made between "double stocking" (two dogs with the same pack position) and "incorrect stocking" (two dogs with non-consecutive pack positions). In both cases, according to the association, the dogs would have to be separated, handed over or exchanged for suitable positions. Surrender and exchange of the dogs was also arranged by the association on an internal "swap exchange". For keeping dogs, the association recommended consistent stimulus withdrawal ("deceleration") with the greatest possible reduction in education, play, dog sports and walks. Above all, contact with dogs should be avoided, since every encounter with dogs "in an unsuitable position" is harmful. In order to achieve a certain behavior of the dog, it is sufficient to calmly explain the facts to him, since "lead dogs" kept in conformity with the pack position understand their owners and cooperate with them.

The association claimed to be able to recognize the future positions of newborn puppies by means of their "sleeping positions". He distinguished between perfect litters (seven puppies with all seven positions), acceptable litters (one position is missing) and unacceptable litters (several missing or multiple positions in the litter). The latter led to chaos and would therefore usually be repaired by "strong-minded" bitches by "destroying" the unsuitable puppies or the entire litter.

Origin and Distribution

According to the association, the doctrine of pack positions goes back to a master gardener Karl Werner, whose family put together "hunting packs for noble houses" and discovered the pack positions. Inquiries from contemporary witnesses and employees of Karl Werner, who died in 1977, however, revealed that he had neither put together a pack of dogs nor discovered or practiced a pack position theory. Rather, the teaching arose in the course of 2010 at a dog forum. As can be understood from the old threads, it was gradually invented by a single dog owner and is not based on observations of real groups of dogs. Nonetheless, the teaching immediately found enthusiastic supporters, as it offers a simple explanation for all dog problems and largely relieves the dog owner of the responsibility for upbringing errors. The first dog assessments were offered commercially in 2011. The association was founded in 2012.

The "ZDF dog whisperer" Maike Maja Nowak was initially a supporter of the pack position theory, but later distanced herself from the practices of the association on her personal website as well as on the website of the Association of Independents she founded (VdU trailblazers). Pack positions were also presented and carried out on the website for the ZDF broadcast: “Pack positions play a central role in the work of our dog whisperer Maja Nowak. […] The position of birth superimposes all other features […]. ”There was no criticism of the concept.

From a scientific point of view

According to experts, pack position theory is a pseudoscience with a commercial motive; they warned against her that following the teaching could lead to behavioral problems and trauma in dogs. The dog and wolf researcher Günther Bloch considers the doctrine of the pack position to be "extremely unrealistic". For the behavioral biologist Dorit Urd Feddersen-Petersen from Kiel, teaching is “bizarre nonsense” with “dangerous and animal welfare-relevant” consequences. The Greifswald zoologist Udo Gansloßer sees "no genetically imaginable or even genetically described mechanism" that could cause innate pack positions. The animal psychologist Thomas Riepe considers the pack position practice to be an "unbelievable behavior towards the animals". The Animal Welfare Association , the VDH and other organizations warn of pack positions on their websites.

Verifiable observations or evidence for the existence of inherited pack positions were not provided by followers of the teaching. The "genetic research" cited on the pack position website to support the pack position theory is, according to critics, in reality a misleading excerpt from a study paper on the subject of “determining the breed of mixed breed dogs”. The data from the study work was also used in a dissertation at the same department for the parentage analysis of selected animal species.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Pack positions: questions and answers
  2. Bamberg Commercial Register, HRB 7683, May 6, 2017: The company is dissolved.
  3. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV : Basic knowledge. ( Memento from April 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV : Fixieren. ( Memento from July 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV : Missing and double stocking. ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV : Dog separation. ( Memento from March 19, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  7. a b Consequences of the pack position
  8. Former website of hereditary pack positions of the dogs eV : Acceptable and unacceptable litters. ( Memento from July 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV : Karl Werner. ( Memento from July 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Contemporary witnesses
  11. "How it all began"
  12. Pack positions - a résumé ( memento from August 26th, 2015 in the web archive ) originally on, now accessible via
  13. Summary of the study cited by the association for inherited pack positions as evidence - article on the website of the Association of Independents - Wegbereiter (an association of dog trainers founded by Maike Maja Nowak)
  14. Web archive of the ZDF website from December 13, 2014 ( Memento from December 13, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Bloch: Wonder World of the vRS
  16. Dr. Feddersen-Petersen on the pack position theory
  17. Gansloßer: Scientific notes on the pack position theory from: Wolf Magazin 2/2014
  18. Pack positions - a trend that makes dogs suffer? from: DogsToday September 2014
  19. Opinion of ÖBdH
  20. ^ Statement by the VDH
  21. ^ Warning of the Animal Welfare Association
  22. Former website of inherited pack positions of the dogs eV: Genetic research on pack position theory. ( Memento from March 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  23. Pack positions and science
  24. Behavioral analysis and readiness to be aggressive, page 68.