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What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
DustWolf
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Post: #1
What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Hello everybody,

We thought that it might be useful to have a thread talking about these subjects, so here's my attempt.


In short: The concept of therian "packs" and the "alpha/beta/omega model", is a popular game that young teenagers like to play on the Internet, that has no relationship to therianthropy.


The reason why this game is so popular is, we think because humans of this age start to explore where they belong in society, which is accomplished by finding a group to belong to. While many people find groups outside of this (for example I don't know football clubs and gaming guilds), those who are already fond of wolves may find their alternative: "packs". Because "wolves" --> "packs"?

The "alpha/beta/omega model" is probably popular because people like to feel powerful and therefore use this model as a justification for wielding power over others. We all had people we looked up to when we were teens, and in some cases it was people we knew personally. A taller friend, a better sportsman, whatever. These are the people that end up in these "Alpha" roles, while the rest of us enable them by conceding to "Beta" or not caring and just going with "Omega".


And yes, while wolves do in fact live in packs and have a hierarchy to speak of, it's really not what these "packs" and "alphas" are. Because as I explained, the majority of "packs" out there exist because of very human needs for belonging and control, the rules of the game have become very different from how actual wolf packs and actual wolf hierarchies work.


So does this at all relate to therianthropy?

Well, a few very rare wolf therians do in fact also experience the need for hierarchy of their theriotype. For some of us, this "pack" is really the love we feel for people we see as family (for example, many of us see this whole community, Therian Guide as our "pack"). And for some of us, this hierarchy is exactly the fluid and somewhat age-dependant confidence dynamic seen in wild wolves.

For those of us, finding out about this phenomena of "packs", was that moment when we felt, that there might be people in the world, who truly understand how we feel. But perhaps we were wrong. Most "therian packs" out there are just people acting out for their human needs with wolf words.


But of course, don't take my word for it. There is ample discussion from many different people on our forum, on this exact subject. Go check them out (you may have to register first):

LP,
Dusty

Most problems are man-made.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-08-12 12:26 by DustWolf.)
2017-08-12 11:57
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Post: #2
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Very nice doost! Im not sure where this started but i guess the alpha beta stuff came from misinterpretation of researchers ? No surprise because i feel at times in research humans interpret the environment or others behaviour through their own lens, and i see it happen often in cetacean research. That in turn possibly became popular any , the alpha beta stuff, and i guess people adopted it because they think its accurate wolf behaviour, and maybe also the tendency of getting it in their heads in terms of bossing people around keeps itgoing and eventually gets out of proportion...

Even if its relatively drama free the pack hiarchy aplha beta is outdated inaccurate finding of researchers, i didnt know that til i came here lol.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-08-12 14:29 by StarDolphin.)
2017-08-12 14:29
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #3
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Heh. Error in the research is more likely. If you're looking for an area of research that has been plagued by human bias, just look at animal ethnology. David Mech was sold on alphas and packs for a long time, but to his great credit, he knew "when to fold 'em." He claims a good bit of culpability for the prevalence of the error. Of course, now, people mistake him for completely dropping the idea of social hierarchy is wolf groups (and he didn't).

DustWolf quote: "For some of us, this "pack" is really the love we feel for people we see as family (for example, many of us see this whole community, "

That's exactly it.

We call ourselves a "pack" (a lot of the therians I've visited do). More often, we call our larger group our "tribe" and more often than not, I'll call our immediate family a "House" or a "WereHouse". As a sociologist, I'm more likely to call any stable collection of Weres a "constellation". I like the variety of groups that I see.

Another thing I've run into is that there are a number of Weres out there that do not like their nonhuman identification and they're very urgent in their opposition to therians thinking of themselves as anything but human. I run into a lot of "there's very little difference between us and everyone else." So they tend to discourage anything that might sound like we're identifying "too much" with our theriotypes.

Still, "pack" is fairly common offline. The primary objection I've run into is that "pack" is seen to refer to wolves and there are a lot of theriotypes that aren't canine - and I recon that makes sense. Even some canines (theriotypes) form less solid bonds than us "wolves", in fact, that's one way I can tell the difference between other canid theriotypes.

But the Internet allows for sorta shoving social hierarchy to the side. Offline, not so much. My experience is that therians don't vote on leaders but they are there and they tend to form naturally. People just sort of tend to cluster around a particular person. My usual assumption is that, if a person calls themselves an alpha (in the sociometric sense of the word), they most likely aren't.
2017-08-12 18:31
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Post: #4
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
Cool! I actually wasn't aware of this, and it's nice to know. I like the concept of a pack due to the fact a) i'm a canine and b) i know no other therians irl. It's less of an actual pack, more of a family as others have mentioned above.

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2019-03-18 22:01
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Post: #5
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
I also believe the alpha/beta/omega and all other rankings that afterwards got added from delta to hunter to healer.. originally was created due misinformation of packs Actually having these ranks. The idea took of due being interesting and relatable to many and became more of the "i need a place" "i need to love and be loved" and "power game" dustwolf refered to by this time. Seeing Many more on the community lately are aware of alpha/beta/omega being non-existant in wild wolfpacks, but still keeping the hierachy that way in their "therian packs".

And that's the biggest difference between the two:

One is a pack of wolfs
The other is a pack of humans who feel as if they're wolfs (or other animals)

Honestly I do not blame them (as long as there does not happen powerabuse, dictatorship or any toxic activities). As human beings we're raised in a hierachy based on rankings. Teachers vs student. Popular vs loser. Boss vs worker. It's only logical to want to use rankings of any kind, and to want to climb up to these or feel good being at top. We're litterally raised with them.

As long as there is no powerabuse, dictatorship, toxic activities and the people recognize it's more about a sense of belonging or roleplay And recognize this isn't how real groups of animals work : I'm completely fine with packs.

After all a pack ain't nothing more than a friendgroup described with animalistic terms.

I also wanted to share this here: https://www.wolf.org/wp-content/uploads/...nglish.pdf

It's an amazing research on wolfpacks and their hierachy. It also notes how the previous research, which claimed to prove alpha-beta-omega, admitted to have gotten false results due only researching captive wolfpacks.

It is seen that captive wolfpacks DO have a structure that looks like alpha-beta-omega. Purely created due non-blood-bound wolfs almost randomly being put together and forced to live so. They therefore build a structure of the strongest/one longest there, the ones who're second most dominant and usually tollerated by the "alpha's" and all the rest who are submissive to both.

In the wild however, as the study proved, wolf packs merely work with a family structure. Mom x dad = pups. Traditionally, mom x dad is still called "the alpha pair". However there is no set dominance rules other than that the kids naturally listen to their parents to some degree. And that when not listening or being annoying, the "pups" (could be adults) might get bitten. But all these stories about being thrown out of packs or getting a planned punishment are made up and do not happen in wolf packs. Sometimes a pup might leave to find their own mate to start their own pack or they might be kicked out if the pack is big enough and the pup old enough.

WOOF!
PD

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(This post was last modified: 2019-03-20 18:23 by PinkDolphin.)
2019-03-20 18:23
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DustWolf
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Post: #6
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
The major takeaway here is that the point is, if you're a wolf therian, to listen to your feelings and be honest with yourself.

It's not that hard to get into the mind of a wolf and see if what you experience is something a wild wolf would, or if what you experience is more easily explained by human tendencies.

Everybody wants to feel special, but at the end of the day, those who are genuine wolf therians and experience some need for hierarchy, know exactly what of the "wolf packs" is real ad what isn't. In short, it's about those you love and how you feel about them.

There is no need for an elaborate theory or structure or first-hand observation or scientific analysis of wild wolves. A little honesty and common sense goes a long way.

LP,
Dusty

Most problems are man-made.

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2019-03-20 22:05
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Post: #7
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
I agree with most of this, but I also am an Alpha in a mostly Therian pack, it's small, but quality over quantity, and it's not all wolves.. it's multi-species, hybrids, even furries, humans too.. to me and even in the early 2000's when I created my first pack(WWG, Wild Wolf Gang), I only called it a friend group that was also a pack. I was a stupid teenager, lol, I mean wtf is with that name?? But even as an adult, my pack now (Jisu Pack) is literally a friend group of like minded people, my closest and dearest friends.. We still have a ranking system, we still have our own little "jobs", we do RP here and there, and while me and Kai are Alphas, we all take care of each other. We all have equal say in pack matters, we aren't dominant over any other members. We treat it as a family unit and always have, we'll be meeting one of our packmembers IRL soon, he's not even 2 full hours away so it'll be easier for him to come visit, and we might be able to help him with some personal issues that he's having trouble with and he will be willing to help us with some issues we're having.

So, I wouldn't treat all packs with ranks the same, or generalize it as something misinformed or "wrong/too human/all about wolves/popularity". I understand that the majority of "packs" out there are very much, not like a real wolf pack, having more human mindsets and more BDSM aspects, or even just RPing fiction.. whatever it may be, mostly with the younger people, but I just hope people don't judge me, Kai, or any of our packmembers just because we identify as Therians and proudly say that we are in a pack together. And I only call myself an Alpha because those who are in the pack see me as one, they trust me, they love me, and I love them and trust them. We're extremely close, for several years now, I agree that people naturally cluster around a certain person, and in that case, it was me.. and usually is me whenever I've been around groups of others, even having strangers following what I'd do (even when I was being funny and dancing at my mate's sister's wedding), they did what I did without me knowing, and someone else pointed it out.. and while I was living in a dorm at Job Corps in 2005-2006, I was new, and kinda hung out with this certain group, and as time passed and more people came to Job Corps, the group got larger from people who knew me, and then when I graduated, they kinda fell apart, and even my brother and dad tell me I'm like the glue, that keeps people together. So it made me feel very good.
(This post was last modified: 2019-03-22 23:59 by Xiahtic.)
2019-03-22 23:51
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Zefer Nezumi
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Post: #8
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
I'm certain that, in the past, I've likely pack-bashed without the intention of being harmful; I've actually been in circumstances where a self-proclaimed "alpha" caused more harm than good, used the title for power, and all the other bad stuff.

Also, as a creature who is largely independent (my introverted human side and the "social when I want to be" tiger side), the concept of packs in the positive regards mentioned here by Dusty and others seem somewhat foreign to me.

In a workplace, these sorts of relationships evolve naturally - you have those who have greater insights or abilities who typically take the head, and things naturally flow down from there based on skill, seniority, and various other things. Makes sense, and it helps a unit like that survive in ways that parallel what is discussed here.

But something I've learned in even that is that... just because someone takes an alpha or beta position, it doesn't mean they're always right and shouldn't be challenged; nor does it mean you have to always be submissive to them.

In the workplace, it's kinda nice because you can usually see how someone earned that position or role. In social dynamics, that can be more tricky.

To complement what Dusty said earlier about packs being formed from love, I'll say that respect is one of the key components of that sort of relationship dynamic.

What has always bothered me about "pack mentality" - be it human or animal - is that sometimes people dive in with blind faith in others, which can be very risky.

Those who feel a need to say "I'm an alpha!" make me wince a little. As echoed in this thread and a few others, there IS natural leadership, but even that seems largely misunderstood. A good leader isn't always the one who takes charge, tells others what to do, asserts dominance, or... really anything else. They know how to communicate and use the abilities of the other "pack members" to ensure the survival of a unit.

I balk whenever I see someone claim to be an alpha because I'd rather seem them demonstrate their abilities as such than simply claim to be one. This is the same argument I've had about "greymuzzles" and a few other titles that represent members of any community or unit who ARE significantly important but would be more focused on sharing power, success, happiness, praise, or anything else with their unit as opposed to trying to be in the spotlight for that success.

If you are naturally submissive and want to take direction from others, or feel that your place is "lower in the pack", that's absolutely fine - but blindly following someone because they claim to be an alpha absolutely is not. I suffered quie a bit of emotional abuse over this, so I suppose to counter Dusty's "be honest with yourself" takeaway, I also say "be honest about others."

Be cautious, and ask yourself what someone may have to gain by making that claim. Not everyone is malicious, but it's certainly necessary to remain cautious.

Trust in your instincts.

- ZN

The Punk Pun-Therian

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2019-03-26 16:35
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DustWolf
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Post: #9
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
(2019-03-26 16:35)Zefer Nezumi Wrote:  Also, as a creature who is largely independent (my introverted human side and the "social when I want to be" tiger side), the concept of packs in the positive regards mentioned here by Dusty and others seem somewhat foreign to me.

Well, to also repeat a rant, once you leave the domain of a therian pack being based on any therian wolf emotions, you very quickly end up in the human / primate version of social hierarchy, which spells a little bit like this:

"The monkey at the top of the tree gets the best bananas and shits on the monkeys under it."

Humans are primates. Apply all of civilisation and technology and they still think exactly like this. A typical characteristic of primate hierarchies is that in them, everyone right down to the youngest and most incompetent people wants to be the "Alpha". It makes sense, because the leader of any group has access to the best stuff, so if you can why not take it for yourself? So dominance is usually taken by force.

This is typically the driving force behind "therian packs" and is the main reason why I and pretty much everybody else in the therian community, fundamentally despise the concept. It is also very far removed from the way a family of wolves operates and most significantly, it does not serve the emotional needs of those who are wolf therians and have a need for hierarchy. It serves the emotional needs of humans, usually one and that is the one at the top of the pack. And then there is some kind of personal reason why there is a beta in the pack and it's always all wrong.



The thing is, a small part of those reading this are wolf therians. And you find yourself in the same position I have been when I was your age: You still want to believe your "pack" is what your wolf instincts need it to be.

If you're not a wolf therian or are and don't experience any need for hierarchy, this is something you can never understand, so if you don't, skip and read the stuff above the line.

Or better yet answer this simple question: Do you want to be Alpha? If yes: skip above the line; if no: keep reading.


Well, if you do experience a wolf need for hierarchy, who am I to tell you that your experience isn't genuine? It would be asking you to do something that I wasn't willing to do myself. I called my first group of wolf friends a pack too, and I was proud of it. I just... passionately recommend that you check if the others in your group really feel the way you do.

I had my feelings hurt so much over this stuff -- when my pack mates betrayed me and thought they didn't do anything wrong: Because to them it wasn't a pack, they felt no loyalty in it, it was just a group of friends to them (with the label "Pack" slapped on top) and I had one day listened to the wrong music or something. Humans form cliques of peers, they operate a little like this, they enjoy similar interests and they oust those who don't conform to the group. It is not a wolf pack, if you expose your real wolf emotions in the scenario, when the differences show you will be hurt!

If you have wolf emotions and need a group, I understand. But please, be careful what you call a pack and where you invest your emotions.

I say that, because I care.

LP,
Dusty

Most problems are man-made.

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(This post was last modified: 2019-03-26 18:10 by DustWolf.)
2019-03-26 18:01
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Post: #10
RE: What is an Alpha? What are packs? etc
I'm not a wolf Therian at all. Though the majority of my Theriotype is canine. I do realize and know the difference in each different type of wild and domestic canines, so there are many different types of hierarchy that take place in each species. I feel that our pack does need a small bit of hierarchy. But everyone needs to realize that we aren't these animals, we are humans that identify as the animals in human bodies, with human emotions, minds, and the fact that at the core, taking away all comforts in life, that humans are also animals. Even if most Therians identifying with non-human animals, feel or seem to feel superior to any kind of humans.

I do find it offensive (but also understand that you care and only wish to help me) that so many Therians here, whether they be wolf or not, tend to dislike, prejudge and even discredit any/all formed "packs" Therian packs, just because of their bad experiences, bad reputations, generalizing and forming opinions on even something I can't control (which would be the majority of self-proclaimed Alphas and packs, popular wolf things and ranking systems). I too have been scared and judgmental about this community group because of my own past with bad Therian/Otherkin groups, that I prepared for the worst and ended up getting myself hurt out of anxiety, paranoia, and of course, opening my mouth expressing myself. But I was wrong, and I think you might be wrong about me too, I feel like I shouldn't be judged based on previous experiences with others that aren't me. I am me, I'm not those other people.

For the record, I too have been through my fair share of other packs formed by furries, Therians, Otherkins, and other human groups (whether they were BDSM or just a regular human group, even work bosses, teachers, etc) that only wanted to control their members, those lower them on the totem pole or ranks through fear, and by being Alphas or Dominates, they automatically demanded and expected people to be submissive, respectful, loyal, and compliant to a point where one might say these people are slaves towards them without earning any submission, respect, anything from these so called followers or members that they called their pack members or whatever group members.

I was even part of a pack before I created the Jisu Pack, and I was a loyal Beta and a pack pet to the 2 Alphas, a male and female, I was asked to investigate and save logs, do aa bunch of work for him, and I accepted because I wanted to please him. The male was the boss-top dog wolf only, no other species or canine in him, at least he claimed, but I learned that he was nothing like a real wolf, he was as bad or worse than a human, but he ruled with an iron fist and often through fear, not mutual respect and not the loud in your face type with, but with the soft spoken, dangerous, behind closed doors manipulative types that would gain your trust privately, you'd open up to him because he'd phrase you and make you feel worth something, like you mattered and had a purpose, and he made you feel special, and he'd later use it against you if you stepped out of line. He verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused his mate over typing, mic/cam on Skype, manipulated her into giving him nude pics and videos, he tried to control every aspect of her life, make her not have many RL friends or get jealous easily even though he always cheated on everyone he was ever with. And even though she was the other Alpha, she had no say, when it came down to it, she wasn't his equal, not in the pack, not in their relationship, not at all in anything and neither was any of us, regardless of rank or how long we knew him or how close we were. These Alpha and Dominant types are not what I'd consider to be what they called themselves, I believe they are pathetic, insecure, attention seeking, wanting to build theirselves up by putting others down, hurting them, using other people's fear and blind following even so much as to say worship the Alpha/Dominant just to make themselves feel better, to be on a power trip and to me they are piss-poor sorry excuses for human beings or any non-humans for that matter and should be taught a lesson.

You might see me say I have a pack, that I say I'm an Alpha, that I'm "different" than others but without any proof or my members here to join this forum and tell their own experiences, what we've all been through together, how it's made us stronger and closer each time a hardship came up. And show you whatever they really feel and how they see me, to help prove my point, I'm sorry but I have no control over them and I won't ask them to join a site they would rather not join, as they are happy with the way things are, they'd be fine with having new members and making new friends but we aren't currently looking for any members and they already have issues with Therian groups as I've told you and my pack all openly about my previous experiences with groups that weren't TG, they aren't as forgiving and willing to jump out and look for new friends like I am.

They are here for me while I'm recovering from my surgery I had yesterday, as I am for them whenever they need someone or something. And the female mate of that other pack alpha, Avery, well she's our Beta since we formed this pack and she's our best friend, I'm like a parental figure to her when she needs that, for personal reasons I can't disclose, and she would happily vouch for how much I'm not like any of those other pack Alphas or Dominants, if she was on this form. I feel like I need to prove myself to you all, because how so many have had bad experiences (which I have had that too, but I'm trying not to let some bad apples spoil the entire bunch), but I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't have to feel the urge to defend myself against others that weren't like me, just because we called ourselves Alphas of packs, and I have very good communication skills, I've honestly doubted myself many times as in a leadership role(if you can call it that, more like guidance and just a good loyal friend that holds people together), and I've asked every member what they felt without them being afraid to voice their honest opinions to me. I'm very honest, loyal, and I try hard to take care of everyone in this pack, even when I'm too sick, or hurting and someone needs helps, I'm there for them, and I love each and every one of them, I would do a lot for them. And they help me, they see me sickly, or hurting, or too tired and they offer their support, their help, advice, and give me space, time, they accept Kai talking for me when I can't, they know my illnesses and medications, they know my secrets and personal info. I trust them more than I trust many RL people, I respect them for who and what they are, I accept them, I would never hurt them intentionally, but I do give tough love advice when it seemed needed, and they accepted it, having mentioned that they already felt it but wanted more opinions from others, which is understandable and smart.

Our other Beta, Yumi and our Gamma Kash, were both in another pack than the one me, Kai, and Avery were in, but the experiences were similar, the Alpha didn't know what she was doing, she wasn't at all consistent, she tried to make people call her Alpha, rather than a name, just by the title alone.. and wouldn't treat the pack as real, it was RP but in ways she expected RL feelings to be included in her RP pack.. among other things.. plus she is younger than all of us.. In the Jisu pack, I'm the oldest and I feel like with a lot of experiences, that I can that person, that Alpha, that leader for my pack and my mate.

Even though I've been broke as shit lately, I'm still trying to help one of my packmembers, our Gamma, Kash move to our state and get a lawyer to get divorced from his wife that makes him pay child support on a kid that isn't his, who came out black and the mom and him are both white, and he's tried to get a DNA test but he was told that it wouldn't matter, because they'd still charge him for not paying because they were married when she had the kid, making him both of their responsibilities.. I call that bullshit, so I'll do everything I can to help him win this case because he's wasting money every month that could be going to his living instead of being homeless most of the time, living on his friend's couches and in his vehicle.

I do want to be the Alpha that people will respect and feel comfortable being around, approachable, kind, caring, not dominating, not intimidating, and my 4 other packmembers aren't "fully" Wolf Therians, they are hybrids like myself, expect Kai aka @MikanuHatari he's fully Red Fox.

I'm not a primate and my pack aren't at all based on primates, other than the human need for friendship/support/etc and the dominant members don't get the best stuff or the most/last say in decisions, we work together to survive as a closer than human friendship group, closer than a family unit as well, we've been together in this pack for 2-3 years now, while Avery's been with us sine mid-2015, while at the beginning, yes there were issues with a few members that did betray myself and the other packmembers, they were banned from he pack through mutual majority vote, and before I created or brought together this group of people from all over the world calling it a pack because it feels most comfortable to me as a canine Therian Hybrid, and as every member of the pack of is mostly canine Therian Hybrids, one being like me as Therian and Otherkin Shapeshifter that happens to be Genderfluid as well, that'd be Yumi, I call her my sibling, and Kash my sibling too. While Avery is considered mine and Kai's offpring. And we all consider communication, honestly, loyalty, and mutual respect, as well as long to be the most important parts of being in the pack. It's not some RP or furry thing with fictional story lines or characters, it's not online only for shits and giggles, it's real to us and even if we were betrayed by some, who we thought we could trust, we won't allow that to close ourselves off from new people.. and for me, I allow people back too easily, I forgive and want to give many chances, and that hurts me a lot more than helping me in the end, so it's something I know I need to work on.

We aren't calling ourselves a clan or a pride, and we really dislike being dysphoric and calling ourselves anything but a pack. To point out an opposite point, in many human "friend groups" they don't always just call themselves friends, they use nicknames, terms such as squad, posse, crew, gang, team, buddies, tribe, clan, clique, fam, family, hommies, etc. Even if I think and feel that many of those group terms are completely stupid by how they are used by the youth of today, some of the terms are from long ago or military terms and have a history and respect behind them.

I hope I made things clear and that it's helped people understand me better and what me and my pack stand for.. I'm sincerely sorry for all bad experiences you've all had with past people who dared to call themselves an Alpha when they really weren't even fit to be called anything but trash. Thank you for caring and making sure I wasn't making any mistakes, or hurting any of my members. I talk with them daily unless I'm too sick, and I already know what they feel but I'll discuss it with them again to make sure.. but I've tried to disband the pack or step down because I've felt unworthy in the past, but they wouldn't let me, and I agreed to stay but after I could have a break to clear my mind and reflect on things. It hurts my, making my cry when if I ever hurt or disappoint my packmembers.

I still feel hurt over one of out closest ex-pack members betraying us.. even tried to befriend her again and she just hurt us all more.. we believed she was loyal and trustworthy, but she went off to an enemy and ended up mating him, while breaking up with her RL mate, and ended up having that other pack alpha (not Avery's ex-mate), but a different one, get her to break contact with all if not most of her friends and family so he could control every aspect of her life, and always asks for his mate's passwords so he can watch everything that's done. :/ That ex-packmate of ours believed his lies and slander about me, it hurts to this day, but I'm trying to put it behind me.. They even tried to bring my other members into it and I wouldn't have that. I've typed way too much and I'm dosing off from the meds I'm on, so I'll leave it as is and just hope that it's enough info. So people know that I'm taking this business very seriously, and that I'm not some phony.
2019-03-27 3:14
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