Julydogs JaYoBaCa gathered around the campfire.

A friend of mine recently asked how my tribe was.

It was a phone conversation, so he couldn’t see me do a double-take. It was the first time anyone has ever addressed JaYoBaCa in that fashion, and I loved it.

First of all, I was thankful he did not address them as my “pack.” I freakin’ hate that term. Hate it. Did I mention I intensely dislike it?

It conjures up all these false assumptions about dogs and dog behaviors and their similarities to wild wolves, that to this day many people still seem to think is gospel, despite the fact that the original study was done numerous decades ago and has since been disproved. Scientific study in the last few years has uncovered far more interesting data and the study on “wild” wolves done nearly 40 years ago was actually conducted upon wolves living in captivity.

Turns out, wild wolves more often live in what can be best be described as a group of extended family.

One definition of tribe particularly strikes me. “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”

I think my friend hit the nail on the head. And he’s not even really a dog person. Funny that.

I often learn so many things from my friends that are not dog people. It’s as if by not being so immersed in the culture of dogs and dog training that they can see some things more clearly and can offer, at least to me, a fresh perspective. It’s happened more than a few times.

I like the description of JaYoBaca being a tribe. I definitely see behaviors that are learned and passed down from different dogs. I also enjoy seeing different dogs integrate and bring in new behaviors, or as I like to call them, customs.

I admit, I’m weird about words and the use of certain words, especially when they become labels and hold a larger implication.

JulyCamm This is the tribe princess.

Julyflowers Ventured out on a beautiful day and saw this.

JulyWoods   JulyWoods2

The colors were actually far more vibrant. I guess to many these are weeds, but to me this is nature’s landscaping at its best. No rain for weeks and still the hillsides were full of purples and yellows. Also full of berries.So many of the berries were hidden, low on the ground and close to the remaining trickles of water. Picked some for me, and of course Jasmine, Youke and Camm had to have their share too. Brady was too busy running ahead, scouting out what was beyond the twists in the trail and beyond the long grasses. He did take time to relax though and watch us pick and eat berries from higher hill perches. He takes his scouting responsibilities very seriously.

He also was on look-out duty when I had to pee.

I’ve become quite comfortable about peeing out and about in nature. Although I try not to piss on nature. Anyway, again, probably a sign that I’m weird, but I always find it flattering when after I pee, Jasmine pees over my pee. It’s pretty rare when she doesn’t do that. Sometimes, Brady will come on over and also mark on the spot.

I am admittedly a bit obsessed about the whole marking behavior thing and when it is warranted and when it is not. I’m mostly fascinated with it though in the context of overmarking within a familial group. If I had millions of dollars, a lot more free time and a more scientific bent, I’d study this. Seriously, I’ve observed the behaviors for years and still do not quite see a discernible pattern or reason to it. Just when I think I have it figured out, someone doesn’t do what I anticipate.

But I’m good with the peeing on my pee thing. I figure it’s part of what makes us a tribe.

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