all of the wild

Call of the Wild (1972)


Concept featured in film:Pack Interactions; Animal Behavior

Location of clip:

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: In this clip Buck and the pack's lead dogfight over a wild rabbit that the lead dog has caught and killed. Buck takes that rabbit from the dog and ends up eating it for himself. The pack leader then challenges Buck. A fight ensues and Buck kills the pack leader. The sled drivers decide to make another dog take the lead position and Buck acts as if the position should be his. The sled driver is frustrated with Buck but in the end gives into the result of the pack interactions.

Connection of flickclip to the concept:Packs of wild dogs have been studied extensively and behaviors within packs are very distinct. In this clip it is obvious that there is tension between two dogs, Buck being one of them. The alpha male is also the leader of the sled pack. When Buck challenges and defeats the alpha male he expects to take his spot as the alpha male, including leading the sled pack.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. Are these dogs wild or domesticated? Why?

b. Should Buck be given the lead spot in the sled pack, especially being such a beginner in pulling? Why or why not?

c. Why does Buck think he should get he lead spot?

d. What makes a dog the "alpha dog?"

e. How can a dog gain or lose this position?

f. Do you this anywhere else in nature or society?

2. Have the students research pack interactions and discuss the different "levels" that have been proposed (i.e. alpha, beta, etc). The students can then act out these positions in there own pack.

3. Have the students research sled dogs and the communities that are dependant upon sled dogs. The students can look into the Iditarod and other famous races. Perhaps by researching the sled dog community the behaviors of the dogs (i.e. domesticated pack interactions) can be explained and discussed further.