The paper by Bradshaw, Blackwell and Casey called “Dominance in domestic dogs – useful construct or bad habit?” reviews how the term dominance has been misappropriated in the context of domestic dog aggression. It is not a trait of a single animal nor is it a motivation for how they interact. It also discusses recent literature on wolf packs and feral dog packs.
In the popular press, it is easy to use terms such as dominance and pack. We need to remember that the word pack is just a name, just as a group of whales is a pod or a group of birds is a flock. Wolf pack theory evolved back in the 60s based on premise that dogs and wolves, being of the same species, act in the same way. As well, Dr Mech’s book (The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species) was published at this time. Unfortunately this data was based on observing an artificial wolf pack (a group of captive unrelated wolves). This led to the popularization of the terms such as alpha and dominance.