Trying to Maintain Strong Bonds from a Distance? Learn from Wolves.
Wolves have been communicating through a variety of non-physical tactics for centuries, proving that when it comes to social distancing they’re the true experts.
Wolf Communication Methods
Howls. Arguably the most well-known method of wolf communication, howls allow wolves to convey information while several miles apart. A howl’s low pitch and long duration is well suited for transmission on the wild landscape – a wolf’s howl can be heard up to 10 miles away in open terrain! Wolves can howl to locate other wolves, advertise the size of their pack, to warn other family members of danger using a bark howl, and more.
Of course, howls don’t have to serve a crucial purpose – wolves sometimes howl just to make music, like we do. It’s called “social glue” – a spreading of good feeling like people singing around a campfire, feeling closer to one another. It’s that same idea: through song, wolves reaffirm social bonds with one another.
Body Language. Wolves mainly use body language to convey the rules for the family. Similar to human families in structure, wolf families usually consist of the breeding pair (mom and dad) and their offspring of varying ages. To maintain order, wolves will rely on their posture, tail position, facial expression and ear position to articulate their status and role within the family. Parents will express their leadership positions with erect posture and high-held tails; less-dominant family members exhibit their position through submissive behaviors.
Wolves will also use body language to communicate intentions or to initiate some fun. When seeking to play, wolves will dance and bow playfully. Playtime can also include a game of chase, jaw sparring, and varied vocalizations. For wolves, playtime isn’t only fun, it strengthens family bonds.
Scent Marking. Wolves will communicate the boundaries of their territory through territorial scent marking. By marking the boundaries with urine and feces, wolves are telling other wolf packs “no trespassing” – the area is already occupied!
So if you’re struggling with maintaining social relationships from a distance, learn from wolves. As true pack animals, they understand the importance of family but they also recognize the need for survival. Be like a wolf!