But as a pet, Buck had considerable status on Judge Miller's ranch. The ranch was almost like a paradise for him, and he had the run of the entire estate.
He was born there and he ruled over the other dogs.
But the more primitive, savage qualities Buck displays result from atavism.
He could not learn all that he does if he did not have the qualities of his wild ancestors latent within him.
The trio are introduced as a contrast to Buck's previous owners, Perrault and Francois, who were rugged, practical, hardened but fair men.
In contrast, Charles, Hal and Mercedes are examples of people from the so-called civilized world who fail to adapt to the harsh realities of the north.
First he had to learn how to survive, and then how to establish mastery.
His battle with Spitz was a major turning point, since it established his right to be the lead-dog.
These qualities are gradually called awake by circumstances and environment.
This is such a key point that London emphasizes it again and again.