Tag Archives: fighting

Audience

Sorry you haven’t heard from me for a while. I have been very busy, there are so many things asking for my attention that I sometimes just forget to blog.

One of those things is that all of a sudden there are loads of new dogs trespassing my territory. I don’t know where they come from and I find it very disturbing. They do not come in groups, but walk one at a time with humans that are unknown to me too. Of course I growl at them, from my guarding point. That usually helps: they leave soon. Good. I am very capable to fight, I am a ferocious guarding dog. But as I explained earlier we dogs prefer not to fight, because the risks are very high. One could get hurt.

Guarding

Anyway it is a mystery to me where all these dogs come from, so suddenly. Is it the nice spring air that makes humans adopt dogs? Has there been a baby boom? In that case one would see a lot of similar dogs of the same age and that is not true. Could it be that all these dogs and their humans read my blog and want to see for themselves where I live? Now that is a thought.

How flattering. But I really would prefer them to just read my blog and keep out of my territory, out of my street. Thank you.

Losing my cool

I am a cool dog. Now that I am grown up I know what I like and which dogs & humans I want to be friends with. All else, things and dogs and humans, I ignore. So I can stay cool, all the time.

However there are some things that really annoy me. Like these:

1. Dogs that come creeping towards me, with their gaze focussed on me. When this happens, I snap. Humans don’t understand this, some of them even get angry. They say ‘but my dog just wants to play!’. Play, ha! This is not playing, this is what we do when we start the hunt. I do it when I see rabbits, cats and toy dogs. In which case, by the way, M loses her cool. But that is a different story.

2. Nervousness. When I was little I got nervous too whenever I encountered a nervous dog or human. Now I just get angry and I want to discipline that human or dog. It helps, you know, because then they go from nervous to scared or from nervous to angry. Both are much better emotions! These emotions lead to action, while nervousness paralyses. So it is a good thing that I lose my cool when I meet nervous humans or dogs.

3.  The neighbors’ dogs. They are way too often trespassing my territory, my street. How I would really really like to have a good fight with them! Not playing rough, but truly fighting. I don’t know why humans do not allow us to fight. A good fight solves so many things, grudges and other problems. We dogs should get the change to fight more often. It can be a big relief!

In a way, losing one’s cool isn’t too bad. It relieves, it helps others to take action and it gives good strong energy you can use for something you love. Like chasing a friend.

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Fighting?

There are some big misconceptions, things humans don’t seem to understand about us dogs. I wrote about misconception number one: dominance. There is another big one: fighting.

Let me tell you about something that happened on the beach, lately. I was playing with another dog – a dog looking a bit like me, being ultrafast. We ran like hell, chasing each other. We had great fun. Her human had just told M that her dog was scared of practically anything, but I did not recognize that. She was a bit nervous, yes, but not scared. Anyway, we played rough. That is how I like it: bumping into each other, chasing each other, sometimes biting each other in the legs to invite the other dog to run even faster.

So we were racing on the beach, me chasing the other dog and biting in her hind legs to tease her. She did not like that, stopped, turned around and snapped at me. This happens sometimes. I don’t mind, it is only a clear signal that my motivation technique is not appreciated. In that case I stop, we pause for a while and usually we start our play all over again. But this time the human of this so-called scared dog got very hysterical. She shouted ‘oh no, they are fighting, I don’t want this! Go away!’. So M called me and we went on together.

I thought this very strange. The human obviously did not understand the difference between playing and fighting. I admit I was a bit rough on her dog, but we weren’t fighting. When we walked about a hundred meters she released her dog and it came running towards me to resume our play. But M did not feel like an argument with this hysterical human, so she told me to get along with her and I said goodbye to the dog.

Maybe one of the reasons why humans can’t  see the difference between playing and fighting, is that we dogs often play rough. We sometimes bark and even growl, we show our teeth. This is because playing is also a way of testing how strong we are, compared to each other. We do this with our humans, too! What do you think we are doing when we are playing a pulling game with you? We like the fun, but we are also testing if you are still strong. It is all in the game for us.

So this is playing, something very different from fighting. When are dogs fighting? I can tell you this: seldom. I mean really fighting, with the purpose to seriously hurt the other dog, not the barking and growling and biting-in-the-fur stuff that is playing rough. We hardly ever really fight because the risks are very high. When we city dogs get hurt in a fight we are taken to the vet, but when you are a stray dog, you could die. No dog will take such a risk if it is not really worth it.

For a real fight the stake must be very high. Such a stake could be a territory a dog defends. Or a pretty willing female, in that case a male dog will fight with another strong male dog who wants the same female. All the other things, like food, are not worth a real fight. If you look carefully how dogs behave in this situation, you will see a lot of snarling and growling and sometimes even an attack, but the dogs usually back off quickly. No one gets seriously hurt. We are pretty fast in determining which one of us is stronger and the strongest one gets the food.

Humans are not very good at really noticing what is going on, so I’ll help you out a bit here. How to tell the difference between playing rough and fighting? This is something Nicoline, my personal trainer, tells the humans she trains. She says that as long as dogs make a lot of noise, they are not really fighting. If they start snapping and showing teeth without making a noise, than the going gets though. When this happens with the group of dogs she walks with, she intervenes – she is a tough cookie, did I tell you that? She is brave. I would never intervene in a dog fight, I would just run. Which is a very sensible reaction, by the way.

Sorry for this long blog, it takes a lot of words to explain something that is not difficult to see for us dogs, but apparently it is for humans. I hope you will understand it now. A little test, to make sure you get it. Look at this picture. Is this fighting?

Fighting

Maybe it is a hard question to answer, because it is a picture and you cannot hear the noise.  This is me with my German Shepherd friend Sem. And no, it is not fighting (we made a lot of noise). Me and Sem like to measure forces when we meet each other. As you can see, we show our teeth, although in this picture Sem is not paying much attention to me anymore, because another dog was approaching. Sem is not very well mannered, he doesn’t know how to behave with a lady like me. Ha! I’ll show him next time I meet him.