|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 6:01pm PST |
|On the other topic, you have to ask...is that fight/flight, is it flipping out, or is it a contained expression? Bites, too, have very different levels. It's not way too far unless it IS way too far, which is when the dog gets in that self protective mode. No one wants to see that....not me, not anyone. But there is plenty of bite in between that is not that. It's a communication, rather than a pleading or demand.
Breeds have very differing levels of bite discretion. GSDs take a LOT to give an actual bite. They are masters of the "cheap shot," which is a quick close-release. That's one reason why Dodman objects to them being so high up on the bite list, because so many of these incidences are a dog who is not a threat. Who had a chance to deliver something serious, but that isn't what he wants to do....he is just saying, "yo, I have teeth." That's one thing I love about them. They don't REALLY want to bite, but if they have to...ok then, watch out! They have huge jaw pressure and can break your arm if they want to. When Tiller corrects a puppy with his mouth, he doesn't close it. When Tiller gets in with a bossy scuffle with a dog, he doesn't close his mouth either. Or pounces my cat....they have a twisted relationship Those are technically bites, I suppose, but not really. A Giant defending himself is a grizzly bear....never seen anything as powerful when it comes to defensive drive. Blinding aggression. He isn't showing that, though. Not even a fraction. He is showing extreme control, does not want to harm, does not feel threat. It's a mouthy breed, and he's "talking."
As Lupi said, it's about knowing your dog. Reading him, and also the other dog I'd say as they have influence. But if everyone is contained, there's no reason to stop a completely functional interchange. Dogs have a right to speak. We have an obligation to protect them. Somewhere between those two is a balance. Go too far one way and your dog will have a bad incident you should have prevented. Go to far the other, and you are blocking a dog from being a dog and proning him to being maladaptive. One is careless and one is oppressive.
One incident shouldn't ruin a properly socialized dog. Tiller got attacked by a Chow as a teen....a very dishonest dog with a delusional owner - no warning, no nothing, just BAM and then on top of him - and was none the worse for wear. Affected him not an iota. Because he knows how the world works, how dogs work, and one dog wasn't going to upend a more worldly knowledge. I want dogs to teach my dog so that he knows how to be one and knows how to brush off one who is acting like a yo-yo.
As I said before, try your BEST to protect your dog. A Kerry Blue, just an example but a very appropriate one in this setting, is infamous for his fast temper and can...have seen it many times....go from happy to "you must die now" outrage in three seconds or less. The best protection you will EVER have is a dog who can put things in context, which is something the world of dogs can teach him. We cannot teach him that. We can imply a world that doesn't exist and either manage or hope that fantasy. Or trust a little, not be scared of experience and let him grow. This with all the normal warnings....functional dog, tame situation, good body language reads. For IF one day a dysfunctional dog pops on him, he will have that history of good reads and be far less vulnerable to a problematic outcome.
Growling is *normal* and *functional* Air snapping is, too. Controlled bites are, too. Committed, defensive bites are something gone out of control. There is a huge difference in those sequences. Knowing our dogs, being able to read situations, is critical to having the most well adjusted and truly confident pet we can have. Confidence is self agency, not knowing you have a protector. Unlike trust, important as well, which is believing in your guardian as just that. Dogs need both.
Edited by author Wed Jan 16, '13 6:24pm PST
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