2016.08.15

To fight or To Flight

In our small little city, we lack the vast greenland for our dogs to run about and exercise. The most common thing that we do and can do for our dogs is going for gatherings and attending parties. With the social media development, we often attend gatherings and parties with dogs that we ‘know’ on Instagram or Facebook. In actual fact, we know nothing about these dogs, we only know what was posted on the social media. As such, one of the most common thing to happen during such gatherings is non other than dog fights.

Many scenarios can cause dog fights. One of the most common reasons is when dogs do not greet each other properly. We see a rise in the number of dogs who don’t know how to greet a dog properly. Instead, they meet eyes first and it gets worse when the owners do not see a problem with this. Imagine for awhile, how the the old-school gangster fights begin. “See what see?!”, “You never see me how you know I see you!?”, “See some more? Come, fight!” And this can be exactly what happen when two dogs meet eyes first. Eye to eye aside, there are more opportunities for dogs to fight after the initial greeting.

Ideally, in a public area, everyone should be allowed to correct each other’s dog to keep the area healthy and free of fights. But in the current society, this is barely possible. People are afraid of being judged and there are just too many different training techniques around.

When you have zero control with other dogs, the best insurance is of course your own dog. Having a dog that is slick in social skills is a big bonus and having a dog that is flexible makes going for gatherings and parties a stress-free one. A flexible dog, in our opinion is one that takes cues, warnings and hints from another dog and from the surrounding and avoid before any commotion arises.

Why does your dog need to avoid fights? A dog fight is pretty much like a car accident. The car that causes the damage is the car at fault no matter what happened before or after that. Although your dog might be simply reacting because he was provoked, he is still at fault if he causes a punctured wound on the other dog. Is it your dog’s fault because he has a stronger jaw? Is it your dog’s fault if he was just reacting? Maybe, maybe not. The dog that causes an injury will always be the dog at fault.

All dogs are curious, your dog might be just sniffing around but the other dog might not like his area being sniffed. Simple scenes like that can cause a dog fight to break out. You have no control over the other dog, and you want your dog to be able to enjoy and be curious. So the next best thing to do is of course to train your dog to be sensitive to warnings, to leave when warning is given, to take cues from another dog like a social expert, to drop it when being asked, and to be patient and tolerant. It’s never cowardice when safety is in question.

It is best to train flexibility and build strong social skills with other dogs. Gather some like-minded owners who are also looking to socialise their dogs in a safe way. Build a strong group of 5-6 dogs, set some simple rules that everyone agrees on. At the same time, take the opportunity to study the dogs’ behaviours and language, learn from each other. Correct your dog or another dog when the need arises and allow everyone to correct your dog. Going for a strong pack walk together with the dogs before or after the gathering can help start or end the day productively.