Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Take a little peek at this video, found on youtube.
Cutsey? See the cute labrador playing with the ubercute human puppy there... gee, thats so cute I could puke...
And what is Buster, the star of the show saying... does he love 'his' baby?
Well, I can't tell you that, but I can tell you, he doesn't love some of the shit that baby is doing!
Lets skip back a minute to find my point here.... dogs have these mouths and they are full of teeth. They also keep their heads at roughly 'baby/toddler face height', around adult human knee height...
So when a dog snaps at and bites a baby or a child... they get the face.
And oh so many times, we hear the words 'He bit without warning' or 'it was a totally unprovoked attack'...
We see children in the newspapers with bite wounds to their faces, and, because their faces are small and dogs are in comparison large, because we have soft skin, those wounds are usually pretty bad (although generally NOT consistant with an 'attack' but very consistant with a quick 'bite and release' as is common in dog to dog communication and dog to puppy interactions.... interesting point that..).
So... you watched that clip?
Pinpoint where that dog said 'I don't want to play now baby'..
He actually said that politely around four or five times and then once quite strongly, and then again when the baby was pulling his tail he tried to tell the baby off two or three times there.
Start looking at the vid again, around the 3.10 mark on the counter, where the dog has his toy under his belly and the baby takes it. He pointedly removes the toy from the baby several times, eventually placing his paw over it.
The baby tries to take the toy again and this time Buster the Labrador holds on to the toy, freezes, stares directly at the baby and there is a milisecond of 'lip curl'.
Note also around that behaviour, Buster is looking away from the baby, to the owner and also the other way, he yawns, he pants, he licks his lips.. and then that freeze/stare/lipcurl..
This dog is saying 'I am not comfortable, I am stressed, I do not like this situation, Baby, Go Away'.. the lipcurl is stopped by the owner, i doubt she actually saw it, but i suspect she did cotton on that the freeze/stare part of the behaviour was going to the realms of 'dog snaps at baby'.
MOST owners don't see this language, this communication. This dog in this video, like hundreds of dogs on videos all over the internet is almost SHOUTING 'i am unhappy, i am stressed, i am not comfortable'.
Yet until they growl.. no one does anything to allieviate their problems.
And when they DO growl... well go on, your dog growls at your kid, if Buster in that vid growled at the baby after his lipcurl and stare went unheeded?..
'BAD DOG BUSTER, NO!'.... oh you betcha, thats what most of you would do, thats our instinct.
But its wrong, its so very wrong it resides in Wrongville, Wrong County, Planet Wrong.
Punish your dogs lipcurl, his growl, his airsnap, and you will create a dog who FEELS threatened, uncomfortable, pressured, but no longer has the ability to say 'hey, back off buddy'.
Put this in human terms... someone repeatedly invades your personal space and eventually, grabs your tits/ass. You would normally say 'HEY.... BACK OFF' way before that happened, but you are mute, you cannot speak.
Whadda ya gonna do? What option do you have left?
Well you can run away... or...
Smack em in the eyes!
This, people, dog owners, humans... this is the option so MANY dogs are given, this dog in the video I chose for this post has TRIED moving away from the baby, hes TRIED body language, hes TRIED ignoring it.. he tries very hard to pay attention tohis owner when she is encouraging her child to pull the dogs tail...
He has to try, tolerate this and so do a million dogs every day.
Isn't it awesome that dogs DO try to please us and not bite our children, even when we actively encourage them to use dogs as play things? When we ignore them and even punish them for trying to communicate with us how they feel!
And yet, as clearly much loved as Buster in the video is, and all the Busters around the world...
One nick, as much as one snarl at that baby and it'd be a one way trip to the vets office for him.
Don't you think thats wrong, that that is SERIOUSLY fucked up? Don't you think that we, as the creature with the bigger brain, the ability to learn different languages, understand different social rules and ettiquette ought to learn how to read and listen to our dogs?
Your dog is speaking to you, loud and clear. Pull your fingers out of your ears and listen to him!
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Designer dog breeds are something that sits uncomfortably with me, 'doodle' this and 'poo' that, when we do have sufficient real, recognised breeds with predictable looks and temperaments (on the whole) to suit anyone who is needing/wanting/capable of owning a dog.
That said, whilst I disapprove of the notion of creating these designer mongrels, especially where there are many thousands of mongrels dying in rescues and pounds across the country - if they are bred responsibly, if the parents have all the required health checks, if the breeders are willing to take back each and if necessary every pup they have ever produced and ensure them a home for life... I can't disagree with that.
But an idle trundle through the interwebnet today... brings me something that had only touched the edges of my concious previously.
That something would be the breeding of 'wolf hybrids'.
Where, where oh where do I start.
Well, minor little factoid one - Wolves Do Not Make Good Pets.
They are wild, dogs are domestic for a reason, wolves are NOT domesticated.
The reason dogs are good pets is because for thousands of years, we have domesticated them, and not without a little help from dogs themselves, who actively wanted to be with us (because they found life easier that way, NOT because they especially like being dressed in pink hoodies and pushed around in strollers).
Wolves do not want to be domesticated, and it is for that reason that in most countries, you will require a Wild Animal Licence to keep one.
Not, however, in all. And in those countries, the human desire to 'look really hard' by means of having a potentially dangerous pet, is fulfilled by the ownership of a dog who has wolf parentage.
Some of these wolf hybrids do contain a large quantity of wolf blood. These are 'the real deal'.... cool? Hell no!
What you have in a wolf hybrid is an animal who will often behave like a domestic dog.
But when the chips are down, when that animal is frightened, threatened, in pain, nervous... he's going to react like a wolf.
One site points out that wolves will avoid humans - and yes, WILD wolves, in their natural environment, in the security of their pack, free to behave naturally - these WILL avoid interacting with people, are not going to attack people...
Remove them from the security of their pack, force them into close contact with human beings, limit their ability to follow natural behaviours, fulfill instictive desires... and they absolutely can, will and DO attack and injure human beings.
Hell, domesticated dogs attack, injure and kill human beings, for EXACTLY the same reasons, ie they are mistreated, they are denied their needs, they are forced into situations they are ill equipped to deal with...
Creating a mixture of dog and wolf is the HEIGHT of human stupidity - for a creature with such a mahoosive brain we really are incredibly stupid!
One website I came across described their wolf hybrids as being safe with children!!!
As a dog behaviourist, I wouldn't state that DOGS are safe with children - safe when supervised, safe when trained and managed correctly, but never flat out 100% safe, no animal is (even our own fucking species often cannot be trusted alone with children!).
Interestingly that particular website had pictures of their 'stud wolf' who looked like the labrador x German Shepherd Dog-est wolf I ever saw - the rest of their dogs looked to be approx 0% wolf as well...
"Prince Adam, supposedly a "McKenzie Valley Arctic" (sic)... (note. Arctic wolfs are one type... 'Mackenzie Valley is another, its an alternative name for ... see below!)
A real Mackenzie Valley - aka Canadian/Alaskan Timber Wolf
Still, its FINE to breed these, because GOD made the wolf so we could live with it, and GOD made the wolf so great he will bond with his pack... shame God made us with hands and thumbs and not paws, Wolf might have had the ability to see us as pack members if he hadnt!
"The main reasons why people want to have a wolf-dog as part of their family is because #1 it is more intelligent and #2 God gave the Wolf the ability to BOND with members of its pack. The bonding ability that God gave all wolves was absolutely necessary so that they could NEVER turn on their OWN family.
God intended a wolf to be a happy, social animal and he made the bonding to ensure that.
A wolf puppy will bond with its family, to the extent that it is not able to turn on its family. It was given the gift of bonding for that reason, and it will obey its nature until it dies."
Really? So how'd you explain all the behaviourists, biologists, dog trainers, zoo workers, animal handlers who will ALL tell you, you cannot trust a wolf or wolf hybrid, you cannot treat them as if they were a dog. The one thing you CAN expect from a wolf hybrid is that it will be completely unpredictable. It is perfectly able and WILL turn on a human if the circumstances force it. That means you miss just ONE piece of crucial yet minute body language... and blammo, wolfonyerface!
Regardless of whether we subscribe to the belief of His existance, the wolf is meant to be a goddamn wolf, not your freaking plaything. Leave Wolf the heck alone, we have Dog, he's fine and hes far more adapted to live with us stupid, clumsy humans.
Still, if you are so retarded as to believe that a wolf hybrid or pure wolf raised as family will be incapable of attacking you... you actually probably deserve to be removed off the planet by your crazed wild animal before you reproduce. If you already did, well thats cool because Wolfy will probably use your babies as a chewytoy.
So on top of the complete retards selling real wolf hybrids, there are even bigger retards selling PRETEND wolf hybrids.
Where does the madness stop!
Still think a wolfdog is cool? read this