Sunday, August 21, 2011

Would this dog attack?

[edited and updated Friday 26 Aug; 7am]
I post this, since there has been a recent incident in Melbourne (Australia) where a dog attacked a 4 year old girl, and killed her.

The 'airwaves', of course, have been full of emotionally heated discussion. Mostly focussed around a 'specific breed' of dog. The American Staffordshire Terrier - mostly known as the 'pit bull'. 

My response is that any canine is capable - depends on the circumstance -  or trainer. Human beings are capable of killing, and frequently do.

Canines are 'social' animals, and remarkably intelligent. They are also 'pack', and 'roaming'  animals, and - in the wild - look to a 'leader'. In the absence of a specific 'pack leader' - in other words, if they are 'locked up' in a backyard or cage on their own will, um, go crazy (or obey the wishes of whoever they think is their "pack leader".

So, is my dog, Abbey, intrinsically 'vicious'. Methinks no .. but she can be..

Allow me to tell a little story. She is, often, allowed 'free range' - in other words, not on leash nor behind gates and fences. By and large she 'plays' with all other dogs; some of her 'play' with other dogs might be seen as 'aggressive' (and yes, have video and photos to illustrate this) .. but also have video of her 'gentleness' with other animals.

So, there was a time when she came across another dog (am carefully suppressing the actual breed of dog here, since it already has 'bad reputation').  I threw a ball, both dogs went for it and, frankly, there was more blood on the other dog by the time we separated them.
So yes, dogs fight.

On the other hand - or, for a different perspective - there is an English collie (Charlie, male, free range, more or less) round the back of where i live who has a tendency to wander here and say hello to my dog Abbey (female, neutered).

It is somewhat of a joy, for me, to see them play.  I throw a ball. Charlie is the first one there; but won't bring it back to me. What he does, is pass it to Abbey who brings it back and drops the ball at my feet.

Dunno what all that means.

(in the interests of full disclosure - she is allowed to 'chase, clamp teeth on - retrieve', cats and rabbits.)
[further edit addition: Friday 26 Aug]
 ( was going to add this as a "comment", but the 'comments' have strayed 'off topic' .. heh)

In the interests of actual 'facts': While yes, she is allowed - even encouraged - to chase and catch rabbits, she has never been able to.  Have no idea what she would do if she caught one. Cats?, well, depends on the cat. There has been only one instance where she 'chased' one.  She's naturally 'curious', and poked her nose too close to one. It bopped her on the nose, and ran, she chased; but never caught it. By and large, she gets on well the several she's been 'introduced' to.

The point that am trying to make, methinks, is that while she may well have a 'natural instinct' to "hunt, chase, kill' - it would be mostly for food, and perhaps 'entertainment'. She is well, but not 'over', fed. She has a backyard to 'play' in, I am gentle and 'loving' toward her, and also take her for 'walks' around the neighbourhood (on, and off leash: depending) so that she can sniff and say hello to the other canines and animals (including the baby goats, free range hens, ducks) and has never shown any specific initial "aggression" toward any of them.  Nor is she specifically "territorial". Other canines (and other birds and animals) are frequently in "her" (my) yard. She accepts them with equanimity.


John Myste said...

I would not trust that dog. It looks as scarey as a plastic alligator to a five year old little girl to me.

lemmiwinks said...

Too right John. Matter of fact I once bit that dog.

Vest said...

Just commented on 'Cult of the Lupus'A Bunny lover,Oryctolagus cuniculas.
Seems you are neither a lover of bunnies or a Ailurophile.

Anne Johnson said...

I've had many enjoyable moments watching dogs try to clamp down upon the various cats I've owned. I had a cat with one eye and a bum hip that held a beagle at bay. My current cat, Alpha, did a counter-charge on a retriever, dashed between his legs, and deftly raced between the porch railings. Dogs have evolved to chase cats. Cats have evolved to elude them. Only humans can alter this balance.

lemmiwinks said...

I love rabbits, they taste great (no, seriously, they do if you slow cook them.)

John Myste said...

I have heard that some parts of human taste similar to rabbits, only better. I am a vegetarian, so I cannot test this. However, if I ever do start eating meat, I definitely intend to check it out.

You say slow cook them, eh? Will give that a try, should the opportunity present itself.

lemmiwinks said...

Given the economic outlook (buy gold, or guns, or canned tuna, or..something!) John, you may be presented with that opportunity sooner than you think. I eagerly await your review.

John Myste said...


We have always run with debt and we have raised the debt ceiling 74 times since 1945, even during prosperous times.

The reason our debt reached the public stage is we kept purchasing imperialism we could not afford, as the economy sank, and as we cut taxes that were already near historical lows and we created bail outs. The reason the debt issue became critical is because 60 members of our 635 member Congress decided to call it a crisis and refuse to allow the debt ceiling to be raised and also refused to add revenue to the budget, which is the solution we always used before.

We had a debt problem and should have balanced the budget, meaning no deficit. However, these 60 people decided that they would not allow us to pay for goods and services already purchased (had nothing to do with new purchasing) if we did not cut social programs the Republican Party had targeted for decades. Additionally, they made it clear they would destroy anyone in their party who opposed them.

It was an artificial crisis we created for political reasons. Our credit rating should have been downgraded accordingly.

We are nowhere near a real crisis, unless we continue to invent one. Our suffering GDP is enormous, our revenue streams are enormous, and either party could easily balance the budget and pay off the debt if not for the obstruction of the other party.

I will not eat my neighbors, unless I am mistaken, in which case I fully intend to. The ones making America insolvent are our elected officials. There are several simple solution that happen to live on the extreme left or the extreme right, meaning they are vigorously opposed by almost everyone.

lemmiwinks said...

John, I agree with what you've said, and you're obviously better positioned than I to write informed commentary, but on a slightly serious note I would contend that the USA does not have a debt problem so much as an income problem. There is a pathological opposition to any and all forms of taxation over there. Taxes suck, but they're a necessary evil to live in a nice society. The alternative is a gaping chasm between rich and poor, user pays (and pays and pays) and mountains of government debt for little or no return.

I am relieved that you have a backup plan to eat your neighbours though, I'm a firm believer in the 7 P's (Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance), so start fattening them now. You may want to take this quiz to make sure your own nearest and dearest aren't sizing you up for the pot:

John Myste said...

... but on a slightly serious note I would contend that the USA does not have a debt problem so much as an income problem.

I wrote a post about this. In the post I said the problem was exactly what Standard and Poor's said it was: We are spending more than the revenue we collect will support.

In a separate post at MMA I argued that most of the issue could be solved by cutting the military and increasing revenue on top marginal rates to cover the rest.

Needless to say, it was met with much aggression from conservative dissenters.

Davoh said...

Gah, this post was about canines, and one canine in particular .. how did this comment stream end up in 'political' territory .. Oh, I see, one mention of "American" and everyone automatically switches into "dog eat dog' discussion.

Vest said...

In the WW1 Trenches. A message.
"Send reinforcements we are going to advance" was relayed to HQ. The message received was "Send Three shillings and fourpence we are going to a dance".

Davoh said...

Huh? Vestie, are you are requesting 35cents (or AU$0.35 rounded up, and not allowing for inflation) plus self in pumps to assist you to cavort around the neighbourhood?