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Dog Training: When Dog Meets Dog
( Originally Published 1943 )
What is to be done when your dog sights another dog? The problem is a difficult one, social and psychological. Dogs are sociable creatures, anxious to meet all other dogs. Usually a brief how-do-you-do satisfies the craving to be the life of the party.
If the street is busy and the other dog is on the other side of the street, do not wait until he has started toward the other dog: this is a fundamental rule of dog pedagogy; give the command before the dog has had temptation to disobey; anticipate his actions. The best way to separate two fighting dogs is to be on the alert and prevent them from coming near to each other.
If you fear that your dog and the other dog will fight, an excellent way to hurry the quarrel is to get excited, kick the other fellow's dog, shout loudly, and try to pull your dog away. When you do this, your dog thinks you are encouraging him and helping him to lick the cowardly bully who is his adversary.
If both dogs are old friends, let your dog off lead. They get a thrill from the meeting. And do not call your dog back too soon; to do so is to cause the other dog to think your dog a coward; and then the other dog may chase him and nip him; thus your dog in time becomes afraid.
Dogs are politicians, and therefore, bluff every dog they can; and this they do more in the matter of fighting or pretending to fight than in anything else. Usually each dog is afraid of the other dog and each one is waiting for a sign of weakness or retreat in the other. Two dogs meeting for the first time have the same thot in their minds-"Am I afraid of this fellow? I will try to bluff him; it may be that he is a coward; I think I shall growl a bit, show my teeth, and stiffen my back; if he winces, I will jump toward him." And in this dogs are little different from you and me and other humans.
Even the dog that is bluffed or scared, walks away with a strut, looks back occasionally with an unconcerned air, and thus maintains his dignity. A friend of ours tells us of her effective method of wardin off other dogs which seek to annoy her own cocker as she has him out on his daily walks.
First, she tried a cane but dogs know that in the human race, the fair sex is not greatly to be feared. A dog will pay attention to the strict, stern words of the male human, whereas he only laughs up his sleeve, so to speak, when a lady human seeks to threaten him. He knows that she really won't be severe with him.
Our friend carries a squirt gun, filled with water. One squirt and the dog is gone.
If two dogs are fighting, do not try to pull your dog away by the tail or the hindlegs. Do not strike or kick him. This only incites him to more furious fighting.
Some breeds (usually long-muzzled breeds) snap often and so can be gotten apart quickly. Other breeds take a grip and hold it a la bulldog.
Dash cold water on their heads; turn a hose on them. If this does not separate them, put pepper, spirits of ammonia, perfume, whiskey or other substance unpleasant to the dog, on their noses.
A sure method is to insert a finger, wrapped in handkerchief, in the dog's rectum. If you are on the beach, pull both dogs into the water and their heads under the surface. If both owners are present and each one can seize his own dog by the neck, the dogs can be choked into opening their mouths. If a lead or rope can be gotten around the neck, it can be tightened until the dog, for want of breath, releases his hold.
If your own dog bites you while you are trying to get him out of a fight, do not blame him; he does so unintentionally.
The dog that delights to fight and always seeks a fight, is a problem. Severe punishment may help a little. If the other dog whips him to his great pain, it is a kind cruelty to your dog. Try to command, detain or hold your dog before he has had opportunity to see or reach the other dog. Do not muzzle him; this makes him easy prey for other dogs.
The little dog safe behind a fence barks furiously at the large dog outside. The cowardly dog waits until the other dog has gone some distance away, then he barks loudly.
The small dog unable to escape, lies on his back, knowing a large dog will not attack a small, helpless one.
Cats are a matter of little concern if the dog has been taught to obey. If he has not, let him meet a cat; it is only a dead cat that can not make the biggest dog turn and run. One humiliation and some scratches are enough to teach a dog that cats are furry dynamite.