Issues involving physical examinations and testing. Questions, answers, theories, and evidence.
When are examinations and testing necessary?


Postby malernee » Thu Oct 21, 2004 10:38 am


In most neighborhoods, many dogs belonging to unrelated human groups must share the same territory. This is the equivalent of many competing packs. Dogfights can result if neighborhood rivals come face to face.
A dogfight can occur between dogs of either sex, whether they are neutered or not. These may erupt spontaneously between dogs, particularly when both are males and even worse, when one or both are intact. Intermale aggression (aggression between adult male dogs) is common and can result in savage fights.
Even if leash laws are not in effect in your area, the leash should be considered a lifeline between you and your pet. If dogs are leashed, the owners can separate the antagonists. If the aggressor is unleashed and, even worse, unsupervised, there is a high risk of injury to a leashed dog and its owner.
Free-roaming groups of dogs frequently revert to ancestral pack behavior, posing potential danger to adults, children, and pets. Be suspicious of any dog roaming freely in your area, even if the is familiar and you pet has had friendly encounters with it in the past. Any dog or group of dogs should be considered a potential threat. Consider carrying a loud noisemaker, such as an air horn, to deter overly confident dogs. A small can of aerosol hairspray or a water pistol filled with diluted lemon juice or vinegar directed at a menacing dog's face can be equally effective. Hairsprays have been safely tested by their manufacturers; the most they will cause is transitory and brief eye irritation. These should be used only if an attack is already initiated or seems inevitable in your judgment. These gadgets could backfire by provoking an attack in an aroused dog that might otherwise have tolerated your passage.
Fighting can occur between neighborhood dogs and between dogs from the same household. If you witness a dogfight, consider your own safety first. In most cases, injuries sustained by intervening owners or passersby are far worse than the combatants will suffer. Do not insert a hand or foot directly between the two rivals because the dogs' natural reaction may be to redirect their attack against you. You are at risk of injury even if the fight erupts between your own pets. If you must intercede, avoid using your hands. If possible, hose down the aggressor with water, or throw something else at it to distract it. Proceed with extreme caution.
It is often helpful to help settle the power struggle between housemates by supporting the dominant dog. It is our human nature to side with the underdog or to break up minor conflicts prematurely before they are allowed to reach a stable and an inevitable outcome. However, this is counterproductive and delays or even aggravates the dominance struggle between dogs. It is usually best to consider which dog already has the advantage in (1) determination to achieve a higher social status over the other, (2) size or strength, and (3) maturity or experience. Overall, this may mean that your older pet may ultimately have to concede to your newer, younger dog. Rather than becoming entangled in human values of loyalty to your first pet and protecting the victim, both dogs will be better off if their issues are resolved quickly.
Feed your chosen dominant dog just before your designated subordinate eats.
Make the designated subordinate dog sit and down when the other is standing nearby.
Have the designated leader enter your home from an outing before the other.
In other words, give preferential treatment to the socially prominent dog whenever the other is present. (You can still behave the way you usually do whenever you and the designated subordinate are alone.)
If aggressive interactions are an increasing problem between your own pet dogs, identify the situations that most predictably result in a conflict. Is either dog guarding nearby food? A favorite toy? A favorite resting place? Does aggression occur during periods of excitement, such as before or during a walk? Is the outburst preceded by one dog's assuming a position of dominance over the other? Consider the sexual status and age. Try to identify the common denominators in the aggressive patterns, and consult a veterinary behaviorist who can help identify the type of aggression displayed and guide you through rehabilitation.
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