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Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Brut and Silver challenging. 
(last year photo.  I wish we had this much snow!)

I play fight with my dogs and Brut is no different.  It is what dogs do with other dogs.  I did it for that sole purpose.  It is part of playtime.  As Brut got older and his aggressions with other dogs became apparent, it didn't stop me from playing rough with him.  Then I heard experts state that you shouldn't play fight, play tug-of-war or wrestle with an aggressive dog.  That didn't stop me either.  Granted Brut's reactions were not towards me, but he did assert himself with strong dominance. 

I understand the need to express anger and frustration and to do so constructively.  I have my own boxing bag and gloves.  It made perfect sense to me that Brut needed that type of outlet as well.  So I gave him myself.  Together we fought out our frustrations and anger by challenging and trying to outsmart each other.  Since neither of us were out to hurt the other on purpose, we were able to vent and learn from each other. 

Since Brut wasn't socialized with his litter mates, where he should have learned about bite inhibitions, he began to learn with me.  He knew nothing about what was proper and OK when it came to his mouth.  When he bit too hard, I yelled and then I would stop all movement.  When I stopped he let go.  He eventually learned when his bite was too hard and it became softer.  If he really started to get out of control, like jumping at my face, all play stopped immediately.  He associated no movement with no play.

Teaching him about bite inhibitions were not part of my strategy when I would fight with him.  In fact, I knew nothing of bite control or the fact that he was suppose to have learnt this from his mother and litter mates.   I just knew he bit too hard.  I knew nothing about how dogs challenged each other for dominance, another lesson we both learned by play fighting.  No books, training, or knowledge of dog behavior, we simply played like dogs and it taught us both what we needed to learn.  Our play was from the heart and everything else worked itself out. 

Sometimes too much knowledge hinders the natural order of things.   


Brian's Home Blog said...

Sounds like the learning experience really paid off!!!

Pamela said...

Your reaction to Brut's bites is exactly what his litter mates would have done if they had been given the chance. Sounds like you did learn something you could use--you learned it from watching puppies!

That's more fun than reading any dog training book.

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

My Human Momma always says there is no substitute for something she calls "horse sense".

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

houndstooth said...

Ha ha! Yeah, what Hank said!


Levi said...

Perfect common sense to me! No books necessary :)

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

The animals have so much they can teach us. it wasn;t too long ago that most humans knew that.

Kristine said...

You know, the whole tug of war/play fighting debate I think comes down to the kind of relationship you want or have with your dog.

When we first adopted Shiva we never ever tugged because she would immediately get over-aroused. I have the scars to prove it. But gradually over time as she learned to relax and as she learned bite inhibition, tugging became one of our favourite games. Now we can tug for hours. Rather we could if I didn't exhaust so easily. :-P

I don't play fight with Shiva too much as I kind of suck at it. My husband does all the time. It's an awesome thing to watch. As long as the person is in charge of starting and ending the game and as long as things don't get out of control, I don't see the harm in it at all. It's a way for them to bond and gain trust. Much like you and Brut.

But if people don't want to play this way with their dogs, that's fine too. There are lots of games and lots of ways to build a bond.

Just my two cents!

jen said...

I couldn't agree more.
When the boys had their first fight I really panicked, and got a lot of advice. Almost too much advice, everyone telling me different things and it just made me more nervous.
I have come to live with it. The fights are very few and far between.
I do allow them to play fight, but under my supervision and it has never gotten out of hand. I have come to learn their signs.
as far as play fighting, I do it with Leroy, but he tends to go too far, it is then that I walk away from him. He is getting a lot better though to not let it get to that point.

meowmeowmans said...

Sounds like common sense was better than any book could've been in this situation! :)

ForPetsSake said...

Wow - interesting! I think your practicality makes sense. If it works for that pup - awesome! Love it when simple things just work.