Body Language and Dog Aggression - video

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Postby CinderDee » May 13th, 2008, 2:18 am

I would never had known. He looks like he just wants to play. (I've never had a DA dog)

Thanks for the video & the explanation!
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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 5:48 am

DemoDick wrote:
This is an interesting conversation. I think back to last week with the dobie approaching Cy. Cy was peeing and didn't see the dog coming...it wasn't until Cy looked over his shoulder and saw the dog (with it's nose up his butt) that he started to growl and his hackles went up...

(emphasis added)

I think the whole point of Michelle's post was that if you're a Pit Bull owner waiting for the typical signs of "unfriendly dog" that you described you're setting yourself up for a potential disaster. The serious Pit Bull who wants to fight displays much of the same body language as the friendly dog who just wants to play.

I've seen a lot of people, some who have been in this breed for years, get their hands on their first truly "hot" Pit and freak out, saying things like "he just snapped", "he didn't growl or bark or make a sound", or "I can't trust him now". In fact, the dog is behaving perfectly normally for this breed, and with a little understanding future problems can be avoided. Forewarned is forearmed.

Demo Dick


Demo, my point is that you need to be able to read your own dog and dogs in general. As a person on the outside, the fact that he IS looking so intently is a cue to me that something is up, and that was a cue the first time I saw the video. In fact, even without a pit, if one of my dogs is THAT locked in on something, someone, or another dog, regardless of whether hackles are up or growling, I know that my dog wants it. From there you can read other cues from the rest of the dog's body language to know what your dog's intentions are.

Cy will stare intently at another dog with his tail wagging, etc. He won't get nasty until another dog is in his face (or his butt). From the outside, he looks like he wants to play.

Now, here's my question...if we're saying that it is more instinctual to act this way in pits b/c it is bred into some lines, let's look at another instinct. Breeding. If you were to put an intact, in heat (or almost in heat) female in front of him, how would he act? I have heard of MANY DA dogs, pits included, who, when presented with a spayed female, will act like Riggs did. However, put an intact female in front of them, and they're a different dog. So, can the instinct of breeding overcome the instinct of fighting? From an evolutionary perspective, it should...
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Postby Malli » May 13th, 2008, 6:36 am

Is his tail always set that high when it wags? It looked pretty upright to me... Other then that the rest of him gives nothing away...

Oscar's reativity is definitely forward fear, and I think a combination of a poor ability to communicate with other dogs; for Oscar, even when he does work to accomodate the other dog (obey their objections/"corrections"), I think he still doesn't "get" why the other dog told him off. He is afraid because he knows he can't always see it coming. Its : he jumps on them(very pushy and obnoxious) and they'll either take issue or take it and be friendly, and then if the dog objects, he is immediately defensive and returns the reaction. He just doesn't get it, its like dog language is largely a different then his language.

Its definitely different from Riggs, in his case it almost seems like a game.
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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 8:26 am

Malli wrote:Is his tail always set that high when it wags? It looked pretty upright to me... Other then that the rest of him gives nothing away...



Now, see, I let a few other people see the video, and they said that the stare gives him away...which is what I thought

Maybe it's b/c it's very similar to the stare that my dog has when it's about to bite a decoy...and I'm talking about Cy - who is a serious dog, not wholly prey driven...
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 13th, 2008, 8:58 am

DemoDick wrote:
How much of this is learned behavior? By that I mean, he learned to hold his displays in check because of something...an aversive of some sort.


In his case? None. He's not holding any displays in check. He never "displays" fear or insecurity in that manner, and I don't think he ever has (the dog doesn't know how to back up from anything, as his breeder once said). He wants more than anything for Michelle to drop the leash, just like some dogs want to get the tennis ball.

Demo Dick



In Munkee's case, none as well. He was never corrected for displaying because to tell you the truth, he never HAS. The only indications that I had that he was becoming DA was his becoming more impatient with other dogs. Then one day, bam. He hated them all.
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 13th, 2008, 9:03 am

Now, here's my question...if we're saying that it is more instinctual to act this way in pits b/c it is bred into some lines, let's look at another instinct. Breeding. If you were to put an intact, in heat (or almost in heat) female in front of him, how would he act? I have heard of MANY DA dogs, pits included, who, when presented with a spayed female, will act like Riggs did. However, put an intact female in front of them, and they're a different dog. So, can the instinct of breeding overcome the instinct of fighting? From an evolutionary perspective, it should...


They ( general they, as not all of them would) act the exact same way. That is why many game dog breeders use breeding stands. But it really depends on the dog itself.
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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 9:12 am

cheekymunkee wrote:
Now, here's my question...if we're saying that it is more instinctual to act this way in pits b/c it is bred into some lines, let's look at another instinct. Breeding. If you were to put an intact, in heat (or almost in heat) female in front of him, how would he act? I have heard of MANY DA dogs, pits included, who, when presented with a spayed female, will act like Riggs did. However, put an intact female in front of them, and they're a different dog. So, can the instinct of breeding overcome the instinct of fighting? From an evolutionary perspective, it should...


They ( general they, as not all of them would) act the exact same way. That is why many game dog breeders use breeding stands. But it really depends on the dog itself.


So, then, the question becomes, why are these dogs being bred? I'm not trying to be smart...I think we can all agree that dogfighting is wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, only the strongest genes survive. Also, from an evolutionary perspective, the purpose of breeding is to pass on those strongest genes. The only reason any of us or any of our dogs are here is because of breeding. If the instinct to fight is stronger than the instinct to breed, then isn't that an indication that maybe a dog shouldn't breed? I mean, we're talking about an instinct that has been around since the beginning of time....
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 13th, 2008, 9:45 am

Good question & one that would be better answered by a game dog breeder. it seems they want to keep the 'sport' of dog fighting or matching alive and by breeding two very hot dogs they can have a better chance of having a hot litter. But, with this breed DA is a crap shoot. As you know you can breed 2 hot dogs together & get cold as ice puppies, just like with any breeding of any type of dog, the litter can be hit or miss.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » May 13th, 2008, 9:56 am

Regarding breeding urges vs. fighting urges, I know at least with Riggs, he's good with all females (except for Inara, apparently). So I would think breeding wouldn't be an issue with him. I think it does seem extreme if you have to use a breeding stand to breed two dogs.
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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 10:10 am

cheekymunkee wrote:Good question & one that would be better answered by a game dog breeder. it seems they want to keep the 'sport' of dog fighting or matching alive and by breeding two very hot dogs they can have a better chance of having a hot litter. But, with this breed DA is a crap shoot. As you know you can breed 2 hot dogs together & get cold as ice puppies, just like with any breeding of any type of dog, the litter can be hit or miss.


Absolutely...puppies are always a crap shoot in any sport (whether it be bitesport or dogfighting)...I was more bringing it up just as point to be made...

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Regarding breeding urges vs. fighting urges, I know at least with Riggs, he's good with all females (except for Inara, apparently). So I would think breeding wouldn't be an issue with him. I think it does seem extreme if you have to use a breeding stand to breed two dogs.


I wasn't speaking of Riggs specifically as a breeding prospect (please don't take it that way, Michelle)...I was more speaking of the breed, in general...but used him as an example as he was the main subject of the post...I know people who own other breeds...and their dogs are DA even to a female in heat...and it's something that has always made me wonder...so, it was more to see what other people thought...

Also, as we talk about fighting "instinct" I wonder if it's appropriate to call it instinct. There was a psychology conference held in 1960, from which stemmed a book called "Instincts" (I don't own this book, however, it's cited in several of my Learning and Behavior textbooks)...according to the book, to truly be considered an instinct, the following criteria must be met. The behavior must:
1) be Automatic
2) be irresistible
3) be triggered by some event in the environment
4) occur at some point in development
5) occur in every member of the species
6) be unmodifiable
and 7) govern behavior for which the organism needs no training


The book goes on to say that given this definition, there are no instinctual behaviors in humans, but other species show these instincts when it comes to migration, hibernation, and breeding. Furthermore, in animals, if the correct learning is somehow kept from being learned, then the instinctual behaviors disappear. This suggests that rather than being instinctual, they are, instead, very strong, however limited, biological predispositions...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby TheRedQueen » May 13th, 2008, 10:39 am

How do you go about getting dogs like this then? (I'm not talking about Riggs...just in general).

I have met dogs that don't give warning...and most have been human-made. So how would you get a breed as a whole to not give warning? Just thinking...I do get the idea that it's better for fighting...but how to get there?

Would you just breed for really intense dogs that don't show signs of aggression...and how do you get them in the first place? I don't breed, and I find certain aspects of breeding dogs fascinating, and certain things disturbing...and everywhere in between, but I don't really know the first thing about it.

I still would not have thought Riggs was genuinely playing...he's too intense for my taste. I'd be curious to see his body language when he's not on leash too. His body posture was very upright for a dog that wanted to play...but the leash may have caused some of that.

ETA...Is Inara usually that "rude" when meeting another dog (I know she has dog issues)...because my guys would have been put off by that behavior. Actually, mine probably would have steered clear of Riggs too...there is no way they would have rushed up to his face like that, and kept at it. I'd be interested to see Riggs with a dog that maybe reads body language better. Score will send calming signals to dogs pulling hard on leash towards him...
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 13th, 2008, 11:26 am

Ya'll are asking TOO many smart girl questions! :backRoll:

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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 11:34 am

TheRedQueen wrote:How do you go about getting dogs like this then? (I'm not talking about Riggs...just in general).

I have met dogs that don't give warning...and most have been human-made. So how would you get a breed as a whole to not give warning? Just thinking...I do get the idea that it's better for fighting...but how to get there?


And that's the thing...there can be a biological predisposition without being instinctual...will write more later...need to run to a lunch meeting
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Postby mnp13 » May 13th, 2008, 12:48 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:How much of this is learned behavior? By that I mean, he learned to hold his displays in check because of something...an aversive of some sort.

He's never been corrected for a display at a dog because we've really never seen one that was aggression. The closest that we've had was last summer when he was in my parent's boat and some friends pulled up along side. They had a yappy little rat dog that seemed "friendly" at first and Riggs was quiet, tail wagging, ears up, pulling forward. My parents protested that he only wanted to "say hi." To prove my point I half let go of his collar and he immediately tried to jump into the other boat. I grabbed onto his back end and pulled him back into the boat. He then started having a frusterated hissy fit. Point taken, and we pulled away.

We have worked our asses off in protection work to get him to bark at the decoy. The summer before I got him he was sent to California to be a Schutzhund dog. She sent him back because they couldn't get him to bark. He is finally barking somewhat consistantly, but once he really "narrows in" he goes back to being silent again.

He is controlled with obedience, but that's it. We have taken numerous training classes where we do off leash work with other dogs in the immediate vicinity. He ignores them because he's being told to. We actually left a class because the instructor refused to tell a few class members to keep their dogs out of his personal space. He's good, but not that good. the last straw was the CKC whose owner was busy talking to someone else and letting him run around. Riggs was in a down and the dog literally ran across his front legs. Way to risky for my taste and since other people can't be responsible, I left.

TheRedQueen wrote:I don't know much about Riggs specifically...so I'm not necessarily aiming it at him...but just putting out food for thought for everyone to ponder.

No, that's a good question. I used to deal with a rescue person who told me that her Chow growled at her when she tried to get him off of her couch. I was appalled. She then explained that she let him growl because if she tried to stop him from growling then he would learn to bite without a warning. I tried to make her understand that there was a deeper issue than supressing warnings, but she insisted that this was the "right" way to handle him. I gave up on that one. Bite waiting to happen...

DemoDick wrote:He never "displays" fear or insecurity in that manner, and I don't think he ever has (the dog doesn't know how to back up from anything, as his breeder once said).

Which is actually why we had to give up on the "choke off" method of teaching the out. Very very little gets anything across to this dog in a physical manner. I have used a prong collar on him, but it's pretty useless because he is missing that cog in his brain that is related to self preservation. He gegnerally doesn't want things to back away.

Now... I'll put all my cards on the table. Riggs does give warnings, but only to people. Yeah, I know, Pit Bulls shouldn't show aggression to people, yadda yadda yadda. He's not being aggressive, he's saying "back off or I'll be forced to make you back off." He's had a million chances to back up his warnings, but never has. I truly don't think he actually wants to or he would have by now. His displays, in relation to people, are based in conflict - I want this, but I know I'll get in trouble for it, so I'll make you go away so that I can avoid it all together. (different discussion for a different topic, so let's leave it there.)

amazincc wrote:So are you saying that Riggs' behavior is "instinct", per say? Were Pit Bulls actually bred for NOT displaying any warning signs?

In my opinion, yes... and no. It's not that they were bred to not have warning signs, but that they were bred to not to want to give warning signs. A "warning sign" is used to attempt to scare off or intimidate. Riggs doesn't want to scare off Inara, he doesn't want to intimidate her, he wants to injure her. Truly dog aggressive dogs want nothing better than to tangle, if a warning sign is heeded by the other dog then it will go away... and they don't want the other dog to go away, they want to draw them in close enough to grab.

DemoDick wrote:Don't assume he wants to play just because he looks like he does.

Sure he wants to play! He just has a different definition of play than Inara does. ;)

katiek0417 wrote:In fact, even without a pit, if one of my dogs is THAT locked in on something, someone, or another dog, regardless of whether hackles are up or growling, I know that my dog wants it.

Malli wrote:Is his tail always set that high when it wags? It looked pretty upright to me... Other then that the rest of him gives nothing away...

He gets that locked on toys, dogs, cats, decoys and anything else that he wants. I'll have to get a video of us playing ball for comparason. I'm going to guess that his tail will be lower though.

katiek0417 wrote:Now, here's my question...if we're saying that it is more instinctual to act this way in pits b/c it is bred into some lines, let's look at another instinct. Breeding. If you were to put an intact, in heat (or almost in heat) female in front of him, how would he act? I have heard of MANY DA dogs, pits included, who, when presented with a spayed female, will act like Riggs did. However, put an intact female in front of them, and they're a different dog. So, can the instinct of breeding overcome the instinct of fighting? From an evolutionary perspective, it should...

I don't know how he would act with an intact female, I would like to think that the breeding instinct would overpower the aggression. But for many dogs it doesn't.

katiek0417 wrote:Now, see, I let a few other people see the video, and they said that the stare gives him away...which is what I thought

What background do they have in dogs? It definately gives it away to people used to seeing dogs like ours, but the "general pet owner" usually sees something very different.

cheekymunkee wrote:In Munkee's case, none as well. He was never corrected for displaying because to tell you the truth, he never HAS. The only indications that I had that he was becoming DA was his becoming more impatient with other dogs. Then one day, bam. He hated them all.

Aren't they just precious? :rolleyes2:

cheekymunkee wrote:They ( general they, as not all of them would) act the exact same way. That is why many game dog breeders use breeding stands. But it really depends on the dog itself.

katiek0417 wrote:So, then, the question becomes, why are these dogs being bred? I'm not trying to be smart...I think we can all agree that dogfighting is wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, only the strongest genes survive. Also, from an evolutionary perspective, the purpose of breeding is to pass on those strongest genes. The only reason any of us or any of our dogs are here is because of breeding. If the instinct to fight is stronger than the instinct to breed, then isn't that an indication that maybe a dog shouldn't breed? I mean, we're talking about an instinct that has been around since the beginning of time....

Personally, I don't think they should be bred. If either dog has to be restrained so that it can perform the most basic of basic instincts there is no reason to make more of them. As always, there must be exceptions but I can't think of any. There is a reason that a "breeding stand" is also called a "rape stand" because if the female wants has to be tied down to accept a male than she is not exactly a willing participant.

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Regarding breeding urges vs. fighting urges, I know at least with Riggs, he's good with all females (except for Inara, apparently). So I would think breeding wouldn't be an issue with him. I think it does seem extreme if you have to use a breeding stand to breed two dogs.

Actually, I'm not sure about that. He's been good with females, but she's only the third or fourth that he's been introduced to since we've had him. However, knowing him, the chance to get it on will surpass all else.

katiek0417 wrote:Also, as we talk about fighting "instinct" I wonder if it's appropriate to call it instinct. There was a psychology conference held in 1960, from which stemmed a book called "Instincts" (I don't own this book, however, it's cited in several of my Learning and Behavior textbooks)...according to the book, to truly be considered an instinct, the following criteria must be met. The behavior must:
1) be Automatic
2) be irresistible
3) be triggered by some event in the environment
4) occur at some point in development
5) occur in every member of the species
6) be unmodifiable
and 7) govern behavior for which the organism needs no training


The book goes on to say that given this definition, there are no instinctual behaviors in humans, but other species show these instincts when it comes to migration, hibernation, and breeding. Furthermore, in animals, if the correct learning is somehow kept from being learned, then the instinctual behaviors disappear. This suggests that rather than being instinctual, they are, instead, very strong, however limited, biological predispositions...

Isn't an infant nursing instinctual?

In regards to the 7 criteria, does the "amount" count or is it a yes/no thing?

In relation to #6, I don't feel that dog aggression is "unmodifiable" but it is controllable. Does that matter in the context of the study?

TheRedQueen wrote:I still would not have thought Riggs was genuinely playing...he's too intense for my taste. I'd be curious to see his body language when he's not on leash too. His body posture was very upright for a dog that wanted to play...but the leash may have caused some of that.

Here is my post from the thread about Alice with the videos
mnp13 wrote:Well, here she is trying desparately to get Riggs to play with her. the quality isn't great, but it's from my phone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDuoAPvmvIM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z534obPE4_0

and yes, I know Riggs' body language is not all that friendly, but he looked genuinely confused "hmmm, should I ignore you, hump you or bite you....? decisions decisions decisions...." lol
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Postby TheRedQueen » May 13th, 2008, 1:00 pm

Now I find the videos with Alice really interesting...her body language is a lot like Inara's was...very in-you-face playful...without, apparently reading the other dog too well. Very juvenile, under-socialized imho. I see this a lot with labs and boxers...(not picking on them...just making an observation!)...they just act like puppies for a long time...rush in to play, without checking with the other dog first. I don't see this with my gang...they tend to be slower to warm up to a strange dog (at least to play...they're perfectly friendly and social about sniffing/greeting/etc. But Xander will growl at dogs that push him too much with "HI! NICE TO MEETCHA! LET'S PLAY!" kind of behavior)

Riggs is definitely confused...he seems to really want to hump Alice, or at least have his head over her back...but because she's being so silly, he can't get to it.

How have the other females been that he gets along with? Similar in play styles? Has he met a female that has better "manners"?

This is fun! :dance:

ETA...another thought...

Do Alice or Inara play this way with other dogs? Is this a typical play style for them, or have they developed this to counter-act the strange behavior of Riggs? Or are they just confused, and are reverting back to silly behaviors because they're nervous?
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Postby mnp13 » May 13th, 2008, 1:13 pm

Alice and Inara were the exact same with all three of our dogs. Goofy, pushy, no manners, but no harm intended - just 50 pound "puppies". Inara and Connor ran around like lunatics the entire weekend. We finally had to separate them to protect us. lol

Frankly, Riggs doesn't really "play." He doesn't mess with Ruby, she can do just about anything she wants when he's around her and he just puts up with it. Neither of them do anything overt, he just goes along with what she wants. They have had a few very minor spats, but nothing more than bratty stuff.
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Postby katiek0417 » May 13th, 2008, 2:53 pm

mnp13 wrote:
katiek0417 wrote:Also, as we talk about fighting "instinct" I wonder if it's appropriate to call it instinct. There was a psychology conference held in 1960, from which stemmed a book called "Instincts" (I don't own this book, however, it's cited in several of my Learning and Behavior textbooks)...according to the book, to truly be considered an instinct, the following criteria must be met. The behavior must:
1) be Automatic
2) be irresistible
3) be triggered by some event in the environment
4) occur at some point in development
5) occur in every member of the species
6) be unmodifiable
and 7) govern behavior for which the organism needs no training


The book goes on to say that given this definition, there are no instinctual behaviors in humans, but other species show these instincts when it comes to migration, hibernation, and breeding. Furthermore, in animals, if the correct learning is somehow kept from being learned, then the instinctual behaviors disappear. This suggests that rather than being instinctual, they are, instead, very strong, however limited, biological predispositions...

Isn't an infant nursing instinctual?

In regards to the 7 criteria, does the "amount" count or is it a yes/no thing?

In relation to #6, I don't feel that dog aggression is "unmodifiable" but it is controllable. Does that matter in the context of the study?



Michelle, this was not a specific research study, but based on years of data collection on evolutionary characteristics of almost all species of animals. This is a yes or no thing, which is why they say that otherwise it is biological predisposition...

An infant SUCKING is a reflex (specifically the rooting reflex or the sucking reflex)...not instinct...reflexes are things you are born with...like the eyeblink, etc...

What it means to be unmodifiable is that it can't be changed...if the dog is dog aggressive, it will always be dog aggressive...that is completely different than being controlled...

In response to your other question, I asked pet dog owners as well as some people who don't even know dogs: my students...
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Rocky - RIP My Baby Boy
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katiek0417
pointy ear hoarder
 
Posts: 6280
Location: Glen Burnie, MD

Postby mnp13 » May 13th, 2008, 3:03 pm

ok, thanks for clarifying!
Michelle

Inside me is a thin woman trying to get out. I usually shut the bitch up with a martini.
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mnp13
Evil Overlord
 
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Location: Rochester, NY

Postby amazincc » May 13th, 2008, 3:19 pm

S-T-I-C-K-Y! :rolleyes2: :D
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amazincc
Jessica & Mick
 
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Location: Holding them both in my heart.

Postby mnp13 » May 13th, 2008, 3:20 pm

lol

talk about peer pressure!
Michelle

Inside me is a thin woman trying to get out. I usually shut the bitch up with a martini.
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mnp13
Evil Overlord
 
Posts: 17232
Location: Rochester, NY

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