A Question about "Game"

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Postby Mind_doc » April 11th, 2006, 9:26 pm

I'm a new APBT owner and have been reading everything about the breed
I can get my hands on. Every time I come across an article or post on
"gameness" I keep asking myself the same questions. It seems that
on other forums where game dogs are well known (Colby, Jeep, Chinaman), gameness is discussed like a trait that is difficult to find. I hear the same argument about how now that pit fighting is illegal, there is no way to test it. They say that other sports are not a true enough test
and that "drive" is not the same as "game."
So here is the basisfor my question.
I don't know of any animals (except humans) that fight to the death. Food, mate, territory can cause a chest pounding, antler locking, teeth showing, muscle flexing show down, but rarely if ever does it end in death. I remember reading a long post about the history of the ABPT and how the "true finishers" where highly revered breeding stock.
Could it be that the gameness trait is a genetic fault? If gameness
were an adaptable trait, should it comprise several (measurable)
qualities? How can it be adaptable or beneficial to the species if the
trait can potentially cause the reduction of the species? If gameness
was the single most important trait used by breeders for many
generations, shouldn't it be actually nearly impossible to breed out?
Am I way off here?
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Postby PittieLove » April 11th, 2006, 9:31 pm

i think its because the dogs arent fighting over anything. SO they are doing on their own will...but im no expert either.
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Postby Romanwild » April 11th, 2006, 10:08 pm

Holy crap doc! You giving me a headache! :mindblowing:
lol

The only problem I have with your question is that a finisher and gameness are two different things.

A finisher would be a dog that is skilled at fighting or stronger pound for pound then his opponent but you won't know if they're game until they meet an opponent that's better then him.

Gameness on the other hand can be found in the worst of fighters. A game fighting dog would continue to "scratch" even though he was getting his butt kicked. A game dog could win a match just because he would continue to charge across the pit. He could be in shock and ripped up and bleeding to death and still be willing to continue the fight.

Could it be that the gameness trait is a genetic fault?


I would say no because gameness in any other species in the wild including humans would actually help to insure your genes continue on. In some ways it's the will to survive and fight.

If gameness were an adaptable trait, should it comprise several (measurable) qualities?


I don't think so because in order to see it in action you have to put the dog in some pretty stressful and physically dangerous situations.

How can it be adaptable or beneficial to the species if the
trait can potentially cause the reduction of the species?


That's assuming the males and females would be so into fighting and killing that they would rather kill then smurf. I don't see that happening. :|

If gameness was the single most important trait used by breeders for many generations, shouldn't it be actually nearly impossible to breed out?


It might have been the most important but it was elusive. I have read that a true game dog is one in a million. A dog worthy of a bet was maybe 1 in 10.
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Postby Mind_doc » April 11th, 2006, 10:53 pm

[quote="Romanwild"]Holy crap doc! You giving me a headache! :mindblowing:
lol

Hey, for that informative reply I can R/x you something for that headache!
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Postby cheekymunkee » April 11th, 2006, 11:00 pm

Did someone say Vicoden???? :)
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Postby Mind_doc » April 11th, 2006, 11:25 pm

Ok..I thought "true finisher" was a term for a "killer"

It almost seems like the "flight or flight" instinct is turned off in these game-dogs. No flight, only fight. You would think the dog who knew when to look for a way out would be a better evolutionary "fit." You can't pass on the genes if you die in a fight. You defined gameness as the will to survive AND fight. What about the time when survival means not fighting?I think thats why there is more bravado in the animal kingdom when it comes to fighting. If a true game-dog is really "one in a million" like you said, maybe mother nature is thinking this is not a trait worth passing.

I am not disagreeing with what you said. I am just thinking out load.
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Postby Carla » April 11th, 2006, 11:43 pm

Mind_doc wrote:Could it be that the gameness trait is a genetic fault? If gameness
were an adaptable trait, should it comprise several (measurable)
qualities? How can it be adaptable or beneficial to the species if the
trait can potentially cause the reduction of the species? If gameness
was the single most important trait used by breeders for many
generations, shouldn't it be actually nearly impossible to breed out?
Am I way off here?


Maybe, because you're trying to compare what I have heard called "inclusive fitness", which is what wolves have; and a SINGLE trait that is the result of artificial selection.

All the traits that wolves have enable them to thrive and survive in their environment. They have a balance of each the traits our domestic dogs display - hunting (chasing, stalking, bite/kill), fight drive and some gameness. But these traits, taken to an extreme in the wolf does not do much to help him surive. But man has developed breeds which have these traits in exaggeration that enable them to do purposeful work for humans, but which are NOT of any value to a wolf in his survival.

For example, most all dogs will CHASE - maybe quickly, maybe slowly. In the sighthounds breeds, this trait has been selected for and refined to the extreme we see in breeds such as the Greyhound. The CHASE trait in wolves would be of no use to him if taken to such an extreme, because the wolf also needs great endurance.

All dogs will do some form of stalking, if only in play. In the pointing breeds, this "stalking" has been selected for and refined into the dramatic pointing display. In wolves, if the stalking trait was taken to such an extreme, he would never do much killing. The wolf trait has simply been exaggerated and refined by MAN to serve HIS purposes. It would be of no purpose to the wolf.

In some dogs, the chase/bite trait has been refined so that the "kill" part of chase and kill is eliminated - and we have herding dogs, who also have had the stalking trait selected for and refined. Again, it's a trait man has taken from the wolf and exaggerated for his purposes.

Wolves have SOME some fight drive in them because it can help insure their survival. BUT, man has exaggerated it in dog breeds. A wolf wanting to fight all the time is not going to survive long!

Wolves are probably going to have SOME degree of gameness in them, but again, the overwhelming "desire to win or die trying" is something that does NOT have much survival value if taken to any kind of extreme.

Gameness is in direct conflict with the oldest, strongest drive a living being posseses - the will to survive. Therefore, I would think it will be one of the hardest traits to maintain with any kind of consistency. "Gameness" is a pretty tenuous thing, because it is so very unnatural.

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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 9:52 am

The other difference is the 'staging area' of dog fights. Two animals battling in an enclosed area is not part of the real world. When you remove the possibility of 'flight' all that is left is 'fight'.

Gameness is the willingness to continue even when the odds are 100% against you. Like someone else said, gameness can be a trait of a loosing dog.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 12th, 2006, 10:07 am

Seems to me "gameness" is pretty much an obsolete trait then. Certainly not something we want to see in any modern pitbull.
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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 10:08 am

dogcrazyjen wrote:Seems to me "gameness" is pretty much an obsolete trait then. Certainly not something we want to see in any modern pitbull.


I disagree.

"Game" has to do with other things than fighting.
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Postby Carla » April 12th, 2006, 10:31 am

dogcrazyjen wrote:Seems to me "gameness" is pretty much an obsolete trait then. Certainly not something we want to see in any modern pitbull.


Well, yes and no.

Gameness, whether you agree it just applies pit fighting or not, is still an unnatural trait in that it doesn't have much survival value in the "real" world. A wolf that is game will perservere in activities he probably shouldn't, and that's going to mean injury or death many times. None of the exaggerated traits, as I described above, have much "survival" value. Wolves have all their drives and traits in the balance that is necessary for survival (inclusive fitness). A wolf's survival is dependent on nothing being exaggerated.

BUT, these exaggerated traits have purpose for MAN; therefore, the DOGS do survive in man's world. We cannot compare value of traits/drives in a natural setting to that which man creates. Both have their own different value and it's not fair to compare them.


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Postby Carla » April 12th, 2006, 10:35 am

mnp13 wrote:The other difference is the 'staging area' of dog fights. Two animals battling in an enclosed area is not part of the real world. When you remove the possibility of 'flight' all that is left is 'fight'.


The possibility of flight is NOT removed in a pit contest.

mnp13 wrote:Gameness is the willingness to continue even when the odds are 100% against you. Like someone else said, gameness can be a trait of a loosing dog.


Give me the game loser anyday!

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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 11:02 am

Carla wrote:
mnp13 wrote:The other difference is the 'staging area' of dog fights. Two animals battling in an enclosed area is not part of the real world. When you remove the possibility of 'flight' all that is left is 'fight'.


The possibility of flight is NOT removed in a pit contest.


How do you figure?

Where can the other dog escape to?
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Postby mydawgs » April 12th, 2006, 12:20 pm

mnp13 wrote:
Carla wrote:
mnp13 wrote:The other difference is the 'staging area' of dog fights. Two animals battling in an enclosed area is not part of the real world. When you remove the possibility of 'flight' all that is left is 'fight'.


The possibility of flight is NOT removed in a pit contest.


How do you figure?

Where can the other dog escape to?


If you study the history books, in a contracted pit match of days gone by, either dog had the option of flight, it was called "jumping the pit" - which immediately faulted that dog as the loser of the match. The dogs were not forced to stay in a closed in pen, it had very low walls so the dogs WOULD have that option because the ultimate quality of a pit match was to determine the "desire to continue" in the dog, that is why physically EVEN dogs were scrutinized for match. If you follow the belief that "game" is an inherent quality originating in the "bull and terrier" breeds of the 18th century England, then it is neither a natural or unnatural trait, it just is. In the practice of bull baiting those dogs that "let go" did not live to breed, those that had the will and focus to continue perpetuated the breed. It makes absolutely NO sense to think of "game" as referred to in a pit match when talking about the wild or a not pit environment. This trait is most likely in all of our dogs in some form or fashion, selective breeding increases the chances of inherenting the propensity to be "game".....a game dog does not immediately and savagely attack every dog it sees, please, a game dog - once his switch is flipped - will gladely engage and continue to the level of determination which is inherently resident in that animal. A game dog DOES NOT equal a fighting dog.....this is a myth. A game dog is a great candidate for the practice of dog fighting.
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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 12:26 pm

Mydawgs - I was writing in the context of the comparason to Wolves and the necessity/existance of 'gameness' in the wild.

I do not disagree with most of your post.

the practice of bull baiting those dogs that "let go" did not live to breed, those that had the will and focus to continue perpetuated the breed.


I think gameness is a quality that means not giving up, no matter what the odds. Courage/stubborness to the point of folly.
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Postby mydawgs » April 12th, 2006, 12:32 pm

mnp13 wrote:Mydawgs - I was writing in the context of the comparason to Wolves and the necessity/existance of 'gameness' in the wild.

I do not disagree with most of your post.

the practice of bull baiting those dogs that "let go" did not live to breed, those that had the will and focus to continue perpetuated the breed.


I think gameness is a quality that means not giving up, no matter what the odds. Courage/stubborness to the point of folly.


Or in the case of bull baiting....survival..........
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Postby Romanwild » April 12th, 2006, 12:36 pm

Mind_doc wrote:Ok..I thought "true finisher" was a term for a "killer"


I agree.

It almost seems like the "flight or flight" instinct is turned off in these game-dogs. No flight, only fight. You would think the dog who knew when to look for a way out would be a better evolutionary "fit." You can't pass on the genes if you die in a fight.


If a dog was seen as game they would pick him up before he died so they could breed him.

These dogs were bred for a purpose by man. That was their job so to speak. They were dometicated dogs not wild animals.

You defined gameness as the will to survive AND fight. What about the time when survival means not fighting?I think thats why there is more bravado in the animal kingdom when it comes to fighting. If a true game-dog is really "one in a million" like you said, maybe mother nature is thinking this is not a trait worth passing.


I agree...in the wild.
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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 12:51 pm

mydawgs wrote:Or in the case of bull baiting....survival..........


I'm sure the dogs got badly injured bull baiting, and the 'champions' of the 'sport' (and I use that term loosly) kept on going after the bull even if they were thrown off. Survival yes, but tenacity through incredilbe odds as well.
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Postby mydawgs » April 12th, 2006, 1:32 pm

mnp13 wrote:
mydawgs wrote:Or in the case of bull baiting....survival..........


I'm sure the dogs got badly injured bull baiting, and the 'champions' of the 'sport' (and I use that term loosly) kept on going after the bull even if they were thrown off. Survival yes, but tenacity through incredilbe odds as well.


Agreed - my point is; game IMHO is there, it is a tool that one might use to get these dogs to do something.....how one makes a comparison to a wild animal and their associated traits makes no sense to me, kinda like apples and oranges....but very cool exchange

I may be wrong but from what I read, bull baiting actually had a functional purpose as well.....the meat from the bull was eatin after the dogs were set on them to make the meat more tender....just something I read
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Postby mnp13 » April 12th, 2006, 1:44 pm

mydawgs wrote:I may be wrong but from what I read, bull baiting actually had a functional purpose as well.....the meat from the bull was eatin after the dogs were set on them to make the meat more tender....just something I read


That was the excuse used anyway, but by all accounts, meat infused with adrelaline is pertty bad tasting.

The source for bull baiting was the dogs who kept farmers and butchers safe from aggressive bulls. Then the contests developed from that.
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