The O. family had thought through and planned everything before buying a dog: It was supposed to be the Jack Russell Terrier Baffy, and Ms. O. immediately started training: three times a week she went to the dog park with Baffy, first to the puppy school, then in the young dog group, then agility. Baffy was there with body and soul everywhere. But Ms. O. grew more dissatisfied from month to month. And when Baffy was grown up, Ms. O. was certain: this was not the dog she had wanted.
Baffy was easy to get along with and kind to everyone. Yes. But as soon as Ms. O. let her off the leash, she had nothing else in mind than romping around with other dogs and people. Frau O. was air for her. Baffy was cheerful and confident, but she was neither affectionate nor affectionate. She didn’t care about being caressed, she found walks with Ms. O. boring. And as a watchdog and protection dog, she was a “downright rivet”: Baffy was not interested in staying with her people and protecting them at all … That dogs – even without protection dog training – protect their territory and their pack, that even tiny tiny creatures – if necessary – to keep overpowering opponents at bay, that is well known. And some people-friendly and sociable family dogs owe their quiet life to the police, who say: “A dog in the house is better than any alarm system”, or the expert formula: “A dog who loves his person defends him.”
Dogs are pack animals and they guard “their” pack territory. If something unusual approaches, they make a sound: Even the “mute” African Basenjis whine when a stranger approaches, and even the most hospitable Samoyed “reports” first before greeting the stranger. The content of the message is always the same: “Warning! Something is coming! All children in hiding, all adults here!” This is why thieves avoid houses with dogs. Dogs also have – compared to other animals – a shorter “escape distance” from attackers. They don’t flee right away, they wait and only decide at the last moment. In the USA, the hunters have therefore developed a “test” to differentiate wild dogs, which can always be hunted, from wolves and coyotes, which are not always allowed to hunt everywhere: If a hunter approaches a puppy camp, and the supervising “bitch “withdraws quietly, the puppies can be grabbed and picked up without resistance – then they are young wolves or coyotes. If the bitch, on the other hand, makes a third, she calls the whole pack together and even the little puppies bite as much as they can, then they are wild dogs.
Dogs also defend themselves and their young against humans. Whether they defend the “almighty” head of the pack, however, depends on innate and learned behaviors – and on the relationship they have with their head of the pack: If a dog is always treated as a “four-legged child” by its human, then it will be he also behave like a child. In case of danger, he will react to the alarm call of the big ones – and first of all bring himself to safety.
If a dog is treated as an “omega wolf” by its humans, which is at the bottom of the family pack order, then in case of danger it will escape behind the legs of the big “alpha wolf”: Omega wolves defend their alpha -Wolf not. He does that himself – otherwise he wouldn’t be an alpha wolf. But if a dog gets the feeling that he is “the fifth wheel on the car”, that nobody takes him seriously, that everyone complains about him, then he says goodbye at some point. He only comes “home” to eat and sleep and looks for another pack, which he bravely defends. Willingness to defend and courage have nothing to do with size and strength: Tender, tiny creatures can be “heroes” and large giants “Schlappis”.
Courageous is not the dog that always defends itself against everything and everything, or the one who does not avoid a fight. Those who are there and stay there show courage – even if they know that it would be safer and better to get themselves out of the danger zone. This “nevertheless” presupposes a bond. No dog defends an alien pack. Courage can wither even in the best of talents if there is no reliable, everyday bond, if there is a lack of mutual respect. Courage is not innate in any dog. What is innate to him is the willingness to join a pack more or less closely and then – more or less – to take responsibility himself in this pack: therefore only the dog can be courageous if it is ready and willing, including its own head of the pack to contradict every now and then very stubbornly and confidently. And the one who – despite or because of this stubbornness – is respected by the entire pack.
The angelic dog, friendly and docile, who gets along with everyone, never contradicts, never causes trouble, but who – in the hour of need – rushes from heaven like an archangel and protects his people, does not exist: Humane, obedient dogs are also humane and obedient in the hour of need. And courageous dogs are – even without need – independent up to the stubborn.
(Text: Gudrun Beckmann)
Identifying a good dog schoolHow to create a bondGetting used the puppy to the rhythm of everyday lifeRescue dog