View Full Version : Why dogs run into other dogs and people?


Syzygys
09-29-08, 10:29 AM
I don't get this. They keep running into each other or into people, like they have bad body coordination or something. I mean there is plenty room around to run but no, they seem to aim at each other or at people and puff!!!

Also, if they run standing or slow moving objects, does that mean that they keep hitting trees in the woods? I can't see them there, but one must assume....

Fraggle Rocker
09-29-08, 11:48 AM
Dogs are a pack-social species. Unlike solitary species such as bears or herd-social species such as cattle, pack-social animals (such as humans and many other primates) have a hierarchy.

Pack-social creatures have many rituals--some instinctive, some developed by the pack over time, some invented by individuals--for establishing the trust and caring that allows the pack to function effectively as a unit, and for establishing the hierarchy that keeps it running smoothly, especially in a crisis.

Dogs can't talk, they don't have hands, they haven't got a hundred facial muscles for communicating with looks, and even the "keen-eyed" breeds are almost legally blind by human standards. So their rituals are built around the senses they do have: hearing, smell and touch. Bumping into another dog and finding out how he reacts is a good way of expressing camaraderie, while at the same time determining which of you outranks the other.

Dogs and humans form multi-species packs, so we get the same treatment from them, just as we have taught them some of our own species's social rituals.

Dogs and wolves are a single species. Dogs are the descendants of the wolves who were curious and adventurous enough to investigate the advantages of forming a multi-species pack. Their running speed and acute hearing and olfactory senses, combined with our planning ability and sharp sticks that could kill even a mammoth, made it possible for a mixed pack to bring down far more game than either could do alone.

DNA analysis recently discovered that dogs domesticated themselves only once, in what is now China, around 15,000 years ago. Pups from that pack accompanied their partners on their travels and were traded with other tribes until they reached every continent except Antarctica, rather than the domestication of wolves being reenacted multiple times.

I find it provocative that Homo sapiens lived in small, nomadic extended-family units for almost 200,000 years, regarding other packs as hated competitors for scarce resources... But once we learned how to live in harmony and cooperation with individuals of another species, a mere 3,000 years later we began combining into larger groups and building farming villages, then cities, and ultimately a world-spanning civilization in which we each live more-or-less in harmony and cooperation with total strangers.

This is a lifestyle our contentious Mesolithic ancestors could not have imagined. I suggest that it was the creation by humans and dogs of the first multi-species community on earth that showed us the way to do this. Without dogs there might never have been civilization.

So the next time your dog bumps into you, give him the social reassurance he's looking for as a little thank-you. He may be the reason you have this life.

shorty_37
09-29-08, 11:55 AM
I don't get this. They keep running into each other or into people, like they have bad body coordination or something. I mean there is plenty room around to run but no, they seem to aim at each other or at people and puff!!!

Also, if they run standing or slow moving objects, does that mean that they keep hitting trees in the woods? I can't see them there, but one must assume....

Hmmm ... My dog tears around my house and only occasionally bangs into something. He is pretty good at avoiding ppl or objects when he is running.

Right now he is on the bed sleeping behind me having some sort of dream because he is making the strangest noises. :shrug:

Syzygys
09-29-08, 01:52 PM
Dogs...

Did you actually answer the question? If so, could you summarize it for me in one single sentence?

[tearing my hair out]

Syzygys
09-29-08, 01:57 PM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks. let's describe the situation.

Dogs run fast and as I mentioned, they don't seem to mind if they come to a quick stop by running into a standing object, be it another dog, a person or even a tree. it is pretty dangerous just to walk around running dogs trusting them that they would avoid you. They don't...They have been taking us down several times and one person had to be taken away by the energency, because her knees got damaged in the process. We usually holler like golfers, when they are charging toward unsuspecting people...

So let's try again: just why are they so careless??? I mean they get hurt too in the collision...

P.S.: Imagine a 50 lbs object hitting you with a speed of 20 mph....

clusteringflux
09-29-08, 02:25 PM
This is a lifestyle our contentious Mesolithic ancestors could not have imagined. I suggest that it was the creation by humans and dogs of the first multi-species community on earth that showed us the way to do this. Without dogs there might never have been civilization.

So the next time your dog bumps into you, give him the social reassurance he's looking for as a little thank-you. He may be the reason you have this life.

Is this the reason "dog" and "god" share the same letters.....?:shrug:


J/k:D

Love ya fraggle...good post, as per always.

clusteringflux
09-29-08, 02:46 PM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks. let's describe the situation.

Dogs run fast and as I mentioned, they don't seem to mind if they come to a quick stop by running into a standing object, be it another dog, a person or even a tree. it is pretty dangerous just to walk around running dogs trusting them that they would avoid you. They don't...They have been taking us down several times and one person had to be taken away by the energency, because her knees got damaged in the process. We usually holler like golfers, when they are charging toward unsuspecting people...

So let's try again: just why are they so careless??? I mean they get hurt too in the collision...

P.S.: Imagine a 50 lbs object hitting you with a speed of 20 mph....

I heard a story about aus. Blue Healer that T-boned a Lab and broke his back. I believe it. I used to have one and they're nuts. They'll barrel into you just playing and lay you out.

Syzygys
09-29-08, 03:02 PM
Love ya fraggle...good post, as per always.

Except it was offtopic and didn't answer the question. Otherwise I agree.... :)

clusteringflux
09-29-08, 03:10 PM
Yes it did.


their rituals are built around the senses they do have: hearing, smell and touch. Bumping into another dog and finding out how he reacts is a good way of expressing camaraderie, while at the same time determining which of you outranks the other.

cosmictraveler
09-29-08, 03:31 PM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks.

We have no dog parks in Key West so I really don't see what you are speaking about happening with just the free range dogs running around here once in awhile.

Syzygys
09-29-08, 05:36 PM
Yes it did.

Let's make something sure, there is a difference between a challenging bumping and running with full speed!
Also they don't challenge people, they simply look at them as they weren't there!!!

CutsieMarie89
09-29-08, 08:26 PM
I haven't noticed this at all. My dog doesn't bump into things. Unless he wants something, but then he'll block my path or throw his head against me if he thinks I'm not paying enough attention to him. But he never runs into things.

Crunchy Cat
09-29-08, 09:19 PM
Did you actually answer the question? If so, could you summarize it for me in one single sentence?

[tearing my hair out]

He answered it quite well. To sum it up, dogs bump into you to see how you react. That places you on the friend/foe, dominant/submissive, etc. scales.

A pack of dogs bumped into me over the weekend and I didn't stop for them. The result was me stepping on one of the dogs paws and he gave me a look like I was the worlds meanest person.

Syzygys
09-29-08, 10:40 PM
He answered it quite well. To sum it up,

If you have to sum it up, it wasn't well answered. :)

But if that theory is correct, how come that other dogowners didn't notice this behaviour, only those who are with more dogs in large areas??

Crunchy Cat
09-29-08, 11:52 PM
If you have to sum it up, it wasn't well answered. :)

But if that theory is correct, how come that other dogowners didn't notice this behaviour, only those who are with more dogs in large areas??

Wish I knew. I'll speculate that packs of dogs owned by a family reinforce the behavior with each other while single dogs owned by a family don't have enough canine interaction for the behavior to become dominant.

shorty_37
09-30-08, 07:35 PM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks. let's describe the situation.



Unfortunately Bruce is very anti social and would either try and attack or hump another dog if we let him loose. There are some leash free parks around here but I wouldn't dare take him.

Orleander
10-01-08, 07:08 PM
How are these dogs any different than kids running around on a playground? Kids run into each other and bonk heads or trip over each other all the time.

Syzygys
10-01-08, 08:11 PM
You are probably correct. Today we came to the same conclusion, that they are just plain stupid. After all they roll in shit and eat catpoop too...

Dr Lou Natic
10-01-08, 08:25 PM
I haven't experienced this at all, my dogs purposefully crash tackle other dogs when playing with them, but they don't accidentally run into standing objects.

Fraggle Rocker
10-01-08, 09:36 PM
Did you actually answer the question? If so, could you summarize it for me in one single sentence?How about two sentences: Dogs bump into each other as a social ritual. They have to do things they can feel because they don't have good eyesight and even if they did they don't have the musculature to make facial expressions. And a bonus sentence: They also do things they can smell and hear because those senses are also very acute, so your dog may vary and not do bumping.

One of my dogs (a beta) bumps me all the time and another (an alpha) never does it. Maybe it's something a dog does to someone who's higher in the pack hierarchy so the alphas don't do it.

Hercules Rockefeller
10-01-08, 09:38 PM
They keep running into each other or into people, like they have bad body coordination or something.

The premise for the thread is flawed. Your assertion that all dogs “…keep running into each other or into people…” is obviously false.



Today we came to the same conclusion, that they are just plain stupid.

Yes, I have also drawn that conclusion about certain posters. :rolleyes:

Syzygys
10-02-08, 11:01 AM
The premise for the thread is flawed. Your assertion that all dogs “…keep running into each other or into people…” is obviously false.

Oh my...

Yes, I obviously meant ALL dogs, specially the chiahuahuas.... :eek:

On the other hand, it is hard to argue against a person, whose knees just got dislocated due to dogs running into her. yesterday another woman told us that she had to recover for a full 10 minutes, after her own dog took her down.

Personally I was taken down by 2-3 different dogs and once hit on the knee so hard, that I had to walk it off, pretending that it didn't hurt, if you know what it means...

It is mostly the mid-size dogs, the small ones are unable to take you down and the big ones not that careless....

So unless you understand the concept of the thread, or had such experience please kindly fuck off....

Syzygys
10-02-08, 11:06 AM
How about two sentences: Dogs bump into each other as a social ritual.

OK, how about this:

Personally they can bump into each other as much as they like if it doesn't involve humans. (specially me) Also your theory doesn't explain why people not knowing unleashed dogparks didn't have this experience?

About the eyesight: If they can avoid trees, why can't they avoid humans???

Fraggle Rocker
10-03-08, 09:01 PM
Personally they can bump into each other as much as they like if it doesn't involve humans. (specially me)But we've spent 15,000 years adapting dogs to accepting us as members of their packs, so they're going to treat us the way they treat each other.
Also your theory doesn't explain why people not knowing unleashed dogparks didn't have this experience?Dogs in a dog park are not members of the same pack so they're not going to perform the social rituals they perform with their pack mates. I imagine if they keep encountering the same dogs, eventually they'll start treating them like pack mates.
About the eyesight: If they can avoid trees, why can't they avoid humans?They have no reason to bump trees since they can tell by their smell that they're not animals. There's no point in performing a social ritual with a plant, only certain humans do that. :) You don't understand that they don't want to avoid us. They bump us on purpose as a way of reasserting their place in the pack hierarchy. As I hypothesized from the behavior of my own dogs, I think the subordinate pack members bump their superiors as an expression of either loyalty or subservience (I haven't really read up on this), and almost all dogs regard almost all humans as their superiors in the pack hierarchy. (I have read up on that. We didn't propagate the DNA of the wolves who thought they were in charge of our pack.)

The superiors in our own pack don't bump their inferiors. They bully them into rolling over on their back, or simply fight them into that position if they don't submit automatically, and then they give them a ritual bite on the throat. We raise Lhasa Apsos, a breed that tends to be pretty uppity because they were originally developed to be temple watchdogs and not automatically respect human strangers. I sometimes take the ornery ones and roll them over and bite their throats, to remind them who's in charge.

The ones who are not alphas occasionally bump me.

Simon Anders
10-03-08, 09:51 PM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks. let's describe the situation.

Dogs run fast and as I mentioned, they don't seem to mind if they come to a quick stop by running into a standing object, be it another dog, a person or even a tree. My experience as a dog owner is that what you describe is quite common with younger dogs but adults dogs tend to do this in specific situations. Generally when they are excited. They sit in the house staring at their unbelievably inactive pack-mate (you). Finally the alpha gets off his ass and takes you to the park or outside anyway. There you meet other dogs and life begins. Me play. Me overexited. Me resilient wild thing don't give shit about minor impacts. (me not used to ((genetically)) bipeds and their problems with stiff long legs, me bounce off other dogs.

Think rugby players - or any group of bored australian men who are released out of doors.

Think mosh pit.

Every tackle someone in american football. Very good feeling - usually.

In all my years I don't think I saw a lone adult dog, not overstimulated by finding himself amidst a bunch of humans and dogs, run into a tree. Young ones, yes. Mine used to come home with holes in his legs where he had obviously run into things. He outgrew that.

Remember when you were a kid and loved the feel of your own body? Remember all the scrapes, holes, bruises? Remember picking scabs?

Humans are so damn mature.

They have to contrive some sort of excuse to crash into each other playfully.

A dance. A racist act. A sport. Sex.

Syzygys
10-04-08, 06:09 AM
I have to agree with Simon. It is simply overexcitement and carelessness and not challanging the social order. After being in a small appartment, they are just crazy to run wild and free, and such a thing as a soft human is not an obstruction in their way...

Enmos
10-04-08, 06:44 AM
OK, looks like not very many posters here visit dogparks. let's describe the situation.

Dogs run fast and as I mentioned, they don't seem to mind if they come to a quick stop by running into a standing object, be it another dog, a person or even a tree. it is pretty dangerous just to walk around running dogs trusting them that they would avoid you. They don't...They have been taking us down several times and one person had to be taken away by the energency, because her knees got damaged in the process. We usually holler like golfers, when they are charging toward unsuspecting people...

So let's try again: just why are they so careless??? I mean they get hurt too in the collision...

P.S.: Imagine a 50 lbs object hitting you with a speed of 20 mph....

Perhaps young dogs aren't as careful. Many young animals behave reckless.

Fraggle Rocker
10-04-08, 06:56 PM
Perhaps young dogs aren't as careful. Many young animals behave reckless.Dogs are wolves, hunters by instinct. They're built to withstand much rougher encounters with other creatures than we are. Seven of them will jump on an old, slow bison, and he'll drop to the ground and roll over them to try to knock them off. I'm two or three times as big as a wolf and I wouldn't get that close to a bison.

Dogs just aren't as sensitive to bumping as we are.

Simon Anders
10-04-08, 07:29 PM
Rugby players, mosh pit dancers, half the skateboarders I've ever seen, hockey players, boxers, siblings, japanese commuters and sumo wrestlers......

If I was hungry and bison was the food source, I'd be on that old slow one in a second, especially knowing my pack was with me.

We're a hair's breath - ooh, nice slang, if I have it right - away from wolves. Hell, if the bailout does not work, we may see this on a wide scale.