Why dogs run into other dogs and people?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Syzygys, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    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....
     
  2. Fraggle Rocker Moderator

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    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.
     
  3. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    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:
     
  4. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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

    [tearing my hair out]
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  5. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    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....
     
  6. clusteringflux Version 1. OH! Valued Senior Member

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


    J/k:D

    Love ya fraggle...good post, as per always.
     
  7. clusteringflux Version 1. OH! Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  8. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Except it was offtopic and didn't answer the question. Otherwise I agree.... :)
     
  9. clusteringflux Version 1. OH! Valued Senior Member

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    Yes it did.

     
  10. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  11. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    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!!!
     
  12. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    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.
     
  13. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  14. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    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??
     
  15. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  16. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    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.
     
  17. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    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...
     
  19. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    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.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Moderator

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    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.
     

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