Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why you shouldn't dock tails

Once upon a time, docking tails was done for some utilitarian reason which eludes me. But if you have a dog with a docked tail, that's not why. Your dog got docked because it's a tradition in that breed and you didn't ask yourself why on earth you'd want to do that. But the thing is, pet dogs need to have tails. Here's why.

Today on our afternoon walk, some bulldog-like creature attacked Tinky-Winky. And for once we have right on our side, because we were on leash and minding our own business, and the creature came running at us out of nowhere, with its people trying desperately to recall it. I don't even know who struck the first blow, because I didn't have time to turn around and look, but this dog was clearly on the attack. No dog means any good by coming at another at speed with erect body language anyway; if you're one of those people who call that "my dog is friendly", you're wrong. At best your dog is rude, and that's your fault, but if your dog is just rude and clueless, it will scream and run as soon as Tinky-Winky gives a warning snap. This dog dig not turn and run. She attacked, she got the upper hand immediately, and she kept attacking.

The bulldog's person later alleged that the dog "has never done that before," and I don't believe a word of it, because this dog knew exactly what she was doing. Dogs who don't fight don't know how to fight; they get thrown down and lie on the ground screaming in fear while the other dog bites them. This dog had all the same tricks Tinky-Winky has, and she was attacking. You don't have to know anything about dog fights to see when a dog attacks: it lunges and bites, trying to grab at the other dog, instead of retreating and trying to protect itself.

Now where this has anything to do with docking tails is, a bulldog has no tail. It also has no coat. And that's a very big problem when it's attacking something else, because the way to break up a dog fight is by grabbing the attacking dog's tail. First of all, it's the only thing that sticks out of the melee, and second, it's the part least likely to get bitten, therefore the safest place to grab them.

On that note, let me point out that pulling the defending dog away is the dumbest thing you can do. Idiot people with poofy little dogs always do that: let the dog run to the end of its stupid flexi-leash and get into a fight, and then pull on it over and over to try and fix things. How dumb do you have to be? Every time you pull on the leash, the dog is choking and is being jerked off its feet, plus, you're turning the dog's head towards you, leaving the tooth-less, eye-less, vulnerable rear end to face the attacking dog. Your dog is sure to get bitten and it's all your fault. But even if you grab the dog and pull it away by something other than its leash, the attacking dog is going to keep coming, so you haven't achieved anything unless you're able to lift your dog out of harm's way, which never happens.

No, obviously, to break up a dog fight, you have to control the attacking dog. And the way to do this is to grab it by the tail. And a bulldog has no tail, and therefore it's very difficult to stop it from attacking. So this is why you shouldn't dock your pet dog's tail. You have no practical use for that dog anyway, so it's not gonna be in its way, and when your dog gets into a fight, you'll need that tail to pull him out.

Now since I'm on the topic of dog fights, I'll point out something else: blood happens. BFD. Some people go into hysterics if there is any blood on their dog, and that's ridiculous. Especially because the hysterics usually come from the same people who bleed profusely once a month to begin with (hence the word "hysterics", of course). You'd think they'd be used to blood. Not only that, but I've bled more from a paper cut than the total amount of dog blood I've ever seen in fights in all my life. If there's blood on the dog, then there's blood on the dog. It's really not a big deal. And most of all, it's probably not even that dog's blood. Most of the time it's the attacker's blood, because the thing most likely to bleed in a dog fight is the attacking dog's tongue. Tinky-Winky came out of today's fight with blood all over her; both sides, her head, her feet, she had blood everywhere. And not a nick on her skin. The other dog bit her own tongue and bled on my dog, that's all.

And even if your dog does get cut in a fight, put some Bactine or Polysporin on it like you'd do for your kid, and get over it. Your dog isn't injured because it has a little blood on it. When your dog is injured, you'll see the difference.

So that's my rant for today. Don't dock tails, learn to break up a dog fight, and get over the sight of blood.

As for closure on my anecdote, after many tries I was able to grab the bulldog's collar and push her away, and as soon as she was under control, everything was quiet. Which shows again that the bulldog was the attacker, not my dog. If Tinky-Winky had been on the attack, getting the other dog an arm's length away wouldn't have made any difference.

Then I still had to wait for a while, with a dog in each hand, for the bulldog's people to catch up to her. Polite conversation was had, the source of the blood was investigated, and then we each went our separate way. And the dogs were in no way upset. And that's another thing people in our limp-wristed society fail to realize about dog fights: dogs like dog fights. Not all dogs, and not usually if they get their clock cleaned, but a fairly even dog fight where both dogs are fighters is like a bar fight among humans. It happens, it lets a lot of the piss and vinegar out, and it's often the least boring thing you'll do all weekend.



Jo said...

So true. Your Tinky Winky is BEAUTIFUL! Oh my gosh. We take Jack to the dog park and I really like how the majority of owners there let the dogs figure out things, and sure, there are growls and snaps etc, but that is the way dogs are!

K9Trainer said...

I knew someone who had to have a Ridgeback's tail docked because it was so thin she kept breaking it by smacking it into everything when she wagged it. The first time she broke it, apparently, she didn't notice and kept wagging and blood kept spraying everywhere. These people were customers when I worked in a different pet store. A few days later, she broke it open again and the same thing happened. They said their house looked like a crime scene. It started to become a cycle. Heal, break, spray blood everywhere, heal, re-break, spray blood everywhere. Eventually it kept breaking open enough that it got infected and the vet suggested just having it off entirely. I'm told Dobie tails are the same way, which is why it's illegal in Europe to dock the ears, but the tails are still done. 'Cuz they'd just break them constantly. Bully breeds I dunno, I don't think I've ever seen one with a tail to see how thin and whippy one is. English Bulldogs aren't docked though - they're tails are naturally practically non-existent and pig-like.

Mongoose said...

English bulldogs are so weird, that doesn't even surprise me.