>>>handler but the command to retrieve is forceful, the dog
hesitates and does
something other than refusing the command, it crushes the
bird. In this
particular conflict of emotions the displacement
behavior can be repeated if
the command to 'fetch' is repeated. The
immediate result, a crushed and
worthless bird, isn't about the bird, it's
about the dog's fear of
approaching a tyrannical
trainer/handler. It is possible that a silent
handler would have
resulted in an undamaged bird being dropped at his feet.
The crushed bird
isn't the dog's fault, the trainer that did such a poor
teaching the dog to retrieve caused the
And hence it is
such a pity that they disqualify spaniels that have a "hard mouth" in
the trials......... They also disqualify spaniels that makes a sound twice in a
trial . A warning is given after the first sound. Anyway, in both cases the
problem most often, although not always, can be found in the
The trial is
used as a selecting tool but it has a very large mesh. Together with the
genetically really though cases, many times more of good dogs that have been
ignorantly trained will fall through into the
displacement behaviours I remember particularly one and the "behaviourist" was
my late Springer the spaniel. It is a little difficult to explain but I'll try
Springer developed a social problem at an age of say 6 - 7 years.
When she was alone with other dogs, dogs she knew or did not know, she had no
problems but came along well with them. When she was with me together with a dog
or two from the outside she still had no problems.
she, me and Foxy and/or Briz where together, like on the lawn playing with
retrieves or something similar, Springer became jealous. I was her master and
her master alone, she did not like the other dogs to play with me when she was
in the neighbourhood. We had a wonderful relation, we had worked and trained so
much together and had had so much success.
was not the type of dog that bites or growls immediately when stressed, thereby
relieving the pressure, she got into a conflict. The conflict consisted of
several simultaneous conditions:
not playing with her, on the contrary I was playing with the other pack
members. From her point of view the universe consisted of her and
me together, and any social interference from the outside was
inconceivable, a threat towards our relation and her position in the
A threat is
normally counterattacked with aggression but Springer was not an aggressive dog
and in addition she knew that I disliked aggressive behaviour when I was around.
When I was not around the condition did not exist and she had no reason to be
aggressive....you know what I mean?
built up pressure and the safety valve could have been any displacement
behaviour but she used this one: She ran in circles on the lawn, head low and
was constantly trying to grab straws of grass with her teeth. The look on
her face also signalled stress and this was not really easy to break until
the other dogs were removed. We can go back a few days in time to the message
about a Hungarian research suggesting and proving that old dogs have more
difficulties to handle stress than younger dogs. Springers sensibility to stress
slowly increased with age, I have written about that many
this was my own fault, I did not act like a male wolf pack leader would have
done, hence I was the cause for Springer's social conflict. I had, as a male
wolf, to choose to either let Springer be the alpha bitch beside of me as the
alpha male, and keep a distance to the other pack members of lower rank.
Springer would have been happy with this. I could also have kept Springer at a
lower level, letting Maud be the alpha bitch in our pack. Springer would have
been happy with this also.
was caused by my way of alternatingly letting her be the alpha bitch and then
without any warning put her aside for awhile. I guess such behaviour is not
found in the ethics books for common dog pack behaviour.
Now, my human
behaviour is very common among dog owners and some dogs can take it very well
while others develop different kinds of symptoms from displacement behaviours to
outright aggressively towards the owner.
Borta Med Vindens Kennel
"Ask not what your dog can do for you.
what you can do for your dog."www.rospigan.net