Dogs fighting . . . friend or show?

The longer we keep dogs, the more we realise how little we know about them. Especially their behaviour.

Two border collies apparently about to fight - but are they?
Mog and Maeve look as though they are about to fight but they're the best of friends.

If you keep a number of dogs together, there will inevitably be the odd disagreement but where possible, we try to remain calm and allow the dogs to sort out their pack hierarchy by themselves.

We've learned that if we interfere, they simply sort it out when we're not in view. These incidents rarely lead to any actual harm to either dog and are a natural part of pack routine. Of course, there is always the exception to every rule, and Mog and Maeve tested our resolve to the limit.

Both are working sheepdogs and have moved on to new homes now but when they were with us, at least once a day, the two young bitches would square up to each other and immediately, an apparently furious fight would begin.

At first we were horrified and quickly separated the pair, but on an occasion when they were too far away for this, we noticed that the skirmish ended as suddenly as it had begun, and the two trotted away together, perfectly happy . . . in fact, we could have sworn they were laughing!

Despite the ferocity of the incident, there was no apparent damage, not even the tell-tale saliva on either coat to suggest there had been mouth contact.

We eventually managed to record one of the incidents and it was only when we slowed the footage down that we were satisfied that they were only playing. There was no actual contact between teeth and skin - it was all show.

2 Replies to “Dogs fighting . . . friend or show?”

  1. We have a visiting spaniel here for the week. It’s very interesting as she really can’t read collie body language, has no idea which dog is in charge and no clue what my pack are planning.

    1. Hello Deb,
      Yes, that’s another trait in collies. They tend to keep to themselves. Years ago, Gill and I had a lurcher bitch (not Eris) who was desperate to play with the collies but they totally ignored her. It was heartbreaking to watch the lurcher (Jill) trying so hard to get involved in their games, only to be completely excluded, as though she wasn’t there.

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