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Like Begets Like

Life on this planet continues because all living beings have a natural instinct to procreate and produce its progeny. From a single celled amoeba to giant elephants, all produce their little ones. Each species of animals tries to survive in the animal kingdom by procreation. Those who fail in the process due to natural reasons or anthropogenic intervention or diseases or genetic modifications due to environmental changes become extinct. Many life forms have become extinct in the past 65 million years in the process; of course human intervention in this process till now is negligible-because we came much later in the evolutionary chain.

Dogs are no exception to this process of procreation. A dog or bitch attains sexual maturity at the age of around nine months. At the same time their reproductive instinct takes over. Dog’s world to a great extent revolves around its prowess to sniff. A dog can sniff a bitch in ‘season’ within a kilometer radius of his house. He can break all training discipline if the master is not vigilant. He may go out at the first opportunity in search of the bitch he has ‘sniffed’ around his locality. In my very first blog, Tryst with dogs’ I mentioned about my first dog Peter. I was a small kid then and could not understand what my dad’s orderly Ramzan meant by saying that Peter goes away in search of a bride for himself! But since I lost Peter as he went out one night in his bride’s search and never returned. That was a major shock and a big lesson. Thereafter since 1948 till 2007 I ensured that none of my dogs or bitches goes out of the house unescorted ever.

The instinct is so powerful that a may show his resentment by whining a lot, stop eating food or even attack people. Sometimes the dogs get too much domesticated, especially if separated from the litter and dam at around four week’s age that despite motivation by the strong smell around they do not want to go out, but ultimately the instinct forces them to venture out. But the hawk like eyes of the master keeps them confined. In such circumstances these dogs become sort of sex maniacs. They may like to sniff under the dresses of people, causing much embarrassment to the owners. Once while conducting a competition for the most obedient dog of the evening, a Labrador retriever won the award. The owner a smart army officer walked briskly with the dog to the dais to accept the award. His ‘obedient’ dog caused much embarrassment as he tried to lift the dress of a lady to sniff. Poor owner missed the award. Most people believe that a trained dog means the one who obeys commands and performs accordingly. No a properly trained dog means he will never break the rule under any circumstance.

Here is another example. I had taken my Champion Labrador retriever bitch to be served by another Champion dog at Gwalior. Both were breed and obedience Champs. It was very hot April and since I reached the dog owner’s house at 10AM, we had no option but to wait for the Sun to set. Since the owner of the dog too had gone to dogs like me, we sat talking dogs all day. Both the dog and the bitch were sitting opposite each other in Sit Down position with their nose touching each others. They had been ordered to Stay. Hence they remained like that till late evening and did not even whine once.

It is common to find hordes of dogs chasing a bitch in ‘season’. They follow her, as if in a trance, blissfully unaware of the rule of the territory of the doggy society. They fight amongst them for supremacy, as the bitch ‘favors’ the strongest one. The domestic dogs return home after days of wandering, bruised and battered like a war hero. 

The ‘seasonal’ cycle of the bitches coincides with the arrival of spring and autumn. The message flashes in the air and nose of your dog receives it faster than a SMS. Strange are the nature’s ways. At the change of seasons, the bitch develops a glow on her coat. A new coat appears, her eyes shine and she becomes extraordinarily affectionate. The two bitches in my house never saw an eye to eye with each other. But during the ‘season’, they wanted to be close to each other, sniff and play.

Urination amongst dog has multiple functions. They are able to distinguish the condition of the other dog via the smell of the urine and convey their condition as well. Therefore, the urine of the bitch about to come into ‘season’ plays a vital role in ‘advertising’ her condition. An observant owner can see the change in the urination pattern of his bitch. Instead of passing urine at one or two fixed spots on the road, she would like to urinate over a wide arc, right in front of the entrance of the house. The dimension of the arc ensures that no dog would miss the ‘invitation’. No sooner the bitch comes into ‘ripe season’ one can see hordes of dogs waiting and whimpering at the gate. At that time they show extraordinary ingenuity’s to gain entry in to the house. Once I fortified all possible vulnerable points of my compound wall, a Dachshund gained entry via a drain to woo my Labrador retriever bitch. To my horror the dog had climbed on to the verandah, while the bitch was ready for him on the lawn. Everything is fair in love and war. Sizes of dogs do not matter. Therefore do not take them for granted.

Though dogs can be trained to any extent, yet countering this instinct is almost impossible. That is why the dogs used in professional security are neutered. Of course a well-trained dog or bitch is easy to control and is able to face the restraint without much apparent affect on his or her psyche. However, it is not easy for every pet owner to train his pet to the required extent of imposing a control during the ‘season’. Most of the dog lovers think that a companion is a necessity and provide a partner of the opposite sex as a companion. Once they reach the adulthood, vows of the owner’s start. Every six months they have a litter to dispose off. Producing puppies in a quick succession tells upon the health of the bitch. She dies a premature death. The inexperienced owners should never venture to keep dogs of opposite sexes in the same house.

It is possible to neuter the dogs and spay the bitches. The method is not at all cruel. However, the lack of post-operational care facility is a big hurdle. Such dogs and bitches live a normal life and do not show any behavioral aberration. On the other hand, many a time’s normal dogs become biters during the ‘seasons’. Since neutering is still not very practical solution in our country, it is best to keep the dog or the bitch under full control during the season. Train them to stay and live at a particular place from the puppy-hood. This training comes handy especially if you have bitch as it prevents your house from being ‘spotted’ with her discharge. The exercise level of the dogs should be sufficiently increased during this period. This can be achieved by training them to retrieve a ball. The devil in him has to be kept busy. Despite all these precautions if there is a misalliance for your bitch and you do not wish that she should have puppies, take her to a Vet within four hours. An injection to her will take care of your worries.

So far you have read about the doggy instincts. Next blog onwards I will write about the doggy senses. It is a balance of instincts and senses that keeps the dog’s race going and also the harmony between a dog and man continues to grow stronger ever.

More By  :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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