Why do some dogs maul? - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by K9L1 on 02 September 2019 - 17:09

I have heard a few stories about persons being mauled by a single dog instead of the dog doing a single calm grip bite.
What is the advantage of a dog choosing to maul and what drive does this come from? Is this a desirable trait in a dog?

by ValK on 02 September 2019 - 18:09

mauling is a natural instinctive behavior in fight and has both positive and negative sides, depending on application,
dog's temperament and handler's ability to control that dog.
single bite and hold also instinctive but in natural use applicable in hunt on smaller and weaker prey when none or very
little resistance occurring and do not pose threat to dog's life.


by TIG on 02 September 2019 - 21:09

First perhaps the op would like to define what they mean by mauling.

For purposes of discussion to me it means a dog attacking in a serial fashion constantly changing the position of the bite and in fact the type & quality of the bite.

Again to clarify the op is talking about a single dog not a pack situation.

I have not dealt with this but some thoughts come to mind that I would appreciate others input. The very serious dogs I have known (& some other species as well bulls for example) even when high drive have been calm animals. Their strength & power is present and obvious they do not need to posture hence the calmness. These serious dogs did not lack fight drive just the opposite - once engaged again they were totally present to the fight. The ones I have known bit calmly and strongly and held on - in fact that can sometimes be the only problem the willingness to disengage from the fight.

Now if we look at the behavior of mauling as I defined it (& with the presumption the dog was not trained or rewarded for shifting his bite but it is a natural expression of the dog) it suggests some concern for me. These are the behaviors you see in a fear biter or even in a dog with thin nerves who simply lacks the confidence to hold for the fight and has not been properly developed to instill the necessary confidence.

So for me not a desirable trait and in real life applications a much higher liability situation due to the damage inflicted.

I will let others with more immediate knowledge talk to the pros and cons of a dog who can hold its opponent vs one who while perhaps inflicting greater damage by its frequent releases offers the opponent other options.

by ValK on 03 September 2019 - 00:09

OP did state "persons being mauled by a single dog"
in regard mauling of human, that's only pointed that dog perceived that person as an enemy, not a prey.

you're correct about mentality, based on strong selfconfidence of serious dogs. they do not waste their breath on small things, mainly
indifferent to neutral surrounding and their fight drive kick in only if necessity arise. in dog's world other dogs very well does sense this
and usually do not provoke such dog, at least if not attempting to challenge status quo.

for the dogs, you indicating as a fear biter, you should understand - such type of dogs always will attempt to avoid fight if not being cornered.
even with no option to run away, best they can do it's a passive defense. sometimes such dogs might imitate aggressive behavior, do movement toward opponent (incl. human) but final touch always remains dubious and rely on reaction of object of attack.


by emoryg on 03 September 2019 - 01:09

Think I will wait till I understand what is meant by mauling.

by duke1965 on 03 September 2019 - 08:09

single calm grip is preybite, dogs that attack people are not in prey

by apple on 03 September 2019 - 13:09

I don't think you can say a single, clam grip is always a prey bite. It depends on the dog's temperament and training. Some dogs can have a full, hard grip that doesn't change or shift and still be either angry or in defense. They are fighting the person and that to me doesn't indicate the dog is in prey drive.

by apple on 03 September 2019 - 14:09

https://youtu.be/NZ12WunSpS4I wouldn't necessarily say this bite is not a prey bite, but there is no prey movement stimulating the dog, the dog is very intense and is definitely civil, and I see no threat to stimulate defense. My point is that even is this is a "prey bite", you can tell the dog is easily a man stopper. Often, people mistake prey for play and don't think prey/fight is enough to defeat a person. It actually has the advantage of little to no stress reducing the chance of avoidance or flight.

by ValK on 03 September 2019 - 14:09

sure, dog can show signs of aggression, at same time keeping single bite, placed onto opponent.
problem is that this is an artificially taught manner of interacting with supposedly hostile object, who during the training do not conduct active overwhelming resistance.
same dog, who calmly hold single bite on human, a minute latter, being involved in fight with another dog, will be using a multiple tearing bites, placed onto different parts of opponent body.


by TIG on 03 September 2019 - 15:09

I agree with apple and strongly disagree with duke. Two of the serious dogs I mentioned above were owned by me. While the most recent one did have fairly high prey drive she also had very strong civil or defense drive and when she engaged the helper mano an mano that is the drive she was working in.

The first dog was a herding dog and while some may argue herding is a truncated prey drive I do not. This was a solid serious little (22 in) bitch with strong civil drives. Never showed chase behavior or other direct prey behavior. She was not trained in bite work and yet the one time she was called on to protect me she did so in utter calmness and with one holding bite. The man got the message - don't move another step and froze in place. This by no means was a prey situation.

BTW she was absolutely solid in every situation - I was often told she would have made a great guide dog because of her equanimity - of course those folks did not know or see her serious side. Once you have had a GSD like that you are spoiled forever. She certainly was the epitome of the old herding stock - great work ethic and prepared and capable to also protect the Schafermeister.


Contact information  Disclaimer  Privacy Statement  Copyright Information  Terms of Service  Cookie policy  ↑ Back to top