I've recently assisted to 3 dogs (not blood borthers, but they live, eat and play together everyday) fighting in a way that in my opinion was clearly leading to one of them being killed by the other two.
I'm curious as to why does this happen, specifically
- Why didn't one of the dogs give up to the other 2, thus ending the conflict?
- Maybe it coudn't because of the number of dogs involved, i.e. more than 2?
- If 3 (i.e. 2+1) is the critical aspect, then what makes dogs different from wild animals? Conservation experts all agree (as far as I've understood by watching loads of documentaries and personally speaking to some conservation guides) that animal fights (for territory or for mating) generally resolve without deaths. I mean, take a pack of wolves. If the alpha was attacked by, say, 4 beta (? sorry for the terminology, but you get what I mean) wolves, I assume it wouldn't stand a chance. But the point is that such a thing just doesn't happen, does it?
I've been told the brawl in question was not at all the first episode, even if it happens rarely indeed.
So I thought of my father, who was a dog trainer in part of his life, and I remember among other things, one point he made:
- 1 dog is not a pack,
- 2+ dogs are a pack,
- 2 dogs will not naturally fight to death, as the clash will make clear which one is dominant, often even before becoming physical clash (this exclude the patological scenarios that the dogs have been abused and trained to fight),
- but given 3 dogs together, it can happen that a clash will result in the death (or serous injury) of one of them, as most likely 2 will form a pack against the other.
I pretty sure about my dad claiming the first 3 bullets above, but I might have a distorted memory of the 4th one. I also remember that the 4th bullet scenario can happen as a consequence of human interaction (a dog is petted and another becomes jelous, ...).
Anyway, going to the real life scenario, yesterday I was at a friend's house with more people, and assisted to a quick escalation of violence between 3 Jack Russels (some possibly cross-bred with something else, I don't know).
At the moment this happened, the owner and I were out of sight of the 3 dogs, say ~10m away, when we suddenly heard the dogs barking and his girlfriend shouting them to stop. From that moment, everything happened so quickly, with us rushing though those 10 meters, and my friend sticking a kick¹ somewhere in the dog brawl.
The result, for a second was that the 3 dogs were separated, but my friend didn't manage to grag 2 dogs out of 3 and lift them up (also because he's got the left arm plastered these days), so the brawl started fiercer than before, and I have a clear picture in my memory of one of the dogs being attacked by the other two. Blood was flowing, and the lament I heard was far from being the one you hear from dogs playing together.
Here we are probably barely 10 seconds in the fight, when I decided to try help, by grabbing one attacking dog and pressing with my fingers its cheeks in between its teeth to induce it to release. The result was that I ended up with a finger in between the jaws of the dog. Luckily it's "just" a small dog, and part of the pressure was on the face of the other dog, so my finger is still in place :D
From that moment I'm not sure how we managed to separate the 3, I just remember my friend holding 1 of the dogs with his only functioning arm high in the air while kicking the other two.
This last part, where the fight was easier to stop when one dog was taken out and only 2 were left, is kinda consistent with the second bullet point above.
(¹) I mean, literally like you wanted to score a goal from the half-way line of the soccer field.