Hot words start fights. To confirm that, check out Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (King James Version) That applies to dogs, too.
Tiger snorted her displeasure at having to wait for her focused attention session with me. She started snorting because Stella was free. Her envy against Stella knew no bounds until her envy of Snoopey and dominance competition with her kicked Stella aside. She has been snooting against both of them.
Tiger was in her crate with her food and water because she won’t behave around the other bulldogs. She manipulates Stella by barking and snorting and silly, peaceable Stella runs around like mad trying to figure out what to do. Stella flopped down in front of me, upside down with her tongue lolling out to the side. Stella is a lover, not a fighter, well, not a good fighter anyway.
Snoopey, not to be left out of any disagreement, voiced her complaint with her whining bulldog vocabulary, working her petulant lower lip up and down beneath the flopping umbrella of her expansive cheeks. Silent Stella only barks and vocalizes once in a blue moon. Is there another one of those coming up soon? Sweet, amenable Wiggles sat and watched. She seldom offers an opinion. When she does, it is at full volume and she gets the last word.
Tiger always snoots her impatience before the loud, incessant barking starts. It is amazing to me that she can blow that much air through her nose without blowing snot all over everybody. I am told that the bloody battle that almost claimed her life started as a fight over food. I don’t know. Tiger does love her food, but food or not, the fight was over territory. The other dog protected her ground and Tiger protected hers. Tiger lost.
Pretty soon after the barking begins, everyone (by everyone, I mean every non-human one) adds their own bulldog version of two cents. It is a conversation, but not a polite one.
I have avoided a great many useless fights over the years by learning (the hard way) when to speak and when to keep my mouth shut. The other thing I have learned is not to spew angry, spiteful words in reaction to someone else’s venom. Those two lessons have saved me a lot of grief and a lot of late apologies that never would have set things to right anyway.
Now if we can just get the dogs to learn even part of that lesson.
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 KJV
©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved