By Scott Hunt
The Dog Grumbler
LOTS of people choose a female dog assuming that girls are nicer, less aggressive, more inclined to be friendly and nurturing and less likely to be reactive to other dogs.
But in fact, the opposite is often the case.
In my experience, dog society — like wolf society — is largely matriarchal.
Males are generally bigger and stronger but rarely show aggression towards females, whereas females are, well, bitchy.
In a group, it’s the females who mete out discipline.
It’s the females who mostly eat first.
Those dead patches of grass in your lawn are rendered thus entirely by bitches.
It’s not that male dog urine is more benign — it’s just that male dogs don’t squat in the middle of the nature strip or tennis court. They like uprights.
That’s an added incentive for proud lawn nurturers to go male: fence uprights need less line trimming once the hard-to-reach grass is killed off.
Recently, a Bellerive bitch owner called seeking advice on rejuvenating a patchy lawn.
I confessed to my own dismay over this common problem.
My approach is to flood the offending patches with water at every opportunity and let time and nature take their course.
Mind you, it’s a long course and my lawn is frankly never as green as my neighbours.
In my experience, bitches are more likely to take responsibility for inter-dog protocols in company and react bitchily to the presence of other dogs.
This is normal civilised interaction for them and, I believe, sadly misinterpreted by many dog owners.
A dog enforcing protocols needs to first establish a perimeter, which is usually further from its owner than one leash-length.
And the scent of rising panic in both owners fuels the fire.
I find that most negative interactions between dogs are eliminated when leashes are removed and owners separate and let the dogs sort it out.
Usually, the dogs just want the owners to move apart so they can interact on neutral turf.
Invariably, a dog will choose to leave in pursuit of its owner rather than stand around shouting at a stranger.
So, by all means, choose a bitch, but don’t expect a permanently pristine lawn and don’t be surprised if she seems reactive when you meet another dog while walking on leash.
Especially if the other owner looks like they smell alarmed.
I always had male dogs and a nice lawn, but a couple of years ago found myself with a bitch who has become an integral part of our family.
She’s tiny but enforces the law in my yard and in my car.
She chastises younger and/or male dogs with alarming ferocity even when they tower over her and in most cases, has dibs on first chew of any bones on offer.
She knows she’s my companion, but relates to and seems to accept responsibility for the whole family, often reminding us when we deviate from some family routine — a responsibility none of my previous (male) dogs has assumed.
And my lawn sucks. Literally. I pray for rain.
We wouldn’t trade her for anything.