Dog Behavior and Stray Dogs in Russia and Taiwan
Moscow’s stray dogs article on FM.com is what motivated me to write this post.
Popsci.com also has an article going over much of the same info as FM.com. In the Popsci.com article from January, 21, 2010 talks about Andrei Poyarkov, who is a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution. Poyarkov is the same person that the FM.com article is about. Both articles mention that Poyarkov indicates the stray dogs of Moscow are losing the friendly gene that contributes to spotted coloring in domestic dogs. Poyarkov classifies dogs into four groups guard dogs, scavengers, wild dogs, and beggars.
I have observes all of these groups in Taiwan stray dogs. However, I have not noticed the four groups of behavior in the same degree as Poyarkov mentions. And, I have never seen street dogs in Taiwan get on a bus or the mass transit rail system. I have seen dogs share guard duty with security guards, but I have more often seen strays treated harshly by security guards who have their own dogs.
The scavenger dog is quite common in Taiwan. The scavenger is what I think of as one of the most common types of street dog. There is another classification of street dog I have noticed in Taiwan, the neighborhood dog. These dogs are part scavenger, part beggar and part of the neighborhood. Some of these dogs live at one house and some live in a home range that encompasses several houses or a city block. The neighborhood dog doesn’t have a name but if you ask, some people will say the dog lives at their house. The people who semi-claim these dogs also feed them and give them rudimentary care.
I agree with Poyarkov that the beggar dogs have developed some rather charming behavior. They make their living by cute friendliness. Beggar dogs are also a good indicator of the economic condition of people. I noticed when the economy is good the beggar dogs refuse handouts that are not up to their high standards. But when times are tough, almost any food will do. Beggar dogs are the most entertaining of the street dogs.
As I have mentioned in my dog training book, I think wild dogs are the most interesting to watch. The really wild dogs are very wary of people and must be watched at a distance. Even at a great distance, they are aware of your presents.
Wild Dog Puppy at its Den in Taiwan
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In my book I have a photo on page 8 of a small pack of dogs hunting rats. These dogs showed the hunting behavior of wild dogs, combined with friendliness towards visiting pets. This pack of dogs also got the occasional handout.
Stray dogs and Aggression
In 2008, there was an article on sky new about feral dogs in Russia attacking and even killing people.
I also found this on news24.com from December 2009 “Fears of contact with a rabies-stricken dog have left 41 people hospitalized in Moscow, said Russian officials quotes by the Interfax news agency.” My opinion on rabies will need to wait for another blog post.
Wherever you have large numbers of feral dogs you will have dog bites. It’s the nature of the dog. In Taiwan, street dogs are known for not always being friendly.
Aggressive Dog in Taiwan
The locals in the area I was staying even made special sticks to ward off dog attacks.
Dog sticks made while collecting herbs in Taiwan
I met this man at the river carving these sticks with grate care. It appears that he chooses a certain kind of tree to use. I don’t know but I am guessing it’s because the wood is harder than the others riverside plants. From what he said, I think that he’s been harvesting wild herbs and greens from this part of the river for a very long time. Notice herbs in the bag he’s holing in left hand. It seems driving away wild dogs while harvesting plant has a long history.
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