Dog Blog #3: Choke Points

Happy

So, how does a choke point work in regards to lots of dogs and what is a choke point? I just had to rearrange my living room to eliminate two choke points. A choke point is a place in your home, maybe a hallway, or a restriction caused by furniture placement, that restricts the number of dogs that can comfortably fit through it or pass through it at one time. They pile up on each other and fights break out. I still have a choke point at my front door but because it’s where the dogs que up to get outside, they usually don’t fight in it.

Choke points were causing major fights in my house and dog fights are a bad thing. Your dogs can get seriously hurt. I have a special dog named ironically Happy. Happy is rarely happy but no one blames her. I rescued her from a chain. She’d been tied to it for eight years and starved and bred. She weighed 31 pounds when I got her. She now weighs 60 lbs. Happy is mostly pitbull. She had heart worms when I got her and serious mental problems. The vet said the muscles in her back legs were atrophied from eight years of not using them so she couldn’t be treated for the heart worms. I had to use cowboy methods to cure her, but presently, she has been diagnosed heart-worm free. Because of her atrophied muscles, poor Happy had to learn how to walk, trot, and run. She’d never done any of this. It took her two years to start dreaming she was running. Because of the years of abuse, Happy’s mouth has even been taped shut, Happy has episodes. Every once in a while, she goes after another dog for no reason, and almost always, this occurs in a choke point.

Her favorite dog to pick a fight with is the mastiff. Moregon’s neck is callused and thick with muscle and fur. Happy has no teeth. It looks as though she wore them out trying to chew through her chain. Moregon (Moose) outweighs her by 150 pounds and has a fine mouth-full of teeth. Mastiffs were bred to fight bears. Happy always gets beat up and still she persists. That’s the kind of thing terrible, chronic, abuse causes in dogs. If Happy was human, I’d say she is schizophrenic. What makes it worse is Moregon likes to sleep across doorways. It’s her nature. Mastiffs do this because they’re very protective and danger comes through doors. They know this. If Happy can’t easily egress her bed or a room because it’s blocked, she attacks. She was worse when I got her, but she still has these episodes, so we’ve been eliminating choke points, places where Moose can block her in.

When you have nine dogs, things like choke points have to be considered when you arrange your furniture. We now have a much more open arrangement and so far, no fights.

It doesn’t matter how small the dogs you own are. Choke points cause fights. My grandson used to help take care of a large group of Japanese Chins. Tiny dogs. They would get into fights just like bigger dogs and usually in a choke point. When you have nine dogs, running from 200 pounds to 10 pounds, fighting must be controlled. We use the mop and blankets to stop fights. If you throw blankets over the fighters, they stop. Since we have two dogs with Jack Russel blood, we have to watch them when fights break out. Chester never saw a fight he didn’t want to join. Chompers is the same way and he’s tiny.

Fights among big dogs are loud and terrifying and can cause serious injuries to your dogs. Think fast, have equipment handy at all times, and watch those choke points.

Author: Janet Post

I’m the daughter of a Marine Corps colonel. I lived the military life until I got out of high school. At that point I was a wild child. I got married and moved to Canada where I lived up the Sechelt Inlet, the scene for Spellcast Waters. I lived in a log cabin, with wood heat and a wood cook stove fifteen miles by boat from the nearest town. I’ve moved a lot. Between the military upbringing and just rambling around the country, I’ve moved 40 times. I lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then I moved to Florida where I became a reporter. For ten years I covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed me, and it awed me. How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens now days have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated. I love kids, horses and I paint, and I write. Now I live in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and my fifteen-year old granddaughter. Life is beautiful. Live in the moment.

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