Cat and Dog Behavior from the Tara Saves Boy Story

dog predator cat aggressive defenderdog predator cat aggressive defenderThis is another short follow up post on the well known story of the tabby cat Tara who saved her family friend, the 4 year-old-boy, from more serious injury.

There were two forms of aggression present.

The dog was aggressive because he was predatory; preying on the boy. He stalked the boy from behind the car and then as he approached.

Tara was highly aggressive in a good cause; to defend her human companion who she related to as her kitten offspring (I believe).

Gail Fisher, a dog behaviour expert says that the dog’s predatory behaviour was for the purpose of moving closer to prey – as she puts it “decreased social distance” – while Tara’s aggression had the opposite objective: to “increase social distance”, to push the dog away and chase him off.

Gail also makes the point that predation is silent or as silent as possible while noise such as hissing and growling, accompanies aggression of the sort displayed by Tara.

Tara’s attitude and behaviour was highly committed and as Gail says there was could have been no doubt in the dog’s mind that “he needed to exit the scene, and fast”.

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Cat and Dog Behavior from the Tara Saves Boy Story — 6 Comments

  1. I don’t know how to respond to that story anymore.

    Tara, ofcourse, is a remarkable cat.

    But, I can’t fault an 8 month old puppy for his behavior.
    His caretakers failed him, and he’ll pay with his life.
    At 8 months, he should have been well into training and on a leash.

  2. It sounds a good explanation but I always thought dogs hunted in packs and a solitary dog wasn’t much of a danger. But Babz and I have noticed how many muscley strong jawed dogs are around these days, it’s as if they are being bred to be more aggressive. In our town of unemployed youths, quite a few druggie/criminal types, they have one or more of those sort of dogs as a status symbol.
    Nothing to do with the dog that attacked the little boy of course but he does seem another out of control dog and only one of many. It’s like people with multiple dogs, who can’t be bothered to look after them properly, their bored barking a nuisance to neighbours.
    When we had dogs they lived in the house not in a kennel, we took them for long walks, didn’t shove them out in the garden for hours. What went wrong since those days?

    • it’s as if they are being bred to be more aggressive.

      It is a modern thing this. If you look at modern car design. It is more aggressive as if on steroids. It is a reflection of a more aggressive world.

      How do you keep Walt and Jozef safe from these dogs?

      • The neighbours dogs are rarely out and on leads when they are and our cats don’t go in their gardens. We have a 6 foot high fence round our garden so any loose strange dogs can’t get in and across the embankment where they go to hunt mice is a very high fence but with cat spaces under, not big enough for a dog.
        If our boyz sit out the front of our house which has a wall and a gate we keep shut, we sit out there with them because of the road of course, but being in a cul de sac we only get our own traffic mostly and everyone drives carefully.
        This is why we tolerate the noisy dogs, the main thing is that our cats are respected and safe, as are other neighbours cats.
        Further into the estate would be quite dangerous but our cats don’t go that way because we are on the very edge with the embankment opposite us so it’s ideal for them here.

  3. Actually thanks, Michael, for a follow-up.

    I get so frustrated when left hanging and not knowing the outcomes of so many cats. A couple that come to mind are Garfield (did he find a home?) and Depot, the retail store cat ( was he allowed to stay?). There were a lot more, some nightmare worthy.

    Follow-ups are on my wish list.

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