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Biting Insects


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It is said that when dogs snap at humans they know exactly where their teeth are. If they wanted to bite, they would. Makes sense. But what about my dog's apparent obsession with stinging (mostly wasps, bumble bees--flies leave him cold) insects and his abysmal failure rate to catch, kill and eat them? Most of the time he chomps down NEAR them, and frantically so, but I'm guessing he misses a good 70-80% of the time. I'm thinking he's so worried that they might bite him that he'd rather bite the air next to them, as a kind of high tension relief. But then they worry him endlessly; he trots back and forth between rooms to get a way from them, but then has to run back to see whether they're still there. And I don't get why these things come in all the time in the first place (we obviously don't have mosquito screens), so I'm pretty busy carrying these insects out of the house. Fortunately this is a highly seasonal thing.

 

Any thoughts on this, why he's missing the insects? Intentionally? Or does he need glasses?

Edited by christinepi
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I'm thinking insects are way too quick for him to catch whereas humans, if a dog is so inclined to snap at, are not. Annie Bella snaps at flies outside and often gets one, but I assume they're half dead to begin with. LOL

Edited by Feisty49
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Summit has zero prey drive... except for flies. He is the mighty mighty fly hunter. And he's pretty good at it. He generally waits for them to land somewhere convenient. Then he stalks slowly until he is very close. Then he moves for them and when they take off he snaps them up. Success rate by this method is probably 95%. Just snapping at one already in flight... significantly lower success rate.

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I agree that it has to do with relative response and reflex rates. Dogs and cats have faster reflexes than humans do, which is why I believe that if a dog doesn't make contact when he snaps at you, the majority of the time it's because he didn't mean to bite, not because you were fast enough to avoid him. I suspect that insects' response to movement is faster than a dog's reflexes. I don't know many people who can catch flies by hand, and dogs don't seem to be very successful when snapping at them in mid-air either. They do seem more likely to catch bees and wasps than flies.

 

None of my current dogs are very good at catching flying insects although a couple of them try. One of my previous dogs, an Italian greyhound, was pretty good at catching flies the way Summit does. He would corner them in the windows or screens and got most of them that way. He was also good at catching and killing bees without getting stung - he'd pull back his lips and bite at them until they were dead. He ate the flies and bees that he caught.

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