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Thrilling stories about dogs and learning from them

A livestock guardian dog on duty like this Kuvasz can be very protective of its charges and will attack an intruder.

A livestock guardian dog on duty like this Kuvasz can be very protective of its charges and will attack an intruder.

An encounter with a livestock guardian dog

It was two ferocious dogs against a protective one. The confrontation was inevitable for they had come face to face in a very delicate situation.

Our two dogs, a female German Shepherd named Cinderella (Cinders for short) and male Doberman named Zorro, hiked side by side my kid brother Owais and me.

Intimidating dogs?

I am sure they must have made a formidable combination on the trail. Turning a blind corner formed by dense foliage, we came face to face with a livestock guardian dog (LGD) of a flock of sheep being herded by an old man from the rear. Both of us brothers were alarmed at a possible confrontation. Here were two very threatening ‘urban’ dogs against a very protective ‘rural’ dog. As both of us were about to take a drastic action of grabbing collars of Cinders and Zorro, the LGD gave us a pleasant surprise. He looked back towards the flock and then confidently sat down as if to say, “I mean no harm and I am sure you mean no harm too”.

There was no confrontation at all. I don’t think our dogs even made an eye contact with the LGD. We had immense appreciation for the bravery and intelligence of that dog.

These 'beautiful' breeds can appear threatening to people on a trail

Keep your dog on leash

There was a lesson learnt too. Never hike with your dog(s) off leash, no matter how big the temptation is to do so. German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit bulls, etc. are correctly or incorrectly perceived as dangerous dogs. A Rottweiler coming down the trail off leash can run shivers through the spines of hikers with children in the party. Also, there is a possibility that it may run into an oncoming party with dog(s). There is no telling how the two parties would behave towards each other.

Furthermore, if your dog is off leash, there is a possibility of it seeing a wild animal and running off in hot pursuit. Running after a wolf or a bear can have dangerous consequences. Wolves are pack animals and a lonely wolf will sooner or later get reinforcement. Also, there have been stories where a dog took after a bear and when the bear counter-attacked, the dog brought the bear back to the owner.

A very attractive book cover for young people.

A very attractive book cover for young people.


I love dog stories. It does not matter what breed or what type of dog is the subject. I got into reading dog stories through Jim Corbett’s’ accounts of his hunting man-eating tigers of India. Corbett preferred to hunt alone and on foot when pursuing dangerous game. He often hunted with this small dog named Robin, about whom he wrote in many adventures in his first book The Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Those stories were nerve wrenching as I read them when I was in my early teens. About Robin he writes:

“There is nothing more disappointing for a gun dog than to be left at home when his master goes out, and as bird-shooting was now taboo for Robin, I started taking him with me when I went out after big game. He took to this new form of sport as readily as duck takes to water, and from then on has accompanied me whenever I have been out with a rifle.

The little tracking dog

The method we employ is to go out early in the morning, pick up the tracks of a leopard or tiger, and follow them. When the pugmarks can be seen, I do the tracking, and when the animal we are following takes to the jungle, Robin does the tracking. In this way we have on occasions followed an animal for miles before coming up with it.”

K2 the Great White Kuvasz Pup training for hiking adventures

Beginning the 10 km hike.

Beginning the 10 km hike.

K2 reaches the Credit River. He is confused by the flowing water.

K2 reaches the Credit River. He is confused by the flowing water.

Put your dog to obedience training

I would never take a dog to hunting dangerous animals, but am certainly inclined to training a dog to become my trekking partner.

I have a 2 year old Kuvasz boy who has bonded with his humans rather than with a flock of sheep or goats. I started taking him on longer and longer walks with me since he was 6 months old in order that he eventually becomes a good hiking partner. I plan to put him through a special obedience training program so that he becomes a reliable partner to hike through the bear country.

During hiking with your dog, it is very important that it knows to stand by you no matter what. It is not required of a dog to challenge a bear or a cougar when it sees one for a dog is no match for these wild animals. However, presence of a well-trained dog by your side is a deterrent for an over-zealous bear.

Cover of the book by John Vaillant.

Cover of the book by John Vaillant.


The stories about Corbett’s dog Robin are totally different in flavour than those narrated in a book on a man-eating Siberian, or more accurately, Amur Tiger that I read in September 2010. John Vaillant’s ‘The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival’ has many tragic events described graphically, but in the end it leaves hope in that the awareness is growing all over the world and that Amur Tigers may survive living in the wild.

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Vaillant covers dogs, but in the context of their accompanying hunters in Amur forests and sometimes becoming prey of the tigers themselves. Dogs in this book hunt by their masters’ sides and get hunted by Amur Tigers and their role is frequently described under tragic circumstances. However, the book starts with a thrilling but not a tragic confrontation of a female dog and the man-eating tiger.

East Siberian Laika harassing a grizzly.

East Siberian Laika harassing a grizzly.

The little hunting dog

Yuri Trush is the central character of the story, who has been sent by the Government to track the man-eater. Vaillant describes his reaching the scene of first tragic death as follows:

“Trush’s hunting dog, a little Laika, is further down the trail, growing increasingly shrill and agitated. Her nose is tingling with blood scent and tiger musk, and she alone feels free to express her deepest fear: the tiger is there, somewhere up ahead. Trush’s men have their rifles off their shoulders, and they cover him as he films.”

Dogs know that danger is lurking

Vaillant describes the scene of Trush discovering the half-eaten body of the victim as follows:

“Trush had never seen a fellow human so thoroughly and gruesomely annihilated and, even as he filmed, his mind fled to the edges of the scene, taking refuge in the peripheral details. He was struck by the poverty of this man – that he would be wearing thin rubber boots in such bitter weather. He reflected on the cartridge belt – loaded but for three shells – and wondered where the gun had gone. Meanwhile, Trush’s dog Gitta, is racing back and forth, hackles raised and barking in alarm. The tiger is somewhere close by – invisible to the men, but to the dog it is palpably, almost unbearably present.”

Dogs can check-mate an advancing bear

Put dog's senses to work to your advantage

A well-trained dog by your side during a backpacking excursion can be a big advantage, because it can warn you of an approaching bear or a cougar or an unwanted human intruder. Dog’s hearing and seeing abilities, as well as their sixth sense, are much better than ours and can be used to an advantage.

Dogs and true character

Back to our Cinders, the female German Shepherd and Zorro, the male Doberman. They made our home more popularly known in the neighbourhood as ‘House of ferocious dogs’. But Owais and I always knew that our dogs were like the family, bold and abrupt from the outside and humble from the inside.

Ilsa of Brantwood Kuvasz showing her love for lambing.

Ilsa of Brantwood Kuvasz showing her love for lambing.

Ferociously compassionate dogs

They showed their true character when one day a cat with her 4-5 kittens came out of our neighbours home on to the driveway through an open door, as we chatted. Our dogs were off leash and rushed towards the cat, treeing her. Each of them then grabbed a kitten, setting panic in the neighbourhood. Everyone thought that the kittens would be dead in seconds.

But lo and behold, the dogs came over to the neighbour dropping the two kittens at his feet. No injuries, no harm, just a prank from the "ferocious dogs".

We had the biggest sigh of relief.


Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on May 11, 2019:

Thank you, Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 06, 2019:

Loved the stories, and I love the undercurrent of love in your telling of those stories.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on October 02, 2016:

Thank you, FlourishAnyway!

I was myself very pleasantly surprised by the attitude of the two dogs towards the kittens.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 02, 2016:

I'm so glad the kittens weren't injured in the story you told at the end. That poor mama cat had to have been so upset. It's very sweet when you see them all getting along. I enjoy reading about your dog adventures, even though I don't have a dog myself and don't hike much anymore.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 19, 2013:

I think dogs can be a good deterrence or first line of defense (in a nice way) against bears. Dogs are certainly quicker than the bears and they have the tendency to harass. In the time a bear tackles a dog, a human can plan escape. Of course, I will prefer my dog to be perfectly trained to stay by my side no matter who crosses our path.

moonlake from America on September 18, 2013:

I like the picture of the dog and the bear. We have bears here so when I take my walks with my little dog I have to worry about bears. My husband said just pick up the dog and throw him at the bear and run like heck. He was kidding of course. Our little dog I know would go after a bear. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on May 07, 2013:

Although I don't have a GSD now, but when people ask me what large dog breed to keep, I normally advise keeping this breed. Needless to mention, I miss our Cinderella and Zorro a lot.

dogfond on May 06, 2013:

I have two german shepherds now and my 3 year old son just love playing with them. Other people may get intimidated with shepherds but they are very loyal and friendly. Thanks for sharing your story...great hub!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on January 15, 2013:

Hi Peggy,

Yours has been the best comment ever! I loved the story and you narrated it beautifully. It's good to know that all ended well indeed.

I love GSDs too. Who can forget Rin Tin Tin, my childhood hero of the re-runs. Alexandra Horowitz writes in her book 'Inside of a dog' that experiments have conclusively proven that saving one's life doesn't come naturally to a dog no matter what stories make us believe. They have to be properly trained for saving lives. But I think it is in their nature to get excited if someone is in danger and in a frenzy too, which people associate with rescuing instinct.

Also, you may have read the recent story how two mid-sized dogs saved the life of an 8 years old when he wandered off into a forest and had to spend a night alone there in the winter chill. Luckily two dogs had followed him and when he was found, the two dogs were seen cushioning him from cold weather.

Thank you very much for reading my hub and leaving an awesome comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 14, 2013:

My parents most favorite breed of dog was the German Shepherd and we almost always had one or more while we were growing up. They are good family dogs if raised right and are real sweethearts. Of course, like any large dog they can be intimidating to those outside the family.

One of them probably saved my youngest brother's life. The 3 of us were playing outside on the swing set and in our sandbox when my mother went into the house for something. John and I did not notice when Jim wandered off. We were busy playing as kids do. We had fields and a woods surrounding our house and a lake not that far away.

Sheba, our German Shepherd dog stayed right with Jimmy as he was called back then and when my mother started calling, Sheba would bark. My mother was able to locate my little brother that way and he was near the lake. Had he gone into the lake, he did not yet know how to swim and could have drowned.

Knowing Sheba, she might have actually pulled him in...but we will never know. That is a true story. Accidents can happen so quickly.

Parents just about have to have "eyes in the back of their heads" as the old saying goes.

Liked hearing about your dogs and the ones you read about in the books. Up and interesting votes. Hope that Kuvasz turns into your best hiking buddy ever. He is certainly a beauty!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on December 28, 2012:


Among all the dogs we have kept, Cinders and Zorro are most remembered of our canine friends.

I wish you happy holidays and a happy new year too.

toknowinfo on December 28, 2012:

So sorry, you lost Cinders and Zorro. Kuvasz looks like one beautiful dog. I hope you continue to write hubs about him and his obedience training. Wishing you a wonderful New Year and very happy holidays.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on December 28, 2012:


Thank you for encouraging comments. Those two dogs have long gone into the eternal sniffing grounds. Today, my home is known for a Great White Dog. He is a 1 year and 10 months old Kuvasz, guard of our property and companion of many long distance hiking trips.

toknowinfo on December 28, 2012:

Great hub and very interesting stories. I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading. I live in the suburbs, 20 miles away from New York City, and the main reason I don't walk my dogs off leash is because of cars. So different from the things you encounter. I especially liked the story about the livestock guard dog. It shows how intelligent dogs can be, and the level of communication that goes on beyond our own comprehension. So after the kitten incident, are you still known as the house of the ferocious dogs? Thanks so much for these stories you compiled. I too, love dog stories. Voted up and interesting.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on December 17, 2012:

Sinea Pies,

Thank you for reading my hub, relating to it and voting it up. I will 'like' your FB pages soon so that I can get updates on it. Also, I will be reading your other hubs soon.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on December 17, 2012:

Hi Mary615,

Please see my comments below.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on December 17, 2012:


Thank you for such nice words as these. I really appreciate it.

I know Miniature Schnauzers are like that. There are two in my neighbourhood, who go ballistic on my giant Kuvasz boy. Besides, there is a very good book on courage of one special miniature - 'Following Atticus' by Tom Ryan. The little dog led Tom to conquering over 50 over 4000 feet high peaks of New Hampshire, including winter season.

I will definitely visit your hubs soon.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on December 16, 2012:

Love dog stories, too. I love everything "dog" much so that I just started a FB page (blog to come soon) called Puppies-Puppies! It is amazing how this guardian dog brought peace to the situation. Dogs have an inner presence that is hard to understand but it's there!

Love your dogs' names: Cinderella and Zorro. I have a dog name hub and will be adding both names to the list. :) Voted up and awesome.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 16, 2012:

I enjoyed reading this story about dogs. I'm a dog lover and have been all my life. Dogs are so intelligent: it's a shame they can't communicate more with us. Maybe they do, and we just can't understand them. My Miniature Schnauzer "talks" to me all the time. She and I understand each other well. She is very protective of me. If we are on a walk, and we encounter a big dog like a Doberman, she goes balistic! If it is a small dog, she doesn't care. I keep her halter on when we walk so I can snatch her up out of harm's way.

I've written several Hubs about my dogs when you have some time you might enjoy reading them.

I voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on August 05, 2012:


Dobermans are certainly a nice looking dog breed. Unfortunately, with everyone getting those golden and labrador retrievers and their designer offshoots, at least I don't see many of them anymore. But then it may be because of where I live, perceived to be cold part of NA.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on August 03, 2012:

Dogs are wonderful creatures, and most mean no harm. My dog adores cats, as she was around for a young one that simply loved her. Dobermans are great dogs, and I have known many of them, too. Your K2 looks beautiful. I have never known any of his breed.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on February 25, 2012:

Thank you Tillsontitan for your comment. If I had time, I would keep at least 4 dogs for accompanying me in my hiking trips. That is my dream since childhood.

Mary Craig from New York on February 24, 2012:

Nicely done Sunhail. Big dogs no matter what their breed or instincts need obedience training to make them as good as your dogs. How great to have these companions! My first favorite novel was called "Beautiful Joe" (I was about 10) about an abused dog who was saved. I already loved dogs but this hooked me deeper. Voted this hub up.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on January 17, 2012:

You are most welcome and thank you for encouraging me to continue to write. I am 100% sure that Zoe and you are in for many good adventures together. The reasons I got my Kuvasz boy are that I love dogs and that I was running out of enthusiastic hiking partners, especially in Canadian winters. As the breeder had correctly predicted, I am discovering now that my Kuvasz boy loves every bit of winter conditions. I also read non-fiction adventure books and love reading about dogs mentioned in them. Hence, this hub. On a related note, I just picked up Tom Ryan's 'Following Atticus' and am finding it to be a perfect book for adventures of humans and their best friends.

TheEpicJourney from Fairfield, Ohio on January 15, 2012:

Loved these stories!! Such good lessons learned from them also, my favorite is of that LGD and your dogs. Dog communication and intelligence to me is both baffling and fascinating :) Thank you for sharing that! One of the primary reasons I got my pup Zoe is so she can become my hiking companion. I find myself more often than not being the only one wanting to hike amongst my friends so my wife and I agreed that having a dog with me was a great idea. It is nice to find a like-minded individual! Keep writing!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 26, 2011:

Thank you Rosa for checking my article and leaving a nice comment :-)

RosaD on September 26, 2011:

Great Story Suhail.

I am glad you have been able to renew your passion for those four legged friends.

Congrats! K2 is beautiful.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 20, 2011:

You are most welcome Gloria. Please do look for more from me.

Gloria on September 19, 2011:

Very interesting story. Looking forward to read more!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 14, 2011:

Hello Mark,

Thank you for dropping by and perhaps you would also like to share a story or two about your travel adventures with your sons LOL.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 14, 2011:

Thank you Autumn for leaving nice comments. Now you know the reason why I am able to relate to your love for Dobermans :-)

Mark VS on September 13, 2011:

Great Stories Z Man!!

Your "puppy" is rather a large Dog!

Thanks for sharing

Keep up the good work


AutumnJo from WI(Formerly IL, formerly PA) on September 13, 2011:

Great stories!

All of your dogs sound like wonderful companions! I look forward to reading more of your Hubs in the future!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 12, 2011:


I haven't watched 'Eight Below', but will do so soon. I read the reviews and they look awesome. Btw, as of today, one cannot take any foreign object in Antarctic and leave it there. Dogs will certainly be not allowed :-)

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 12, 2011:


I hear you. My neighbour has an Australian shepherd. He takes her out on leash, but then just before he starts jogging, he lets her own leash in her mouth and run alongside him. That is an impressive show. I surely am going to put K2 through an obedience training program to do what you are doing with your dog. It simply makes sense to raise a responsible dog for backpacking.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 12, 2011:

Frank,thank you very much indeed for a very encouraging comment.

Effzee on September 11, 2011:

I absolutely love dogs and these stories are great. "Eight Below" is one of my all time favorite films and I will recommend it to all dog lovers out there.

DoItForHer on September 11, 2011:

I keep my dog off leash all of the time. This is part of my training method. This is something that is not for the novice, but is extremely effective for the professional.

When my dog Waffles and I go camping, I sleep with her off-leash. She keeps everything out of a 30 foot radius and would alert to and fight anything coming in. We have never had a confrontation. (Unless you count ticks.) She has a job to do and does it well. She would not be able to do her job if she was tethered. Bears, Mountain Lions, and other animals quickly learn if a dog is a threat. A tethered dog is a threat in an eight foot radius, so a bold raccoon or other wild animal would consider everything outside of that fair game. Not unlike a squirrel chittering at the end of a branch just out of reach of the neighbor's dog.

But I must emphasize that this is only for the truly responsible dog owner with a dog with the correct temperament and training. Anything else is folly and potentially inviting disaster.

Frank Kane on September 11, 2011:

What great stories, takes me back to my childhood where we had a german sheppard named Jerry a big seemingly ferocious but a gentle and friendly dog. Kept us out of harms way on more then one occasion. Dogs are truly mans best friend and us humans could really learn a thing or two from them :) Keep sharing the stories and good luck!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 11, 2011:


That was a great story. Thank you for sharing. I had posted my first hub under depression. Reason: My son and I had taken our Kuvasz pup to a local dog park earlier in the day. All dogs there are usually very friendly, except for this new husky who attacked our pup holding him by his left ear. There was pandemonium all over as another husky came forward and attacked this husky. Apparently, this husky jumped in to protect our pup and would not let the attacker approach the pup no matter how desperately he tried. Unfortunately, our pup started bleeding profusely shortly afterwards. The attacking dog and his owners left in a hurry, because they were being confronted by other owners now on our behalf. The medical treatment of our pup is another long story and we may have paid our last visit to a dog park, but all I wanted to acknowledge here is the protective behaviour of the second husky. He was absolutely protecting our boy on the basis of compassion or perhaps there was some other communication going on. That was amazing.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 11, 2011:

Thank you, ellahall. I have put them first time in writing, although I keep verbally sharing these with almost everyone. :-)

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 11, 2011:

Thank you Rvingbudgeteer for reading my first ever hub. Apparently, books do tell us that dogs can communicate in their own canine language that an average person like me won't have a clue about.

Ghost32 on September 10, 2011:

This immediately reminded me of a near-Christmas day in Havre, Montana, circa 1961.

I'd left the college dorms, which were closed to students for the holiday period, and began my hike to a downtown, bargain rate, upstairs hotel room I'd rented for a few days. The decision to go straight-line instead of looping around on the usual driving route took me through a mile or two of residential neighborhood I'd not experienced before.

It didn't take long for one deliberately threatening dog to leave its yard and begin stalking me. Then a second. And a third.

We now had a pack, bracketing me from both sides of the street and edging closer, clearly with evil on their evil little minds. This could get...interesting.

Enter the poodle. Not one of those little irritating lap-yappers, but a big, charcoal-gray-to-black standard poodle, his back coming up nearly to my waist. He left HIS yard, too...but his intent was to protect me. Period. No question about it.

The big poodle came right up to me, we communicated, and he walked directly at my side for several blocks. Not until the "mugger dogs" had shied off and returned to their miserable little lives in their miserable little home yards did my new friend depart in turn.

There were no more Evil Dogs to be seen that day.

ellahall2011 on September 10, 2011:

That were great stories. They were all interesting. Thanks for sharing.

rvingbudgeteer from Pensacola, Florida on September 10, 2011:

Great story about your dogs and the LGD seemingly being able to communicate that neither wanted a confrontation. I have raised many dogs and have seen and felt them communicating with fellow canines.

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