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IDProjectCategoryView StatusDate SubmittedLast Update
0007541Dwarf FortressCreaturespublic2014-07-21 08:472021-08-25 04:31
Assigned ToFootkerchief 
PrioritylowSeverityminorReproducibilityhave not tried
PlatformOSWindowsOS Version
Product Version0.40.04 
Target VersionFixed in Version 
Summary0007541: Dogs only scratch instead of biting
DescriptionA dog fought a giant flying squirrel in my fortress recently. When I took a look at the report, there were 4 pages of head-scratching (secondary attack) but no single bite (main attack).
Steps To ReproduceLook at dog combat reports in Fortress Mode I guess.
TagsNo tags attached.
Attached Files

- Relationships
has duplicate 0008703resolvedFootkerchief War Dogs never bite in combat, just scratch. 
related to 0007519resolvedToady One Sparring dwarves only wrestle 
related to 0009977new Cave and Saltwater Crocs (and probably every other tame animal.) refuse to hurt enemies further, after they damage their legs. 

-  Notes
AVK (reporter)
2014-07-21 10:23

I've noticed this too. Got one of my dogs killed when he couldn't scratch past the skin of a rattlesnake.
smjjames (reporter)
2014-07-21 10:33

Might be related to the bug where people weren't using their primary weapon and punching most of the time instead, which Toady One fixed in 40.04
thvaz (reporter)
2014-07-21 11:04

I think it is something skill related. The dogs may have Strike higher than their Biter skill, so they prefer the attack in which they have more skill.
smjjames (reporter)
2014-07-30 07:42

What about wild animals? I have a save with it. It's night, so I can't see it directly, but it's on the other side of the river and close enough for me to get combat reports. [^]
UristMcWhatever (reporter)
2014-12-15 10:17

It works fine for most animals appereantly, but dogs do NOTHING but scratching, at least on the 8 pages of combatlogs against a downed target I examined. They are not exactly efficient, as you could guess...
clanl (reporter)
2015-09-17 06:26

After seeing a combat log of dogs biting I tested it myself in the arena:

10 out of 10 dogs without any skills always bite.
10 out of 10 dogs with skills in striking, kicking, and fighting but _NOT_ biting still always bite.
I suppose this can be closed.
Larix2 (reporter)
2015-09-17 12:28

I'm afraid arena combat has no bearing, we need fort-mode data:

the "conflict level" determines which attacks are used. I ran a quick test with dogs vs. horses and later lions vs. rhinoceroses. At "no quarter" and "lethal", dogs used biting (almost exclusively), at "non-lethal", "brawl" and "horseplay", dogs and lions only used scratching to attack, with no exception.

Looking through fort-mode combat logs, i quickly found a fight between a tame cougar and a grey langur. Only five or so attacks in that fight landed, but all of them (on both sides) were scratches.

Looks like the bug still exists in 0.40.24.
It might be worth checking what kinds of opponents dogs use scratching or biting against. It may be that fights between tame animals and surface wildlife never escalate to "lethal" conflict.

PS: skills don't come into it at all - dogs have no skills and learn no skills.
Witty (reporter)
2015-09-17 13:08

Yep, this is definitely some bug related to lethality levels. Skills, however, do play a major part in this bug from what I've seen. Although dogs don't use skills themselves, their bite attack still uses the BITE skill. If you remove that from the dog's bite attack - they'll bite away at non-lethal levels of fighting and lower (although the intensity at which they fight seems to die down as the lethality decreases).

My guess is that skills are tied with certain levels of combat - and biting is considered a lethal attack. Chances are encounters with different scenarios (war animal vs wildlife, invader, hostile creature, etc.) are at different levels of lethality, and cause the dogs to not use their bite attack.
Fawnek (reporter)
2016-08-16 15:44
edited on: 2016-08-16 15:45

after some research in my own fort, War dogs when attacking wildlife will result in scratching. however hunting dogs attacking wildlife will literally rip their guts out. [^] , it seems that only hunting dogs will actually use their main attack on wildlife.

FantasticDorf (reporter)
2017-11-25 02:42

Hunting dogs technically do not have to adhere to [KILL_NEUTRAL:ONLY_IF_SANCTIONED] that non-military dwarves enacting self defence vs large predators targeting them do since hunting overrides it and allows lethal attacks.

Relevant to 0010059 where wild animals & tame animals (including semi-sentients) all adhere to site ethic rules. Wild animals on 'Acceptable' or 'Required' site kill neutral ethics use lethal attacks fine.
Krougal (reporter)
2021-08-25 04:31

Still persists in 47.05

- Issue History
Date Modified Username Field Change
2014-07-21 08:47 UristMcWhatever New Issue
2014-07-21 09:12 Knight Otu Relationship added related to 0007519
2014-07-21 10:23 AVK Note Added: 0027146
2014-07-21 10:33 smjjames Note Added: 0027147
2014-07-21 11:04 thvaz Note Added: 0027148
2014-07-30 07:42 smjjames Note Added: 0027946
2014-12-15 10:17 UristMcWhatever Note Added: 0031331
2015-01-07 08:11 Footkerchief Summary Creatures dont use main attack (seen with dogs) => Dogs only scratch instead of biting
2015-01-07 08:11 Footkerchief Relationship added has duplicate 0008703
2015-01-07 08:11 Footkerchief Assigned To => Footkerchief
2015-01-07 08:11 Footkerchief Status new => confirmed
2015-09-17 06:26 clanl Note Added: 0033054
2015-09-17 12:28 Larix2 Note Added: 0033055
2015-09-17 13:08 Witty Note Added: 0033056
2016-08-16 15:44 Fawnek Note Added: 0035792
2016-08-16 15:45 Fawnek Note Edited: 0035792 View Revisions
2017-08-30 06:55 Loci Relationship added related to 0009977
2017-11-25 02:42 FantasticDorf Note Added: 0036980
2017-11-26 14:09 Button Issue Monitored: Button
2021-08-25 04:31 Krougal Note Added: 0041139

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