When one says "hunt _____ like a dog"....

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  1. ThompsonPen profile image65
    ThompsonPenposted 11 years ago

    When one says "hunt _____ like a dog"....

    Does that refer to the dog doing the hunting, or is it as one would hunt a dog?

  2. mattforte profile image88
    mattforteposted 11 years ago

    Wow, I never really thought of that - which means my head just exploded....kind of like when I found out how monkeys open bananas.

    That said, thinking about it -- on first thought it seems as if you are calling them a dog and you will hunt them down, which doesn't make much sense since it isn't exactly commonplace to hunt dogs.
    Which leaves us to the former - the dog doing the hunting. I think it is referring to how dogs lose interest in anything but finding their target once they find a scent. (I owned a Bassett once, they are *incredibly* stubborn when they smell something they want to track down)
    I've heard stories of bloodhounds that will catch a scent, then the owners get phonecalls from hundreds of miles away, over mountain passes because the dog chased them *that far* before being found. So, I believe the phrase should be detailed "I will hunt you down like a dog hunts down its prey."

    1. coleikerd profile image81
      coleikerdposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good call.

  3. coleikerd profile image81
    coleikerdposted 11 years ago

    I don't believe I've ever heard this expression. Oh... like "Hunt you down like a dog!" I get it. Pay no attention to the... nevermind.

    I've always had the impression that it means hunting one down like one would hunt a dog. But then, I grew up in strange places.

    Doing a bit of a Google search, I'm reminded the etymology of the phrase could be extensive. "Hunt you down like a mad dog" could be the origin, referring to a dog with rabies. Wild dogs are quite slippery, a rabid one would be quite difficult to catch, and there is only one result expected.

    But giving it some serious thought, I suspect it's origin leans more toward hunting someone down like a dog would hunt them down. Dogs have been used for hunting for ages. And when a good hunting dog catches a sent, they are relentless in finding their prey. "I'll hunt you down like a dog!" (Relentlessly, and until I catch you.)

    1. somethgblue profile image72
      somethgblueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I believe the word relentless would then some up the description, perhaps even tireless, just as horses will do, a dog will literally run itself to death, such is their loyalty and commitment of purpose.

    2. coleikerd profile image81
      coleikerdposted 11 years agoin reply to this


  4. prektjr.dc profile image74
    prektjr.dcposted 11 years ago

    Hunting dogs are single-minded and persistent when focused on their prey.  If one were to say, for example, "hunt you down like a dog".... Then the dog would be doing the hunting and they would be following the dog's example of persistence and tenacity.  If it were another word that would resemble an "aromatic bodily waste", then I believe it would be referring to the dog doing the persistent hunting yet again.  Therefore, my opinion is the dog is the one hunting.  The phrase is using the metaphor of the dog to drive home the point.

  5. DDE profile image46
    DDEposted 11 years ago

    Dogs hunt down their prey in an aggressive way and so it would be the same if one had to hunt down another person.

  6. barbat79 profile image63
    barbat79posted 11 years ago

    Both, in a sense.  It is an analogy between a dogs strong drive and vicious urge and a human who should take on those qualities to succeed in their "hunt".  It is to convey the need for the type of behavior and instincts in a dog, for a man/woman to use to achieve desired results.

  7. somethgblue profile image72
    somethgblueposted 11 years ago

    The only logically reason to leave a word out or leave a blank there would be, because it is a cuss word. However since I can't figure out one cuss word that makes any sense inserted in that space, then the whole question doesn't make any sense.

    If the question was 'hunt you down like a dog' then that would be two words and of course would require two blank spaces. However since there is no logically reason to leave any words out then I can only assume that your question is a desperate cry for attention.

    1. ThompsonPen profile image65
      ThompsonPenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      ...it was non specific. "hunt you", "hunt him", "hunt them".....no cussing, not attention crying, thank you

    2. mattforte profile image88
      mattforteposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Once again you make no sense.
      "Hunt you down like a dog"
      "Hunt you like a dog"
      "Hunt them like a dog"
      "Hunt him like a dog"
      "Hunt her like a dog"

      It was a good question...and your answer provides nothing but a desperate cry for attention.

    3. coleikerd profile image81
      coleikerdposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      *Does his best Spock voice* Your logic was... imperfect.

      (THAT may have been a cry for attention.)

    4. somethgblue profile image72
      somethgblueposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Based on the available information, it is illogical Captain!

    5. coleikerd profile image81
      coleikerdposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I had a similar thought when I first read it. Then I realized what the saying was. You'll see the confusion in my answer.

      Once it fell into place, I realized the communication error was simply an error. smile

  8. W. K. Hayes profile image86
    W. K. Hayesposted 11 years ago

    Here's my first thought...Hunt love like a dog...

  9. Philanthropy2012 profile image82
    Philanthropy2012posted 11 years ago

    The dog does the hunting.

    That's apparent in the fact that we don't historically hunt dogs? Not many things hunt dogs in fact haha.

    Although I do see the confusion because there are other phrases like 'he was caged up like a dog' and 'he was treated like a dog' where the dog is the comparison.

  10. SidKemp profile image85
    SidKempposted 11 years ago

    When I hear the phrase, both images come to mind. I suspect that it would be hard or impossible to determine the original usage - dog as hunter or dog as hunted.

    I see the peristence of the hunting dog as tracker and the determination of the hunting dog who corners its prey for the kill. Yet I also see the man being spoken to cornered and cowering like a trapped dog.

    I think that MattForte does a very good job describing the intensity of the dog as hunter. I would add only that there is a wonderful depiction of this in literature where, in The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes uses a hound to track a culprit all across London.

    On the other hand, there are many reasons to hunt dogs, as strange as that may seem today. Not only do dogs go rabid, but, in times of hunger, they form feral packs that attack livestock and threaten children. And, as dogs are normally seen as loyal, betrayal by a dog hurts deeply, and leads to a desire for revenge. So the image of hunting someone, especially a former friend, down like a dog, cornering him, and killing him is a very powerful metaphor.

    These days, I suspect, even the speaker may not know which image - dog as hunter, or dog as hunted - he is evoking. That is the nature of a cliche - the words remain, but the imagery is lost.

    Thanks for the intriguing question, and thanks to MattForte and ColeIKerd and others for intriguing answers.

  11. Ericdierker profile image46
    Ericdierkerposted 11 years ago

    Interesting question. I can relate that I have used it and meant it and accomplished it. If I tell you that I will hunt you down like a dog: You had better commence to fighting, because sooner or later I will catch you and then bite you mightily.

    A real hunting/tracking dog, must be restrained by his handler or he will run himself to death going after the target. They are that relentless,, left on their own only death or victory will stop them.

    No one would hunt a dog, you call dogs. Even those sad lost doggy signs indicate a lack of ability to hunt a dog.

    If someone capable has said this to you, get help.

  12. alancaster149 profile image76
    alancaster149posted 11 years ago

    'Hunt - like a dog' means exactly that.
    You could also write it as 'Hunt, like a dog'.
    There's two ways of doing that -
    1. Running down your quarry (although not literally, I shouldn't think) like beagles or fox hounds etc;
    2. Sniffing out your quarry (this is the 'gumshoe' quality, like Sam Spade) like a bloodhound.

  13. profile image53
    Mike Johnson22posted 10 years ago

    Okay, I found this on another site -- this guy found some good references showing that it's the dog being hunted, not doing the hunting, but the origin remains hazy --

    "Wait! Don't accept that half-assed Googling as research. Here are some true citations. Also, smackfu's reading is wrong: the person being hunted is treated as a dog. The hunter is not hunting like a dog. Think of a rabid animal, perhaps, or one that has taken to killing chickens as a habit, and so must be killed. Dogs, though much loved as pets by some, have often been (and still are) treated as nuisances, low creatures, and something not worth attaching a lot of sentimentality to. I've included some citations for "like the dog you are" to illustrate this point.

    23 May 1878 Indiana (Pa.) Progress "A Close Shave", p. 2: "A man will come after me who will hunt you down like the cowardly dogs you are. He will never rest until you are driven out of the country."

    28 Feb. 1896 Newark (Ohio) Daily Advocate "A Creole Romance" p. 3: "It is you who who have disgraced her and ruined their home. Old Dominique Farge will kill you. He has sworn to hunt you down like a dog."

    4 Apr. 1905 Elyria (Ohio) Evening Telegram "Woman Threatened To Kill N.Y. Lawyer Is In Charge In Letter" p. 4: "I tell you with malice and premeditation that unless you do, I will come to New York and disgrace you publicly first, then shoot you like the dog you are."

    5 Apr. 1929 (Lincoln, Neb.) Evening State Journal "Beau Ideal" p. 14: "You [...] have taken French gold and would use it to bribe a servant of France [...] if I live, I will command the firing party that shall shoot you like the dog you are."

    4 Aug. 1929 Los Angeles Times "The Wandering Gentile" p. F8: "Try any of that sort of vileness in my district, Savaran, and, in spite of all I owe you, I'll hunt you down like a dog."
    posted by Mo Nickels at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2005"

    Hope it helps.


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