Are Dogs Naturally Aggressive

Are Dogs Naturally Aggressive

It's a debate that rages on: are man's best friends misunderstood animals, unfairly labelledas belligerent beasts, or do these canines let their naturally aggressive temperament takeover? In other words, are dogs naturally aggressive?

Which Behaviours Indicate Aggression?

There are a variety of behaviours that aggression covers and, equally, many reasons foraggressive behaviour. Contrary to popular belief, aggression isn't always caused by thedesire to hurt someone or something; in many cases, aggression can be caused by fear, stress or frustration. Other causes of hostility may lie in a traumatic experience, lack of training and bad breedingpractices or little to no socialisation at a young age. As with humans, it can come down to the nature vs nurture debate: there's no concreteevidence that dogs have an aggressive predisposition or for whether external factors andbad dog owners cause some to be more aggressive than other pets. Certain signs indicate whether a particular dog has some aggressive characteristics, or isabout to behave aggressively; spot them early enough and you may be able to stop anaggressive attack.

Signs to Look out For

Contrary to what's portrayed in the media, biting is not the only form of aggressivebehaviour that should be looked out for; it's important that you're aware of what's normalfor your dog. Dogs can show aggression in a variety of ways, so what do you look out for?Is your dog being aggressive or just showing a lot of personality?Much like in humans, aggression can be brought on by a range of emotions. If you suspect your dog is aggressive, there are ways to rectify their behaviour in acontrolled and safe manner, without having to punish them.

What to Do If You Have an Aggressive Dog

Aggression is an instinctive reaction - one that, like in most humans, is hard to change. However, all is not lost, and there are ways you can work on aggression and look atinvesting more time in training so your dog can learn what's right and wrong, much like witha naughty toddler. Punishing the dog into submission is not the answer. This can release a fight-or- flightresponse and the dog can either respond more aggressively or begin to feel fearful, which isunnatural for most canines. >Initially, try to ascertain if there are any recurring circumstances in which the dog'saggression occurs, then stop anything that contributes to the recurring negative patterns. But if there doesn't seem to be a correlation, take a visit to your veterinarian to ensure thatthere are no physical conditions that could be causing your canine to be acting in this way. Much like humans, our dogs can simply become grouchy when irritated or poorly. If the vet can rule out any physical reason why your dog may be acting up, you should nextvisit a behaviourist. The behaviourist can work with your dog to teach them acceptable waysof acting. How long this will take depends on your dog, but patience will be a virtue. No matter how serious the aggressive behaviour gets, improvements can always be madethrough correct management, whether that means working with a behaviourist or veterinaryor training your dog yourself. Always remember that it's extremely difficult to generalise a dog's temperament basedsolely on their breed. It's important to treat each aggressive dog on a case-by- case basis asit's so hard to identify the dominant factor in why dogs become aggressive.

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