such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
May 1, 2009 — Many dogs are put down or
abandoned due to their violent nature, but contrary to popular belief,
breed has little to do with a dog's aggressive behaviour compared to
all the owner-dependant factors. This is shown in a new study from the
University of Córdoba, which includes breeds that are considered
aggressive by nature, such as the Rottweiler or the Pit Bull.
The conclusions, however, are surprising: it is the owners who are
primarily responsible for attacks due to dominance or competition of
The research team from the University of Córdoba (UCO) has
determined a series of external factors which are inherent to the dogs
in order to understand their aggressiveness, and they have observed
that external, modifiable and owner-dependent factors have a greater
influence on the animals.
According to Joaquín Pérez-Guisado, the main author of the study and
a researcher from the UCO, some of the factors that cause
aggressiveness in dogs are: first-time dog ownership; failure to
subject the dog to basic obedience training; spoiling or pampering the
dog; not using physical punishment when it is required; buying a dog as
a present, as a guard dog or on impulse; spaying female dogs; leaving
the dog with a constant supply of food, or spending very little time
with the dog in general and on its walks.
"Failure to observe all of these modifiable factors will encourage
this type of aggressiveness and would conform to what we would
colloquially call 'giving our dog a bad education'", Pérez-Guisado
explains to SINC.
The study, which has recently been published in the Journal of
Animal and Veterinary Advances, is based on the following fact:
approximately 40% of dominance aggression in dogs is associated with a
lack of authority on the part of the owners who have never performed
basic obedience training with their pets or who have only carried out
the bare minimum of training.
Breed has less influence on aggressiveness
The Spanish researchers studied 711 dogs (354 males and 357 females)
of which 594 were purebred and 117 were half-breed dogs older than one
year of age. Among the breeds observed were the Bull Terrier, the
American Pit Bull Terrier, the Alsatian, the Boxer, the Rottweiler, the
Doberman, as well as apparently more docile breeds such as the
Dalmatian, the Irish Setter, the Golden Retriever, the Labrador
Retriever, the Miniature Poodle, the Chihuahua, the Pekinese, or the
French Bulldog, which also exhibit dominant behaviour.
According to Pérez-Guisado, certain breeds, male sex, a small size,
or an age of between 5-7 years old are "the dog-dependent factors
associated with greater dominance aggression". Nevertheless, these
factors have "minimal effect" on whether the dog behaves aggressively.
Factors linked to the owner's actions are more influential.
To correct the animal's behaviour, the owner should handle it
appropriately and "re-establish dominance over the dog", the researcher
adds. In terms of physical punishment, Pérez-Guisado points out that
"this method cannot be used with all dogs given the danger involved,
although it could be used to re-establish dominance over puppies or
small and easy-to-control dogs". However, "it should never be used as
justification for treating a dog brutally, since physical punishment
should be used more as a way to frighten and demonstrate the dominance
we have over the dog than to inflict great suffering on the animal",
the vet states.
According to the researcher, "dogs that are trained properly do not
normally retain aggressive dominance behaviour". Pérez-Guisado
attributes this "exceptional" conduct to the existence of some medical
or organic problem, "which can cause changes in the dog's behaviour".
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