We have all either seen or have been told by friends and acquaintances of the occasions when an attack has taken place by an aggressive dog, only a few days ago one of my grandchildren was bitten by a neighbour’s dog who had dug a hole underneath the dividing fence of our neighbour’s garden.
As soon as the neighbour’s dog entered the garden, the uncontrolled dog headed straight to my granddaughter and attacked her, biting her in the face – altogether my granddaughter received multi biting abrasions to her face.
As we all hear on the news day in day out that many dogs are humanely destroyed because of their violent behaviour but the experts are suggesting that contrary to popular understanding dogs aggressiveness is not directly related to the in-breeding of the dog as the breeding of the dog has little influence of a dogs breeding (shown in a new study from the University of Córdoba (UCO), Spain).
Instead the dog’s aggressive behaviour they argue, is directly related to the owner-dependent factors somewhat surprising is the study also includes the dogs which are considered aggressive by nature – such as Rottweiler or the Pit Bull.
Their research findings are surprising as it states that it is the dog owners who are primarily responsible for their dog’s attacks because of reinforcing dominance or competition of their pet dogs.
The research team identified a series of external factors that are inherent to the dogs in order to better understand their aggressiveness and they have witnessed owner dependent factors have an adverse influence on the animals.
Some of the external factors which were identified was:
• 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;
• Buying a dog as a guard dog;
• Buying a dog on impulse;
• Spaying female dogs;
• Leaving the dog with constant supply of food;
• Or spending very little time with the dog; and
• Not regularly taken the dog on exercise walks.
The author suggests failure to avoid these external factors will encourage this type of aggressive behaviour and is regarded as ‘giving dogs a bad education’.
A study recently published in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances states about 40% of dominance aggression in dogs is directly caused by lack of positive authority on the part of the owner and who have never performed basic obedience training with their pet dog or who have only carried out the bare minimum training.
The Spanish study concludes ‘to correct the animal’s behaviour, the owner should be positive in handling the animal’s behaviour correctly and re-establish dominance over the dog’.
In terms of physical punishment, the author points out that this method cannot be used with all dogs given the danger involved, although it should be used to re-establish dominance over puppies and small and easily controlled dogs, however, a veterinary surgeon adds, ‘punishment should never be used as justification for treating a dog brutally, since physical punishment should be used more as a way to frighten and install dominance we have over the dog than to inflict great suffering on the animal’.
According the author, ‘dogs that are trained correctly do not normally retain aggressive dominance behaviour’.

Author's Bio: 

Worked for many years within the youth justice and youth offending teams where he was a project manager, responsible to the law courts system for diverting the post court young people from further participating in criminal activity.