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Aggression Behavior

Aggression in dogs is the most serious behavior problem that pet owners must deal with it is a complex behavior because of the many factor that come into play when determining its course .

What are the causes and how to control this behavior?  

Genetic and hereditary factors play a major role in aggression. Working breeds such as Dobermans, German shepherds and Rottweilers are expected to be more aggressive than Golden Retriever and Labradors.  Usually , it’s just the Breeder’s choice that can influence the aggression factor in the coming litters. Responsible breeders know what they can do to control aggression.  On the other hand, novice breeders here in Egypt try to promote aggression, confusing it for fighting drive (a balance strong temperament equality needed to have a good guard dog).  

Inbreeding can create unstable temperaments,  which can contribute to aggressive tendencies. Breeders in Egypt, due to limited resources tend to inbreed,  which results in aggressive or extremely timid dogs.  

Environment  lack of socialization, excessive punishment,  being spoiled or given too much unwarranted praise by owners, being  isolated from human contact or being exposed to frequent teasing can also influence aggression. At EASTWIND we meet dog owners who complain about their dogs showing aggression towards them when they try to take away anything from the dog. Clearly, there is an issue of alpha role in the house, and it’s obviously not assumed by the owner. 

Dogs have a pack order that determines their social rank,  a pack order that is established and maintained by body language.  Some dogs occupy dominant or alpha status, and some have low rank.  When dogs live with people, they look at humans as members of the pack and try to establish their place in the social order by challenging the more submissive family members,  particularly the children. If dogs display a dominant gesture such as growling while guarding the food dish and they are not corrected for this behavior, they have established a bit of dominance to build on with any or all family members. If these dominant gestures remain uncorrected, the dog slowly but surely gains in status over one or all family members. The subtle sign of dominance usually goes unnoticed or are explained away until the dog bites the human for infringement on his alpha position.The owner misunderstands the progression of behaviors and blames the dog for biting “for no reason “ actually their owners misunderstood the development of aggressive behavior. 

Type of Aggression 

There are several types of aggression: defensive aggression induced by fear, pain, punishment, dominant, possessive, territorial, predatory or parental behavior.  A dog may exhibit more than one type of aggression at a time in different situations, depending on the behavior stimulant . 

Dominant -aggressive dogs are confident, macho, and they stand tall, with their ears up and forward.  They carry their tails high and wag it slowly stiffly from side to side . Dominant -aggressive dogs are demanding of attention and excessive affection.  Many of these dogs will not obey commands, especially submissive commands (such as down ). If encountered by one of these macho males, don’t pull their trigger and avoid any direct eye contact. They will rise to the challenge, and they will be at you before you know it.Defensive aggressive dogs display submissive body language (ears back, often flat against the head; avoidance of direct eye contact; lowering of the head and body; tucking tail between the leg; submissive urination ) and they lick hands and roll over to expose their bellies . They resist handling, hate to have their feet touched, don’t like to be groomed, and often shy away from human hands . These are the fear biters ; they may snap if cornered and will often bite at people who turned and walk away . 

Preventing aggression 

The primary goal is simple never allow any dog to achieve dominant status over any adult or child. If the dog always knows their social ranking and is never allowed to challenge people, they will usually be good family members. 

How  to Avoid Dog Attacks

Do not run when confronted with a threatening dog. Running only stimulates the dog to increase its aggression. 

Hold your ground and demonstrate moderate dominance by telling the dog firm firmly no. It usually works wonders. 

Avoid direct eye contact, which the dog interprets as a challenge. Instead appear nonchalant. 

When the dog begins to back away, slowly retreat also, keeping the dog in view, but without paying attention much attention to it. If the dog begins to come back, stop and wait until it move off again. Don’t turn your back on the barking animal.

As a last resort, throw or pretend to throw an object at an aggressive dog. If attacked, “feed” the dog your jacket, bike ,purse , book to distract it.

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