Archive for the ‘Aggression’ Category

Territorial Aggression

Gemma | June 13th, 2010
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Why Do Dogs Display Such Aggression Over Territory?

All dogs have one form of aggression or another and to some degree, it is perfectly natural. However, since our pets are domesticated then there is a certain level of calmness that we should expect from them. The most common aggression behavioral problem that dogs display is called “territorial aggression”. To sum up the definition of territorial aggression, it simply describes a dog that goes absolutely crazy whenever a stranger approaches their home.

Why does a dog display such aggressiveness? What sets a dog off?

As we stated earlier, it is natural for your dog to want to defend his home and make it known that the area is his territory. However, the following scenarios may cause your dog’s aggression over his territory to escalate:

1. Aggression is reinforced in a dog whenever, for example, a delivery person approaches the house and then after dropping off a package he leaves the territory. Your dog actually thinks that he drove the stranger away and this in itself creates more aggression.

2. When riding in a car, a dog with extreme territorial aggression tends to bark incessantly at every person he sees and every moving thing outside the window. He is saying to them “stay away, this is my territory!” And of course nobody is going to approach the car so your dog actually thinks he is “winning”. Therefore, the dog will bark even lower to celebrate his victory.

3. Another very common reason why a dog may increase his levels of barking and aggression is whenever he is acting up and barking at the door (for whatever reason) and the owner starts to yell at him in order to shut him up. Most dog owners do not realize that yelling at their dog is doing nothing but creating more aggression. A dog will think that you are “supporting” his aggression towards the approaching stranger or delivery person.

4. A fourth reason why a dog may have heightened levels of territorial aggression is whenever he is isolated or locked up when there are guests and strangers inside the house. When you first think about it, it seems very reasonable to take your barking dog and lock him up in a room or crate whenever you have guests. However, during this time, your dog can smell the “intruders” and since he can do nothing about it, is aggression levels can rise dramatically, causing stress and anxiety, which of course leads to more behavioral problems.

Signs of Fear/Aggression

Predicting Temperament – Part 2

Kate | September 17th, 2008
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A good rule of thumb for predicting temperament is to take a look at the mother, and if possible, the father of a litter.

Having ruled out that factor, you can draw on the research which has been done by the experts.

Just recently there was an article which described methods of selecting puppies for guide dogs for the blind.

The tests used proved to be almost 95% accurate! And you don’t have to be one of the experts to try the simple tests.

How You Can Easily Select A Puppy With The Best Temperament Of The Litter

When observing a puppy away from its mother and littermates, testers look for the following:

1. The puppy should move at ease in its pen.
2. He should move freely and look calmly from its pen at the tester, and any other situations.
3. It should be friendly and respond to the tester’s encouragement.
4. It should not be upset by strange people, places, or things.
5. The pup should persevere in any project it undertakes.
6. It should also be willing to do what the tester wants, and show pleasure while doing it.

Bad qualities are revealed in the opposites of the above list: the puppy is nervous in new situations, refuses to move from where it is placed. It is indifferent to new situations and people and unfriendly with the tester. Its responses are not dependable; it acts one way one time and another way another time, in the same situation. It quits trying after one or two attempts at something. And if it is upset by strangers, the puppy is obstinate or refuses to do with the tester wants.

Maintaining A Good Temperament Throughout Your Dog’s Life

Research is placing more and more emphasis on the early weeks and months of a dog’s life. Trainers are beginning to work with dogs at earlier ages than they did formally. Research also indicates that a dog’s temperament is not just a matter of good or bad, it probably varies along a continuum, as does humans, and as a result of many variables. A dog with one or two neurotic traits may be unsatisfactory.

Once you have chosen a dog with a good temperament, make sure you don’t ruin him by poor handling. It helps if you can give him some obedience training. There are books to help you with this job, online dog training DVDs you can order, as well as local obedience classes that offer one-on-one instruction. Even if your dog never achieves any degree as a companion dog, the experience will help you in your handling of him and particularly in disciplining him.

Final Tip: Unless you happen to be an expert on training, don’t try to make your family pet into an attack dog. You don’t need an aggressive dog to scare off burglars. They tend to pass up houses with any sort of dog on the premises. Most dogs, even the gentlest, are protective when the need arises. And do not let your children encourage aggressiveness with too much rough play. Sometimes it gets out of hand and a dog will bite out of innocent excitement.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

Predicting Temperament – Part 1

Kate | September 15th, 2008
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Nobody wants a dog with a bad disposition. It’s not much fun to own a dog which is not people-oriented either. Out of sentiment, people will keep unsatisfactory dogs because they cannot bring themselves to part with them. Others pass such dogs around, and as they go from home to home, dispositions get worse, and loyalties further confused.

The best hope for any prospective dog owner is the prevention of trouble by choosing the right dog. We assume that this prospective owner has already realized that he is taking on a living creature for what may be a decade or more of his life, and he will spend thousands of dollars on food and care, and that he will be liable under the law for any damage this animal does to humans or to property.

People often ask if it is not unfair to a dog to keep him in the city, in small quarters, confined to a leash outside, or left in the house while the owner goes to work. But in reality, the most unfair thing that you can do to a dog is to take him on when you’re not prepared to keep him for a lifetime, and to face up to all of the inconveniences that will go along with owning a dog.

Where Does A Bad Temperament Come From?

We know that dogs tend to inherit the temperament of their parents. We also know that there are certain inbred characteristics affecting temperament which are the result of the selective breeding that has produced a group of purebred dogs.

The early environment of the newborn puppy, particularly in the critical weeks when he’s looking away from his mother and his siblings to the humans around him, can provide a healthy period of socialization. On the other hand, this critical period can also be the spark which starts illness, an accident, or psychic trauma that can affect the puppy’s temperament in a very negative way. In addition, you, his new owner, can be a bad influence on what might have started out as a pleasant dog.

Most Dog Buyers Are Not Educated Enough To Properly Choose A Dog

The average dog buyer is looking for a companion for the family, particularly for the children. Unfortunately, most people do not know what to look for when it comes to temperament. And the temperament of a dog is the number one overriding vital consideration in choosing one. A nervous dog makes an unsatisfactory companion for children under almost any circumstances, and one that is moody is potentially dangerous.

Some people prefer dogs of mixed breeding and assume that they will always have more stable temperaments. This is not true. There was a tragic attack a few years back where a mixed Chow-Spitz killed a young child. The dog had been passed on to the family after having a history of killing small animals and giving other indications of poor temperament. This alone should make you think twice about taking on a dog which has not worked out in someone else’s family.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2