Sunday, 12 April 2009

Nervous aggressive dog behaviour.

Nervous aggressive behaviour.

This is usually the result of a dog that has had insufficient socialisation in its formative months and years, and/or a negative event with another dog. This can happen on a number of occasions, leading to an even more fearful dog as time progresses. Some dogs seem to have a demeanour that attract other dogs, and for some of those dogs to attack it. I suspect that dogs attack a fear-based output from some fearful dogs, and this then leads to a more ingrained behaviour on the attacked dog’s part. The dog can then adopt an ‘offence is the best form of defence’ approach. Once it learns that this results in other dogs moving away with an owner that naturally wouldn’t want to become involved, the dog again learns the value of such behaviour and perpetuates it more and more with great effect.

Fear based aggression is (as I see it) a relatively modern phenomenon, and reflects back upon our more insular lifestyles and lack of time available to pay proper attention to the socialisation process. With less and less time to address areas of training and socialisation the strain is showing in our dog population.
It is not unusual to see figures quoted that 80-90% of dog to dog aggression (indeed dog to people with strangers) is a fear based behaviour. I can well believe these figures, and they are borne out in my own experience.

I have for some time described fear based aggression as being virus-like in its manner of spreading from one dog to another, with each newly attacked dog going on to become sensitised (depending on the dog’s nature and owner’s level of control) and displaying similar behaviour towards other dogs.

Many owners with young pups fall into the trap of not giving full and correct control when in the park and are unable to recall the dog prior to allowing it to run freely in the local park. This is rather like allowing the dog into the snake pit, with a number of other dogs near by that are unknown as a quantity, and that may pass this ‘virus’ onto the young dog. Developing a sound leader based relationship; a strong recall combined with a long line is certainly far sounder than the practices of many unthinking (albeit well intended) new dog owners that simply allow the dog to run freely from day 1.

1 comment:

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