This forum is all about training and behavior. Everything from potty training to working titles!

Postby cheekymunkee » November 30th, 2006, 1:17 pm

what do you guys think about this?

We can even train your dog!

"Aggressiveness" is as an inclination to display a hostile behavior whose goal is the attacker's increase and the attacked's decrease in power and which is usually manifested as a reaction against an actual or apparent threat to one's own power.

"Aggression" is defined, in its literal meaning, as the act of aggressing or assaulting. Aggressiveness does not always results in aggression.

By the term "aggressiveness" we mean the motivational factors which predispose to aggressive action whereas the word "aggression" concerns those manifestations of threat, anger and possibly attack upon an animal of the same species or of a different species or even upon any kind of object.

Serious Aggression or Aggressiveness?

We help people to keep their dogs!

Aggressiveness is not therefore insomuch a measurable entity but a conceptual term used in ethology to describe the direct causes within the individual, that is to say the neural, neurochemical and physiological substrates which, in response to certain environmental stimuli, start up or inhibit motivation to attack an animal of the same species or of a different species.

The only way of measuring an individual's level of aggressiveness is the evaluation of aggressive actions manifested by the individual in different situations. Posture, vocalization and mouth attitude are telling indicators.

Dog aggressiveness, as well as the aggressiveness of other animal species and man, might not always be held as noxious and undesirable. On the contrary, aggressiveness is the most refined and sublime expression of that complicated mechanism which regulates the preservation of a species. Aggression can be, in a particular context, a suitable response, as in the case of a dog defending its own master against a robber o from any kind of danger by growling, snarling, showing teeth or even biting.

Dog Aggressiveness Towards Humans

Don't listen to people who tell you that you need to kill your dog.
Food-Bribery trainers are usually can't get anywhere with difficult dogs.

Aggressiveness towards human beings certainly represents the most relevant aspect of this behaviour problem in dogs, both with reference to the scope of the phenomenon and to its socioeconomic implications. It is enough to say that just in the United States about 10 traumatic deaths from dogs attacks per annum are recorded, and that most of the victims are children); moreover the 50% of attacks victims ensue permanent scars of aesthetic and/or functional consequence, while the 30% of cases result in absence from work or school.

Dog owners rarely ask a veterinarian's advice about the breed of the dog they want to buy or about its possibile aggressiveness; on the other hand the veterinarian himself seldom spontaneously give information about the matter on his medical examination of the puppy.

The cause of aggression in dogs may depend on several reasons that include bad social relationships, fear, territoriality, dominance, jealousy and also overfeeding. Dogs can recognize human gesticulatory code which can be related to signals of dominance and represent a menace to the dog. Dominance aggression is generally manifested towards people the dog knows very well and often belong to the closest circle of the family. The aggression, whose scenario is usually represented by the dog's dwelling's vicinity, can express important components of territoriality. On the contrary, a stray dog is usually afraid of human beings and is rarely aggressive.


An inquiry held by the "American Pet Food Institute" pointed out that the 38% of the American families owns a dog; the N.A.C.S. reports that medical costs related to dog bites is second only to the medical costs for sexually transmitted desease.

Among cases of animal bites in human beings, dogs occupy a preeminent place. In the United States, over a canine population of 55 million individuals, the "Humane Society of the United States" reports an annual average of about 3 million dog bites, with a climax of 4.7 million in 1995.

In the city of St. Louis 396 people over a population of 100 thousand are annually attacked by a, while in Norfolk (Virginia) the average is 274 attacked people every 100 thousand inhabitants every year (1973).

In Australia, from January 1990 to June 1993, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide treated 356 victims of dog bites, while during 1992, 3093 cases were registered. In Adelaide, 6500 people on the whole undergo dog attacks every year and 810 of them usually need to be treated in hospital. This means that every year 7.3 over 10 thousand inhabitants of Adelaide undergo major trauma which cannot be treated in surgery.

In the Netherlands the "Foundation for Consumption and Safety" reports that, with a canine population of one million 700 thousand individuals, annually seek medical care for dog bites.

In Italy, there are about 40 thousand incidents every year, with about 16 fatal incidents between 1985 and 1993, four of which concerned children between 5 and 9 years old.

These figures suggest the urgent need to detect specific operative strategies in order to reduce the problem's incidence to an acceptable number of traumatic events.

Characteristics of the Aggressive Dog

Believe It Or Not.

Euthanasia is the #1 killer of dogs.

Almost always when you see a well-trained dog, it was trained at the owner's home. If you want your dog to be well-trained at your home or anywhere else, you need to train your dog at home.

Concerning dog aggression towards human beings, it is quite difficult to detect precise information about dog breeds. There are several reasons for this. One important reason is the diverse geographical distribution of the various breeds. Nevertheless, it must be said that in an inquiry about the most popular dog breeds in the United States, held comparatively with a similar enquiry in the United Kingdom.

Researchers noticed that of the 56 dog breeds they had been studying, 36 corresponded to the same breeds in Britain, and 24 of them, showed comparatively similar qualities in terms of aggressiveness and in the frequency of attacks towards people.

A second reason is the fact that registrations are often incomplete or inconclusive; in fact, only the 29.1% of owned dogs are regularly registered. Also to consider is the extreme mutability in popularity of certain dog breeds in time: the most dangerous breed now is undoubtedly very different from the same one in future days.

It has been previously hinted at the possibility of dividing dog breeds in categories on the basis of their tendency to aggressiveness. Data in literature suggest that dogs whose breeds have been ascertained as among the most aggressive ones are those most frequently responsible for attacking people.

Characteristics of the Victims

One of the first elements which has to be taken into consideration is the age of the victim. All case histories agree in recognizing that children are more violently attacked.

Children under 10 are those most frequently involved in dog attacks, with an average percentage of 48.2% to 48.9%.

Children between 5 and 9 years old result to be the victims of dog attacks in a percentage swinging between 24.3% and 30.5% depending on single cases.

-On the Arizona Navajo Reserve, 42.1% of children under 10 undergo dog bites, even though they represent only a 26.4% of the whole population.

-In StLouis children only represent the 8% of the population; nevertheless 27.4.% of them, in an age between 5 and 9 years old, is involved in traumatic attacks, with a rate of 1231 bites every 100 thousand children every.

-In Norfolk, Virginia, the incidence of victims of the same age is of 1851 dog bites for every 100 thousand children every year.

Nevertheless, it may be interesting to observe that some case histories offer different proportions, which can be the result of a different distribution of age-groups in the population or of different activities and opportunities of meeting between children and dogs.

-In Pittsburgh in 1957 the population under 20 represented the 35% of the whole population and suffered dog attacks at a rate of 76.7%.

-In Dallas, on the other hand, in 1985, the same kind of young population represented the 31% of the whole inhabitants, but suffered traumatic dog bites only at a rate of 52% of cases.

-Children under 4 years old suffer dog attacks, which then require medical treatment in hospital, twice as much as individuals between 11 and 45 years old; in the same way adults over 76 are involved in dog aggressions twice as much as adults between 36 and 75 years old.

We should then consider that there is a correlation between dog bites and the age of victims, since the highest tribute, also in terms of mortality, is obviously paid by children.

As concerns sex, male human beings are usually more frequently attacked by dogs. In India, men are involved in 65% of the severe dog attacks.

-In Sacramento, it has been observed that 67% of 2,767 contacts between dogs and people corresponds to a male/dog contact. Another element which apparently accounts for the highest incidence of dog bites in male individuals in these latter's stronger willingness to keep a dog as a companion animal.

Relationship Between Biting Dogs And Victims

Existing and verifiable cases are essentially of two sorts:

The dog knows the victim;
The dog does not know the victim.
This area can then range from dogs owned by the victim to dogs owned by the victim's neighbor to stray dogs whose owners remain unknown. Today's statistics report a very low degree of stray dogs' involvement in attacks towards people (between 9.5% and 22%), particularly when compared to figures of thirty years ago. Studies made in New York and Pittsburg in the 1950s and 1960s showed estimates of 19-22%, which went down to 10.6 - 14.5% in the years 1970s and 1980s.

-In a study held in Pennsylvania, of more than 3,000 students, it was discovered that 45% of them had been bitten by a dog, which was, in 30% of cases, their own owned dog.

-In a study held in Dallas, over 1,754 cases of bites by owned and stray dogs shows that the former are generally much more dangerous than the latter: owned dogs are, in fact, are responsible for more cases of bites in the head, face and nose. 85% of cases are represented by dogs which are much closer to the victim, being either owned by the victim himself or by friends or relatives.

-Most woundings by dogs take place around the victim's house. Dog bites generally occur while playing with the dog, (12%) while petting (13%) or in the act waking them (15%).

As concerns fatal attacks, studies clearly show owned dogs as more frequently involved than stray dogs.

Where Dogs Bite

The most common area of dog bite injuries is certainly represented by body extremities.

-The average percentage of injuries to body extremities is of 76.4%: 42.8% concerns legs, 33.5% arms, 15% head and neck, and 8% the trunk.

-Stray dogs seem to prefer human limbs (86.8% versus 76.8%), specially fingers (stray dogs 36.3%, owned dogs 20.5%), whereas owned dogs tend to prefer heads and faces (16.53% versus 5.89%).

In children, in particular, stray dogs show a tendency towards biting hands, those parts of the body which more often move, while pet dogs tend to attack the child's face, with particular reference to the mouth area. The aggression usually takes place during play, when both dog and child are engaged in play on the ground. By playing, children often increase the possibility of a dog's attack, since they are often used to playfully assaulting the animal either verbally or physically).

Other reasons which can account for dogs' tendency to attack head and neck in children are children's low bodily height and their natural predisposition to protect the face with hands.

-At a Wisconsin hospital, among 87 treated facial injuries, more than 50% concerned children under 6 years old.

-More than 50% of 112 serious cases of facial dog bites in Chicago hospistals concerned children under 4 years

Fatal Dog Attacks

Although death by dog bite does not occur frequently, severe fatalities deserves special attention. The highest price is usually paid by children and old people. Between 1966 and 1980, in fact, for every 100 deaths by dog bites, 86.4% concerned children under 12, and from 1979 to 1988, 70% of the dead were children under 9 years old .

-A recently published study points out that 72.9% of deaths involved only one dog, 21.1% two dogs and 5.9% of the attacks concern children under 10 years old.

-A singular aspect of fatal dog attacks is represented by tearing victims to pieces. Children's struck by these accidents seems to under 10 years old.

Most attacks towards human beings, either resulting in violent death or non-fatal injuries, usually involved owned dogs. Dogs more frequently involved in fatal attacks were those of large size, often trained to be watch-dogs or for personal defense.

About 50% of fatal attacks towards human beings involved two or more dogs. It is commonly acknowledged that being part of a pack usually makes dogs feel braver and more aggressive, increasing the probability of the victim's death in the attack. As far as breed is concerned, the dog most frequently involved in fatal attacks towards human beings is the German shepherds.

Studies so far have not been able to elucidate those factors which cause a dog to attack man andto go on with the attack until the victim's death: that is to say that it is not possible to decide whether dogs are intentional or unintentional killers.

Territoriality seems to be one of the major motivations for dog bites, the same cannot be said of cases of victims torn to pieces. Attacks of such gravity as these, in fact, often occur in territories habitually unfrequented by the dog.

Provocation is often invoked to explain reasons for dog bites but it remains most improbable as a justification for fatal attacks. Dealing with big dogs of a notoriously aggressive breed, which can sometimes attack in groups, we can hardly imagine a man, though strong and fit, deliberately trying to provoke such animals

A relevant aspect of dog attacks by tearing victims to pieces is that such victims as newly-born children or babies are usually killed at home, mainly when they have been brought home when a dog was already present, according to a kind of behavior in the dog that man generally classifies as "jealousy".

In 1975, a Great Dane that slaughtered a young girl of 6. A retrospective inquiry revealed that the had changed eight owners in nearly four years and had already attacked several people. No owner had managed to tame or train the dog.

Undoubtedly hunger is not a valid motivation for slaughtering people. No considerable amounts of human flesh are ever missing in victims' bodies. In most cases, a fatal dog attack remains void of any logical explanation, and its actual motivations seem to escape us everyone.

Researchers analyzed three cases of attack by tearing victims to pieces by packs of dogs - 25 packs altogether and took into consideration some potential causes of aggression. They put aside the hypothesis of hunger because, even if the dogs nutrition conditions where not excellent, those parts of the corpse which had been removed had not actually been eaten, not just partially eaten.

They also considered the role of predatory aggressiveness, since some of the dogs hunted together and had been seen chasing a prey just before the attack. The aggression seemed to have been started by only one dog which excited the whole group of dogs to further attack, drawing back to a sort of facilitated predatory behavior.

The role of territory defense may also have been an important element in determining the three attacks, which all occurred close to or even inside the estate where the dogs lived, and all involved people the dogs had already been in contact with.

45% of 2,538 cases of dog bites in 1975 occurred inside or close to the home the dogs lived in. Records 11 fatal aggressions which also occurred inside the homes the dogs lived in. In these specific cases, all dogs had developed an aggressive social behavior towards people and had been encourage to threaten anyone who approached their area. Some of the dogs were used to chasing cars and motorbikes. The elevated number of animals forming the pack of dogs undoubtedly made the attack easier, both because of the higher probability to wound the victim and the fact that the pack was formed by a considerable number of big dogs.

Even though there is no evidence that hunger had any role in the attack, it must be remembered that these dogs had often hunted together and this understanding in hunting may have been of first rate importance in determining the attack and provoking the consequent eating of flesh. In none of these cases the victim had provoked the dogs, even if it is apparent that any manifestation of fear and self - defense may have increased the violence of the dogs' attack.

As a conclusion, it seems that the combined action of different elements can increase dogs' aggressiveness and make it easier to perform violent attacks towards people. In this context, the possibility of gathering in groups, better when formed by dogs of big size, undoubtedly plays a fundamental role.

Fatal attacks often occur in isolated places. As a constant lack of witnesses demonstrates, when they occur inside a victim's house this person is almost always alone.

There is a strict relation between the distribution along the day both of fatal attacks and non-fatal, with a climax in the afternoons, whereas nocturnal activity is practically nonexistent. This is certainly due to the coincidence of human and canine maximum activity during afternoon hours.

There are no important seasonal differences in dog attacks. However, records indicate that a climax is represented in summertime, while attacks in winter remain at a lower level.

It is also interesting to point out that the victims of fatal attacks by slaughtering can be divided into three groups: newly-born children and babies, children under eight, and old people (mainly women). All three groups are made of weak individuals, generally unable to protect or defend themselves properly; as a matter of fact dogs hardly ever assault strong healthy adults in the utmost of their physical strength.

An important element of distinction is that dogs, and not men, are responsible for the murder is the fact that the clothes of the victim of the fatal attack is often completely stripped off, except for socks and shoes, and his clothes are scattered all around the area of the aggression.

The victim's death can be provoked by different factors: it can be a consequence of a prolonged attack by the dog; it can be determined by fatal injuries as soon as the attack had started; or it can be provoked by complications occurred after the state of illness determined caused by the dog bite. In most cases, death occurs by hemorage, sometimes by cerebral damage caused by a bite on the head. Death by suffocation for windpipe occlusion is rare

One case of gaseous embolism and one of adipose embolism have been reported.


Considering the severity of problem dog aggressiveness, mainly in terms of risk factors for man, it is necessary to put into practice the largest possible number of measures for prevention and treatment. Two kinds of preventive actions seemed to have favorable outcome. The first one aims at directing a dog's owner-to-be towards a selection of the best companion puppy for his family. Before adopting a puppy, a responsible owner-to-be should try to answer a series of fundamental questions in order to avoid a wrong choice. General information about breed and gender specifics should be collected, along with that necessary information to understand the dog's social relationships, its degree of domestication and its behavioral profile.

It is also important to consider which characteristics one expects to find in a dog and to select the best dog breed in respect of this consideration. Moreover, the adult dog's size should also be taken into consideration. This factor implies, in fact, a long series of implications such as the owner's life style, the entity and quality of the exercise required by the dog, dog's toilette requirements, maintenance and medical costs, the overall treatment of the dog and, last but not least, the quantity of excrements to be gotten rid of. The dog's size also concerns its degree of activity, which is itself related to the dog's age and to the kind of job its breed has been selected for.

It should always be remembered that dogs require interaction with their owner, contact with other dogs, walks, and play; the lack of all this or of one of these elements could cause the dog to develop sort of "frustration" which is the premise of behavioral problems and aggressiveness. Accordingly, the different stages of an animal's development should be taken into serious consideration. It is quite impossible to foresee a puppy's future behavior and its social adaptation as an adult dog just on the basis of how it behavior towards other puppies.

The second kind of preventive action, which takes advantage of tests to evaluate a dog's temperament, aims at detecting genetic troubles in order to eliminate from reproduction programs those subjects, which show behavioral problems. Tests on a dog's temperament and attitude, largely used by dog breeders to evaluate an animal's degree of obedience, may serve as indicators of the puppy's future behavior and may help to choose the best family and environment for the puppy.

One of these tests has been adapted and perfected to fit any situation and is made of two sections: the first part evaluates five behavioral features of the puppy (social attraction, tendency to follow, answer to compulsion, social dominance and dominance through raising); the second section takes into consideration a puppy's reactions towards execution in relation to the positive outcome of some obedience tests (carrying back, sensitivity to touch, sensitivity to sounds, hunting instinct, stability and energy degree). The main goal is to define a puppy's fitness by elucidating its temperament and abilities in some specific tasks or jobs. Dog breeders largely make use of this method to correctly match puppies and owners-to-be, and, to a lesser extent, to foresee the dog's temperament.

A few considerations must be made in order to evaluate the reliability of such a test. In first place, this kind of test is just a "corrective" test, which does not allow the analysis of those elements pushing a puppy to behave correctly or incorrectly. Moreover, this test is usually held when the puppy is about seven weeks old, in order to take advantage of the relative absence of strong environmental influences on the development of a puppy's behavior; nevertheless, at this stage the environmental factor still has enough room to influence the process of definition of the dog's temperament. That is to say that if the test, on the one hand, allows an early corrective intervention on the puppy, on the other it does not preclude the possibility of future behavioral problems, which can still remain undeveloped at the age of 7 weeks. We should not then forget that the test judges the dog in a precise stage of its life, and that there are no scientific data helping to foresee specific troubles connected with behavioral problems.

Dominance-aggressiveness, in particular, generally develops during the dog's social maturity (18-24 months of age). Generally, aggressive-dominant dogs never show any signs of aggressiveness or dominance at an earlier stage of their life, even though they may have had some warning signs which foreshadowed the whole behavioral syndrome.

In the first phases of its manifestation - characterized by a specific behavior like staring at the master, pushing, resistance to stroke or touch on paws and head, growling when disturbed in sleep -, dominance aggressiveness in dogs usually remains concealed even to tests on dog's temperament.

It is safer to consider these tests just as indicators of a behavior, which must be corrected: if the puppy manifests any sign of improper or aggressive behavior, it should be immediately and decisively corrected. Of course, in this case the test represents a warning and not a definite condemnation; in the same way, absence of signs of behavioral troubles in puppies is not a guarantee for the future.

Another kind of preventive action comes from the United States, where for years now, an public opinion campaign has been held in favor of early dog sterilization in order to control both the stray dog problem, ensure that only pure bred dogs are being born, and the aggression problem.

At last, it is very important to adopt specific preventive measures on the basis of the different forms of aggressiveness a dog can show:

Other aggressiveness: dealing with bitches undergoing frequent pseudo-pregnancies, ovariohysteroctomy represents a solution to a problem bound to be a regular and reiterated one.
Aggressiveness caused by pain: when caused by children who play too violently with the dog, it is advisable to teach both children and dog to interact properly.
Aggressiveness in play: it is very important to keep the situation under control when playing with the dog; since it is a puppy, in fact, a particular mechanism may be started and the dog may feel encouraged to become more and more aggressive. The owner should then be very careful not to reinforce a wrong behavior in his dog.
Possessive aggressiveness: in this case, it is advisable to escape any occasion of direct contact or clash with the problem dog.
Aggressiveness on food: it is important not to give the dog any actual or fake bones, preferring biscuits or tidbits. Children should not be allowed to handle food in the presence problem dogs.
Predatory aggressiveness: this case is dangerous mainly for children, in particular when the dog shows predation behavior on small animals. It is then advisable not to leave children alone with the dog without an adult's supervision; at least until children reach a full degree of autonomy.
Aggressiveness towards dogs of the same race? In case of dogs of the same sex, bound to share the same environment, it is advisable to resort to preventive castration of at least one of the two dogs, in order to avoid the outbreak of such a problem. (or Territorial aggressiveness)
Aggressiveness for territoriality: dogs presenting such behavioral aggressiveness should never be left alone without the supervision of a master.
Dominance aggressiveness: here is another case in which preventive castration can represent help, though not a solution.
Aggressiveness towards children: in view of a child's birth, it is advisable to perform a preventive plan before the child's arrival at home. The plan should include a refinement of the dog's training to obedience, anticipation of any environmental change inside the house, training to accustom the dog to the child's presence, when this latter is still in hospital, using a doll with the child's dresses and registered tapes to accustom the dog to baby's crying. At the child's arrival, the baby and the dog should get to know each other gradually; the dog's owner should work in order to accustom the baby and the dog to each other, as well as to accustom the dog to the child's changes in growth. Never should the dog be ignored or left alone with the baby.

The collection of data has a fundamental role in the diagnosis of dog behavioral pathologies. In fact, several troubles such as dogs aggressiveness are influenced by age, sex and reproductive status, which lead to the anamnesis. Consequently, a series of data must be collected on the occasion of a reported accident:

Motivation for the request of intervention;
Responsibilities in taking care of the animal;
Animal's activities;
Clinical considerations (clinical anamnesis, actual clinical troubles, administered medicines);
Description of the manifestation of the behavioral problem;
List of problem events together with frequency and duration of every event;
Behavioral anamnesis;
Any previous treatment;
Age of problem outbreak and duration;
Members of the family;
Modules of interaction between animal and owners;
Considerations about the adaptation to a new family or euthanasia.
It is also important to point out cause-effect relations to be considered in any behavioral diagnosis connected with phenotype, genotype, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology/neurochemistry and molecular structure. More complex cases are obviously connected with actiological and physiopathological heterogeneity (multiple factor troubles); in these cases it is possible to give a suspicious diagnosis on the basis of the description of events, and to find a help in pharmacology or, less comfortably, to perform techniques of behavior correction. The logic process to give out very specific diagnosis, based on the description of the animal's behavior, is that of enlisting and explaining the single behavioral manifestations to be treated, as well as trying to elucidate the areas in which a specific intervention at behavioral level may be useful.


In the treatment of behavioral problems, intervention in usually performed on three levels: the physical level, the behavioral level, the physiological level. Physical level. Intervention is based on the modification of the environment in order to solve the problems connected with this latter. That is the case of fences, which can make a territorial dog more aggressive and should then be removed. Behavioral level. The second step towards the improvement of a behavioral problem such as aggressiveness is the performance of a corrective plan divided into 6 stages:

Accustoming: decrease of negative reaction to a new element in the environment, in relation to increasing intensity or frequency of contact with this element.
Extinction: a process through which normal or conditioned reactions are reduced or soothed after the exposition to a stimulus without receiving any reward back.
Desensitizing: reduction of the reaction produced by the gradual exposition to the stimulus.
Counter-conditioning: a process through which a negative behavior is eliminated or controlled by teaching the animal a different way of behaving, usually nice and funny, which creates a competitive interference with the negative behavior. It should be associated with desensitizing.
Flooding: prolonged exposition to the stimulus until any negative reaction is cancelled; this method should be performed without giving the dog any opportunity to escape.
Punishment: presentation of an unsympathetic stimulus as an answer to a certain behavior is repeated in the future; it must be performed during the first 30-60 seconds after the manifestation of the negative behavior. Tempestivity, consistence, fitful intensity and conditioned answer are crucial.
Physiological level. To solve problem aggressiveness, two levels of intervention seem to be necessary, especially as a support to the techniques of behavioral correction: an endogenous intervention, represented by sterilization, and an exogenous intervention, represented by medicines administration.

Endogenous intervention. In favor of castration as a method to reduce dog aggressiveness, we can quote a quite large number of experiments made at the University of Davis, California, and at the University of Utrecht, Netherland's, all resulting in a considerable reduction of the problem a few hours after the medical intervention already. In fact, the reduction of the testosterone ematic level starts in 6 hours. Orchiectomy reduces dogs' aggressive behavior inside the house in 26% of cases, and outside the house in 52%. On the other hand, in same cases it is possible to notice a growth in aggressiveness both towards familiar people and unfamiliar dogs.

Anyway, orchieoctomy undoubtedly modifies the behavior of fearful dogs. The most important reaction to orchieoctomy is the reduction of aggressiveness in male dogs from 60% to 90%. The only collateral effects of this kind of intervention are the increase in body weight (47%), the increase in hunger (25%) and the reduction of athletic outcome (21%). Researchers studied the existence of a possible relation between the dog's age, the duration of the behavioral problem and the degree of improvement after castration: this relation resulted to be of a minimum degree or utterly non-existent.

Exogenous intervention. First of all, we must remember that it is always a mistake to prescribe behavioral medicines when these are not connected to a therapy which includes techniques of dogs temperament correction. Without the support of a behavioral therapy, medicines are not strong enough to eliminate all the signs of the problem in an individual.

As it normally happens in veterinary medicine, some considerations must be made before the prescription of any remedy:

One must be sure of the correctness of the diagnosis;
One must know the mechanisms of action of behavioral medicines;
One must have a clear idea of any collateral effect, of which the owner must be undoubtedly conscious;
One must evaluate the state of the animal's health (in laboratory).
It is important to point out that tranquillizers are not suitable for a therapy against dog aggressiveness. Fenotiazines are not suitable since they soothe both negative and normal behavior. Acepromazina, in particular, must be carefully used, since aggressive dogs become more reactive to sounds and disturbing elements.


To intensify dog's physical exercise and choose a rational diet
To refine training to obedience (5-10 minutes training every day, in an undisturbed environment, using just one word as order, rewarding immediate response and ignoring lack of response)
Food, toys, attention, cuddles, freedom must be gained by the dog itself
Never perform harsh games
Give the dog medicines when they are prescribed.

Physical exercise
Hyper-proteinic diet (16-20% of dry proteins for each food ration), except for growing dogs, dogs affected by particular disease and pregnant bitches
Desensitizing and counter-conditioning
Refinement of training and obedience
Allow the dog to urinate only in one place
Give the dog medicines when they are prescribed, for instance Propandolo.
Aggressiveness towards other dog breeds.
Connected with dominance

Keep the dog under control working on obedience
Stop the dog, when necessary, with a leash
Give medicines.
Connected with predation

Avoid animals, which can be object of predation
Other therapies.
Adapted from:

DOG'S AGGRESSIVENESS TOWARDS MAN. DIAGNOSTIC METHODS AND PREVENTIVE SUGGESTIONS Chiara Bertani *, Pier Giovanni Bracchi ** (*) Medico Veterinario. (**) Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia degli Alimenti - Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria - Università degli Studi di Parma.
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

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I Have Your Grass
Posts: 28540
Location: Dallas

Postby » December 26th, 2006, 6:07 pm

I really don't know where to start with this.

It's very long winded.

The statistics are nice, but not quite relevant to areas, if the breakdown is done correctly.

The focus on children in attacks is a great selling point for the pitch they are offering.

Fatal dog attack statistics go no further than 1988.

I disagree with euthanasia being sited as the number one killer of dogs. Euthanasia ends lives, yes - but it is not the reasoning behind the animals ultimate demise.

I was distracted when reading the website, but I bet I could come back to it and add a lot more of my thoughts when I have a chance to really dig into it and break the website down.
Just Whelped
Posts: 49
Location: USA

Postby mnp13 » December 26th, 2006, 6:47 pm

Dog owners rarely ask a veterinarian's advice about the breed of the dog they want to buy or about its possibile aggressiveness; on the other hand the veterinarian himself seldom spontaneously give information about the matter on his medical examination of the puppy.

I admit I did not read even half of the article. However, this stood out to me.

Why would I ask a Vet's advice on what type of dog I should get? Unless they are a trainer with experience with a variety of breeds, I wouldn't really put much stake in their opinion. How does a vet know if the aggression is triggered by the owner or the dog? They don't if they don't know anything about training.

Inside me is a thin woman trying to get out. I usually shut the bitch up with a martini.
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Evil Overlord
Posts: 17234
Location: Rochester, NY

Postby » December 26th, 2006, 7:03 pm

You have a good point.

On some breeds, I could see a person speaking to area vets to get a feel of their knowledge, in certian aspects. If I were to want to breed English Bulldogs, I personally would want to make sure I was close to, or had a vet on hand that could work through emergencies - per their past experience. I would look for hands on experience, not booksmarts.

No, my breed of choice isn't an EB, though I had one in the past, and I was not a breeder...

Nice part to talk about - WHY should the vet give advice on the matter, after the purchase is already made? (going back to the original text from the link)

When doing the initial exam, the vet - if they're a good one - can only advise to what you are in for - if they feel obligated, and in that aspect it should be health related, IMO.

The stance taken on the part of that website in that aspect is once again making themselves sound superior to vets, in paticular the collective your vet - in order for you (the possible client) to agree with, or make note of their statement.

Most of it is a sales pitch, given by the entire feel of the site.

I admit, I am somewhat in the Christmas spirits at this point, so my concentration is blown - but I'm not a sucker, and I'll be interested in going back through the site later on.
Just Whelped
Posts: 49
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Postby luvmypitties » December 27th, 2006, 1:19 am

I think that if you are going to purchase a breed, I dont think you should even talk to a vet or a trainer. I think you should go straight to a reputable breeder or people who have owned the breed of interest. if you arent sure as to what breed you want do research, looks are a good way to start, IMO. Find ones that catch your eye then look further into the breed. Then like I said talk to people who own the breed first... still interested? Then go to vet and or trainer and see what their take is on it. Trainablity, health issues, behavior issues that they have had experiences with.
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Postby mnp13 » December 27th, 2006, 11:21 am

On December 27 2006, 00:19, luvmypitties wrote:I think that if you are going to purchase a breed, I dont think you should even talk to a vet or a trainer. I think you should go straight to a reputable breeder or people who have owned the breed of interest. if you arent sure as to what breed you want do research, looks are a good way to start, IMO. Find ones that catch your eye then look further into the breed. Then like I said talk to people who own the breed first... still interested? Then go to vet and or trainer and see what their take is on it. Trainablity, health issues, behavior issues that they have had experiences with.

I might talk to a vet to see what general health problems seem to come with the breed of choice. A vet in a large practice may see a lot of x breed coming in with cancer, y breed with HD, etc. And though that is not a "scientific study", it's still useful info.

I personally would probably not talk to a breeder. If they don't think you are the right kind of owner for their breed they will probably try to deter you from the breed, which is a good thing, but if they like you for the breed they are going to try to "sell" you on it - even if you are not going to purchase from them.

I think an experienced trainer who has worked with verious breeds is the best way to go. They have no stake in what breed you decide to get. Sure, every trainer has a favorite breed, but unless they are a breeder or work for a kennel, you have a better chance of getting an impartial opinion.

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