writted By Ed Frawley
The TV show 20-20 recently aired a segment on aggressive dogs biting people. I learned of this from an e-mail prior to the show. The individual (who did not sign their name) begged me to write a letter to 20-20 complaining about them daring to do a show criticizing dogs biting people. Needless to say I did not respond to the e-mail but I did watch the program. The fact is the show was rather well done and accurate. If I were to criticize anything, I would have liked to see it go into more detail on overly aggressive dogs and how to deal with them.
Here are just a few of the facts that were explained by 20-20:
- 90% of dog bites happen to people who know the dogs
- Most of the dogs that bite are the family pets
- 60% to 70% of dog bites are to children or the elderly
- 40% of the bites to children result in loss offacial tissue (lips, cheek etc.)
- 1/2 of the claims made on homeowners insurance are dog bites claims
- Over aggressiveness in dogs has a number of different causes that all can be traced back to 2 different areas: poor breeding or poor socializing.
An over aggressive dog does not just rear its ugly head one day and become a monster.
Throughout its life it has displayed warning signs that it is not a normal friendly pet. As a youngster it may have acted like a timid animal that wanted nothing to do with strangers or strange places. Or it could have slowly developed into a bully after growling at people who came near its toys or food dish. We can’t really blame the average pet owner for missing many of the early warning signs.
If someone has never raised a dog before, he has enough problems teaching a puppy not to pee on the floor or to come when called. But this same pet owner still has the responsibility to recognize and deal with their adult dog that becomes overly aggressive at inappropriate times.
There are a number of different types of aggression that dogs will display. Below I have listed the main areas of aggression. I then explain how to deal with the problems related to each type of aggression. Understanding where aggression has its roots will help people understand the methods used in ntrolling the problem.
Types of Aggression:
- Dominant Aggression
- Territorial Aggression
- Fear Aggression
- Prey or Predatorial Aggression
Many people think it’s cute when a young puppy growls and snaps at fingers that get to close to the food bowl or toys. They laugh and show their friends how tough this little pup is going to be when it grows up.
What they don’t understand is that this dog is showing the early signs of dominance. The truth is that this pup is probably going to grow up to be aggressive to family members in addition to strangers. Early growling can easily develop into an adult that tries to take control of the house.
Now, if this is an 8 pound Skipper Key there isn’t much chance of that happening, but if it’s a baby Rottweiler who is going to grow into a 120 pound monster then this is a definite problem.
Dominant Aggression needs to be controlled from the minute it’s recognized, (no matter how young or how small the dog is). I have just written an article titled Dealing with the Dominant Dog. People need to read this article if they feel that their dog falls into this category.