Jueves, 22 Diciembre 2016 16:58

A University of Cordoba study proves that dogs are aggressive if badly trained

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Many dogs are put to sleep or abandoned due to their violent behavior, but contrary to what people think, the breed of the dog has little to do with aggressive behavior compared to all the factors that depend on the dog’s owner. This is what a new study from the University of Cordova has shown. The study included breeds that are considered inherently aggressive such as Rottweilers and Pit bulls. But the conclusions are surprising: the owners are mainly responsible for dog attacks based on dominance or rivalry.

According to information provided by the Servicio de Información y Noticias Científicas (SINC) (Scientific News and Information Service), the research team from the University of Cordova (UCO) determined a series of the dogs’ external and inherent factors to understand their aggressiveness and proved that the external factors, which can be modified and depend on the owner, influence the animals more.

According to Joaquín Pérez-Guisado, main author of the study and researcher at the University of Cordova, some of the factors that provoke aggressiveness in dogs are: if their owners have never had a dog before, if the dogs do not receive basic obedience training, spoiling or pampering the dog too much, not using physical punishment when necessary, getting the dog with the idea of a simple gift or guard dog/pet or on a whim, spaying females, leaving food out indefinitely, and spending little time with the dogs walking them and in general.

“Ignorance of all these modifiable factors fosters this type of aggressiveness and makes up what we could call providing ‘a bad upbringing for our dogs”, explains Pérez-Guisado to SINC.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, is based on the following fact: almost 40% of dog attacks based on dominance are related to lenient owners who have never given their pets basic obedience training or if they have it was the bare minimum.

Breeds do not influence so much in aggressiveness

The Spanish researchers studied 711 dogs (354 males and 357 females) of which 594 were purebreds and 117 were mixed breeds over a year old. Among the breeds studied were Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, Boxers, Rottweilers, Dobermanns, and also apparently more docile breeds such as Dalmatians, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature poodles, Chihuahuas, Pekingeses, and French Bulldogs, which also showed dominant attitudes.

According to Pérez-Guisado, certain breeds, the male gender, small size, and between 5-7 years of age are “factors that depend on the dog and that are associated with a higher aggressiveness and dominance”. Nevertheless, these factors are “not weighty” in making a dog’s behavior aggressive. The factors that are linked to the owner’s conduct are more influential.

To correct an animal’s behavior, owners must treat their dogs appropriately and “reestablish dominance over their dogs”, adds the researcher. As far as physical punishment, Pérez-Guisado points out that “this cannot be used with all dogs due to the danger it could entail, although it could be used to reestablish dominance over puppies or small dogs or easily controlled dogs”. However, “it should never be used to take anger out on the dog, since physical punishment should be more a way of scaring the dog and showing control we have over the dog, and not a way of inflicting pain on the animal”, said the veterinarian.

According to the researcher, “it is not normal for dogs that receive adequate training to show dominant aggressive behavior”. Pérez-Guisado attributes this “exceptional” attitude to the existence of some medical or organic problem “that can provoke behavioral changes in dogs”.

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