Aggressive Behavior In Dogs:
Breeding And Aggression In Dogs:
Breeding programs strongly influence the temperament of a breed. Because it has been the fashion to breed for looks and not temperament it has become increasingly difficult to recommend any breed with confidence that their temperament is sound.
Can Aggression Be Cured?
Tranquillizers: Tranquillizers have a temporary effect only. The most common tranquillizers used are chlorpromazine derivative e.g. acetyl promazine. Valium is also widely used. Tranquillizers can be useful as a short-term control of a problem.
Hormones: The male sex hormone testosterone stimulates aggression. Removal of the source of testosterone by castration is very effective in many (but not all) cases of aggression in males. It is more effective when performed while the dog is young. Some hormones can be used to "chemically castrate" the dog. These hormones have a temporary effect only and the unwanted behavior may return once the hormones are withdrawn. Hormones can be a useful tool in changing the dog's behavior pattern - you train the dog while he is on drug treatment, then when his behavior is modified, the drug is gradually withdrawn.
Training: Some aggressive dogs may be trained out of their aggressiveness, provided the temperament of the dog is sound. But you must be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and effort training the dog and often the aid of a professional dog handler is available.
Curbing Agressive Behavior In Your "Pack":
Crowding will increase aggression within the group; so will a scarcity of food. When groups of dogs are fed you can reduce aggression by either feeding each dog separately, or having only dry food available, or feeding a bulky meal food which is less appetising than meat. Less palatable food may mean fewer fights, whereas a hunk of juicy meat tends to provoke fighting.
Aggression Towards Humans:
If you own a large breed dog it is essential to establish your dominance early while the dog is still a pup. Many problems of a dog's aggressive behavior towards his owner occur when the dog thinks he is dominant or if there is doubt as to who is dominant. One way to establish dominance is simply to pick the puppy up when he starts to misbehave, in the same way as the mother would pick up the errant pup.
Aggressive behavior accounts for about half of all behavior problems in dogs brought to vets. Many people think of aggressive behavior as a sinister disease - but most cases of aggression are within the normal behavior patterns for the dog. Pople ask for advice because their dog worries them, but this aggression may be a normal way to act according to the "canine code of behavior".
Aggression Within A Group Of Dogs:
In the wild, a definite social order will form within any group of dogs like the "pecking order" of chickens. The dominant dog wins first choice of food, mate, or whatever else is up for grabs. To become top dog of a group of dogs, violence or aggression is necessary. After establishing his place, threats of aggression or play fighting are usually sufficient to maintain his place until a real challenge is given by an up-and-comer, at which time another fight will take place, the victor becoming the dominant dog. In this way the fittest dogs survive to continue the line while the old, weak or unhealthy dog goes under, especially in times when resources are limited. Compare this with modern breeding selection, when a dog may be selected to breed simply because his coat is a pretty color or his muzzle is just the right fashionable length.
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