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Misconceptions About Dog Aggressions

February 27, 2018 - Reading time: 7 minutes

I will present below the baselines that motivate the majority of dog aggressions that, due to their intensity, produce disproportionate damage and cause useless normative or legislative effects, derived from the confusion that the opinions expressed in the media by opinion express in this regard. public.

If this confusion is understandable to a certain extent, it is inexcusable and sometimes embarrassing, as expressed by the majority of canine professionals who are publicly invited to express themselves about dog aggression.

Breeders, dealers, and even some veterinarians can be understood to make mistakes. But that a trainer or as some now call themselves, "canine educators or behaviorists" allow themselves the license to say the nonsense that is heard about it, not only provokes the embarrassment of others but also sets the tone of what we have in the profession.

I will expose the three ideas that support the most heard errors about dog aggression:


For a dog to be used in fights it cannot be aggressive. In other words, aggressiveness is an obstacle to the fight. The fighting dog does it by mechanisms of seizure, not a defense.

The basis of aggressiveness in dogs is fear and this triggers inhibitions* in the individual who manifests it. Inhibitions that must not exist for a dog to be "good" at fighting.

Individuals who are fearful or show symptoms of fear (basis of aggressiveness) are discarded by the tormentors who engage in dogfighting. But this does not mean that they are sacrificed, but that they are sold or given away, joining the list of companion puppies.

When aggressiveness is triggered in these dogs, due to the lack of an adequate level of inhibitions, a massive succession of stimuli is produced that leads to an orgy of aggressive manifestations generally specified in bites of the power that a dog specialized in it can develop.

* inhibitions.

It is known that in the behavior of the canid we can find brakes or limitations to certain patterns of said behavior. These brakes can be specifically inherited or learned.

This is the case in which any healthy canine establishes a limit in the aggression towards another individual of the opposite sex or towards a puppy.

In certain breeds such as the pit bull, the selection of the breeder for the sake of the fight entails rewarding individuals who lack inhibitions or brakes at the time of the fight.

During a fight between these dogs, if the opponent is in a submissive position or complains, which in most canids would mean a brake on aggression, it does not cause any inhibition in the aggressor.

We cannot forget that defense in canids never leads to the direct death of the aggressor. It is only intended to repel the attack.

dog aggressions


Training dogs for defense does not increase their aggressiveness but channels it. This, which is known by anyone who has "observed" defense work, is unknown by others who in their ignorance presuppose the opposite.

Similarly, when the child goes to martial arts, he does not become aggressive but rather channels his impulsiveness in an orderly way.

If an irresponsible owner commissions a defense job to an amateur or asks colleagues to "touch" the dog, he may at most get a pissed-off dog tending to attack anyone who bothers him.

That has nothing to do with the training of a security or sports dog.


The main cause of aggression in the family, "to the owner" is due to dominance by competition. This is most cases extends to strangers.

Such aggressive reactions are fueled by a dog of pronounced dominant rank and love, lots of love.

The hierarchical nature of dogs drives them to a greater or lesser degree to position themselves or rank. The main resource that dogs have for this imperative task is force.

Therefore, if we have an individual of pronounced dominance, who, in addition to taking care of him with the greatest attention, we show ourselves devoted to his continuous adoration and never use force with him, we will have opted to turn him into a tyrant who probably from the age of three years decided to "put us in our place".

If this reaction occurs in an insecure fighting dog, we can now understand that without the proper natural checks (inhibitions), aggression can be dramatic.

Dog Aggressions: Conclusions

In my opinion, legislative actions have to aim at the prohibition and elimination of breeds that continuously engage in aggressive actions of this nature. With the morality of our society and the criminal use that is mostly given to some of these breeds, there is no place for these animals.

A few years ago, dog aggression outside of common sense - outside its territory, against children, the elderly, etc. - led to the animal being immediately euthanized. And not because it was "good or bad" but, expressed in ethological terms, they were not successful behaviors.

In the humanization to which we subject dogs, we apply considerations that justify said aggressions and as a general solution, the problem is endorsed by giving away the problematic dog.

Some breeders will have to realize that against their business or their irresponsibility there are factors that prevent the popularization of some breeds.

And if they try, in the case of the Rotweiller, to soften the character to enable a massive sale, the result can be a huge number of shy copies that will lose this shyness before a child or a weak old man and Oh surprise! I never would have guessed! As affectionate as the puppy is, the boy must have done something to him when he killed him!

No training professional disputes the uselessness of these breeds for defense tasks at any level other than deterrence. And many, for this you do not have to be a professional at all, we think that the repertoire of breeds or their mixtures is so wide as to be able to choose another type of dog as a companion, come on, a dog.

Jesús Guzmán Ortega
Source: AEPE - Association for the Study of the Dog and its Environment

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