I was jogging the other day; and a German Shepard started rushing towards me. I've always admired this dog breed; and I usually welcome them with open arms; however, this one was different. Not only did it start barking at me; but it was growling and not happy to see me at all. Thankfully, the owner was there to stop the dog from jumping or hurting me.
So, why are some dogs more aggressive than others? Evan MacLean, a psychologist and anthropologist from the University of Arizona, wondered this, as well; and he found that some dogs have levels of "the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin influence canine social behaviors and aggression. Service dogs, bred for their placid temperament, have significantly higher levels of oxytocin in their blood than the average pooch. Those dogs that were more aggressive towards other dogs, however, had more vasopressin." (Nat Geo)
“Before we can work to alter aggression, we need to understand its basic biology. No one had even looked at these other hormones before,” MacLean says. These results provide a novel jumping-off point, although MacLean cautions that it’s still not clear whether vasopressin is causing the aggression or is released in response to aggression.
Some dogs may release this aggression if they feel threatened. They may become territorial over food or feel anxious by a person or other dog. Aggression is the leading reason for why dogs enter into humane societies and animal rescues. As potential pet owners look for the perfect dog to bring home, they need to keep this in-mind and remain patient and calm with dogs that may have had a harder previous life. Dogs with aggressive past lives may are at risk for being put down.
The results may not tell us everything; but they do help us understand the problem. For pet owners with aggressive dogs, it is recommended that these dogs are taken to dog trainers and veterinarians for help. Dog owners with high energy dogs may also decide to build a dog fence in the backyard away from neighbors and small children. Some dogs may become nervous and feel trapped if they are on a leash; so, dog fencing is an alternative solution to your moody dog.