Nurture or Nature? Agression in Dogs

Researchers at a Spanish University have released research showing that owner-dependant factors have a greater influence on a dog's aggressive nature than breed.

The study by a  research team from the University of Córdoba included breeds that are considered by some as aggressive by nature, such as Alsatians, Boxers, Rottweilers and Dobermans. According to the study, factors that cause aggressiveness in dogs include first-time dog ownership; failure to subject the dog to basic obedience training; spoiling or pampering the dog; buying a dog as a present, as a guard dog or on impulse; leaving the dog with a constant supply of food, and spending very little time with the dog in general and on its walks.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, found that approximately 40% of dominance aggression in dogs is associated with a lack of authority on the part of the owners who have never performed basic obedience training with their pets or who have only carried out the bare minimum of training.

The research did show that, certain breeds, male sex, a small size, or an age of between 5-7 years old are factors which are associated with greater dominance aggression, however, the authors of the study say that  these factors have "minimal effect" on whether the dog behaves aggressively and that factors linked to the owner's actions are more influential.

The study will no doubt provide additional information to assist in the current debate regarding the banning of certain breeds by Governments in various places.

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