In the light of the horrific killing of an Irish tourist by dogs in Penang, it is time for dog owners to educate themselves on way to detect and control aggression in their pets.
An experienced vet told me today that tying up dogs or putting them in cages for prolonged periods may contribute to aggression. He said from the photo of the dog in the press today, it did not appear to be an ordinary mongrel, but a mixed-breed: “It looks almost three quarters like a pit bull,” a breed known for its ferocity. He didn’t think the aggression had anything to do with the dogs’ diet whether meat or dog biscuits. Having himself encountered fierce canines during his various visits to farms, the vet said such aggressive dogs should not be allowed to roam freely and pose a threat in public areas; instead they may be let loose in fenced up private premises. Licensing and regulation would come under the jurisdiction of the MPPP, he added.
There are various types of dog aggression according to a buzz.com article ‘What makes dogs aggressive’:
The dominance aggression is about the dog’s social status being challenged or his control of a situation being questioned. Dogs just like humans are social beings. They think of their families as their group or pack. Within this pack there is a dominance hierarchy that is always established. Unfortunately, if your dog thinks his rank is higher than yours then there will situations that he will challenge you. Since most people don’t have a basic understanding of how canines communicate, unknowingly you may challenge your dog’s social position. Any physical restraint on the dog’s part can be viewed as a challenge for dominance although he can be friendly when not threatened nor challenge. This type of aggression can be directed at anyone or any animal.
The other type of aggression is fear-motivated. This is a defensive reaction from your dog and usually happens when he thinks he is about to be harmed. Keep in mind, that in situations where there is nothing to fear from, your dog may still think differently and understand that he is in peril. When this happens, a defensive reaction maybe triggered from your dog and this will cause him to exhibit aggression. Same as before this type of aggression is not only towards people but can also be towards other dogs.
The third type of aggression is territorial or possessive aggression. This type of aggression is about defending the territory or area which your dog thinks should be his. All marked area is considered by your dog as his territory or property so if there’s anyone or any animal that he perceives as a threat to his pack the dog automatically becomes aggressive.
Some breeds of dog have been bred over the centuries to serve as guards for flocks and people and property and have an innate tendency for aggressive behavior if they perceive a threat to their territory or their “pack”. Unfortunately, these are large and powerful, in order to handle the duties they were used for, so any aggressive behavior can have serious consequences.
From the story of the killing in the press, it appears that a combination of factors may have been responsible for the terrible aggression displayed by the dog that resulted in a senseless and tragic death. Dog-owners, do read up and learn how to deal with the aggression displayed by your pets.