The Aggressive Dog
by Patricia Fisher (Tucson, AZ) After learning more about Dog behavior via the Center for Canine Aggression, Patricia Fisher of Tucson, Arizona shares some excellent tips on how to read and react to aggressive behaviors. (EDITOR: The following applies to all breeds.) Dog aggression generally stems from one of three drives: Dominance, Defense or Prey. Nearly all dog bites are a result of one of these behaviors. Although other anomalies exist, such as rage syndrome, rabies or outright insanity, these basic drives fuel most incidents of dog bites. Following is an explanation of each of these basic drives, how to recognize them and how to deal with dogs under their influences. This information is derived from a course outline used to train animal control officers formulated by Diane Jessup, Director of the Center For Canine Aggression Studies. One drive which prompts biting behavior is Dominance. This drive is recognized by a dog who is: 1. Tensed, standing on tip-toe. 2. Jumping up or leaning/standing against a person. 3. Pushy, even friendly acting. 4. Erect ears and an up, stiffly wagging tail. 5. In a freezing position before attacking, with no panting, even if hot. 6. Staring straight ahead, even while being petted. 7. Visually tracking you as you approach. 8. Mouthing you. 9. Has slightly raised hackles. 10. Exhibiting sexual behavior towards humans. 11. Stiff while being touched. You may also notice that the dog appears friendly, lacking any aggressive behavior. There is a lack of motion or warning sounds. The dog may appear pushy or become rigid when any attempt to move him or touch him is made. RECOMMENDATIONS ARE: * No sudden moves, shouting or attempts to pet, demand or shove. * Do NOT trust the dog's owner to understand the behavior. * Keep calm, ignore the dog and do not threaten. * Use any means available to discourage the dog from jumping. * Move slowly and carefully. * Freeze, with your arm across your stomach while the dog investigates you.