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The Science Behind: Dog Aggression


Recently, I got a puppy. An adorable Labrador Retriever named Charlie. From the minute we saw his golden-brown eyes, we were completely in love. The minute he stepped into our home, he was a little hurricane. No joke, I have his photos album saved as “Little Hurricane”


He ate my mother’s prized plants and came way too close to digesting my English homework. He was like one of those 3D illusions that you just can’t seem to keep your eyes off no matter how much it messes with your head. So there he was, growing rapidly in size and strength and still an absolute menace, so we tried asking Google and then got a trainer. Thankfully it all worked. Charlie recently turned 10 months old and is now a perfect angel most of the time. Of course, he’ll still fight my mom for his boiled rice and chicken.


Thanks to an idea on our Instagram story recently I decided to research why dogs get aggressive. As a dog mom, I do not believe it’s okay to blame a dog’s aggression on the breed. Understandably, genetics may play a role but I believe there are a LOT more factors at play.


A study done at the University of Helsinki determined that, other than genetics, it's also the level of socializing, fearfulness (both in the dog and the owner), and age all play a role in a dog’s aggression.


While some dogs may start to get more hostile as they get older, Charlie got a lot calmer. As he’s growing up he's also starting to trust his family, and the people around him more. He’s starting to understand that he’s safe and doesn’t need to constantly defend himself. It’s easy to understand why a dog would be a little suspicious of the three random people who just want to hug him all day (that's my family by the way).



For adult dogs, aging can mean developing diseases or impairment of the senses. If they’re surprised, their first reaction may be to defend themselves, which is, in our opinion, labeled aggression. We don’t know why exactly but It’s also been researched that dogs who live with other dogs or are constantly socialized are less hostile.


Smaller dogs are also more aggressive, but they’re not considered as threatening. Reminds me of when my baby Labrador stared at a Dachshund scream at him at the beach with an extremely confused face. It’s easy to understand when people think of feisty dogs they think of Huskies, German Shepherds, or Pit Bulls. However, the same study mentioned above discovered that the most aggressive dogs are the Long-Haired Collie, Poodle, and Miniature Schnauzer, and the last aggressive as Golden and Labrador Retrievers (HA!)


If you’re thinking about getting a dog, it's good to know what type of dog you’d love the most. Take into consideration where you live, who you live around, and your lifestyle type before you get a dog. Don’t rule out bigger breeds because they look scary, as a mom of a 67lb puppy, they’re the most fun and loveable.



Stay Curious!


Love,

Sarah



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