Definition of aggression – Sergio Canello

Definition of aggression

Aggression can be defined as a set of behaviors that the subject uses to intimidate or damage another subject in various situations and it’s regulated by both genetics and adaptation to the environment.

Aggression shouldn’t be confused with a lack of sweetness.

Sweetness is a characteristic that makes the dog act in obedience. If the subject lacks this characteristic, it will tend to show dominance even if it’s not necessarily aggressive.
Aggression is instead, intimately related to specific hormonal mechanisms that influence the metabolism.

Possible Causes for the Increase of Dog Aggression

The Increase of Dog Aggression

I am not an ethologist, but from more than 30 years of clinical experience and having had the possibility to live all the film since the beginning (when the dogs were aggressive and the Fioroni, an author of a famous dog encyclopedia, to the description of every single breed, repeated with serenity that was composed from subjects with good character, of course. More or less strong, but always balance.

When this animal was still “normal”, a friend of human, all the dogs were fundamentally good and affectionate, even those for watchdog or defense. In my clinic, I could easily visit subjects of seventy or eighty kilo without muzzle and without the slightest hint of aggression even facing manual pain. Moreover, at those times, the number of daily visits of a veterinary was very high, so it was possible to have a very impressive series: the dogs biting were very few; they stood out, the tawny cocker, whom many of them were very unpredictable and they can ”soak” you with really painful bites and that they tent to give infection.

And so, the poor Fioroni, I heard him described, not so long ago, a poor fool as according to him all dogs were good, he was absolutely right: when the dogs were “normal”, the percentage of “bad” subjects was objectively very low. Unfortunately, for the reasons still depend on the change of the human component and how much have changed in the environment, the situation has changed in a few years (between 1978 to 1990), with the appearance of disproportionate number of pack leader subjects and with the progressive increase of aggression in certain breeds.

The controversy about the considered dangerous breeds continues and the technicians almost convinced that they don’t exist and that the problems is just the owners, without even questioning the premises. Yet, going to the premises precisely (Parmenides, the Philosopher, asserted that if the premises are wrong, all the consequences are wrong), we realize that we start from erroneous belief. If we judge everything carefully BEFORE commencing any work or theme, it would avoid series of incredible failures , misinterpretations, and outrageous mistakes. One of the fundamental in canine world, born from the fact described above, that such animals are changed impressively within the last 35 years, with the peak of the phenomenon between 1975 to 1995, both in behavior and diseases are afflicted.

Moreover, these changes very fast or we experienced in person or can be perceived only by experts or older “dated” books. Who was born in certain historical period is led to believe that what he sees is the norm and of course act accordingly. Anyone who, like me have lived those years, dealing with many animals daily (we veterinaries for small animals were very few, and for the sector contemporary boom, a large number of clients), can easily confirm that the dogs were tame (apart from the obvious a few exceptions). Very sweet to children and absolutely reliable, ready, however to become fierce in the presence of danger, of a threat in case of absence of the owner from home.
Simply, they were guarding and defending the owner or the children only when it was necessary. I can remember the countless home visits, also a pack of dogs, during the owner were taking holidays.

The situation, as accordingly has changed strikingly in the last few years, and has made the following changes:

Puppies that at the age of 20 days, maybe still with semi closed eyes, had more than 60/70% of subjects intolerant to manipulation, especially when they open their mouth, even, obviously ridiculous that he could carry an almost new born dog, growling menacingly. In short time, we found ourselves with two puppies of suspiciously two months old, hyperactive and that didn’t come close to the visitors. Within a few years, I knocked, in advising the owner in choosing puppy, what was a “must” period: choosing that more lively one. Following this criteria, the owner was almost mathematically to have a nice pack leader extremely difficult to treat. Better to opt on the more “dumb” which would become a normal dog in most cases.

There is an old proverb that says “dog doesn’t eat dog”, but from those years, it has become common to witness puppies slaughtered by adult dog, fierce, quarrel and often fatal among adults, big dogs who were “making out” puppies totally harmless. In this regards, it was very common, before this change, to see “aggressions” of small dogs to very big dogs without the giants deign any consideration. Useless to notice that the dogs were not dreaming to bite the children and that they were stoically enduring any harassment, conscious to have to deal with “human puppy”.

Obviously, I have always insisted on the need to educate the children to respect the animals without torturing them, but in every case, the printed ancestral laws inside every dog prevented (logically) this type of reaction. These law don’t work anymore, and any expert is forced to warn the owners of almost any breed on the risk of possible attack, often for futilissimi reason.