Different Types of Aggression

Types of Aggression: Dominant, Very Dominant/ Submissive, Very Submissive, Inhibited .


Aggression from dogs is divided into two groups: the type regarding the interaction between dogs and the other related to their interaction with humans, although some affect both.

Aggression from Physical Pain: such a form of aggression is born in response to a pain stimulus caused voluntarily or involuntarily. This response will be different according to the temperament of the dog: Very Dominant (VD) will be very violent with direct bites to the face or neck (vital areas), Dominant (D) will be violent with bites to the arm or legs; if the subject is Submissive (S) it will yelp trying to wriggle, if he is Very Submissive (VS) will yelp licking his hand.

Aggressive Competition for the Female: this aggression is completely natural and will show itself just when two or more males are in contact with a female in heat. In such situations it’s advisable not to intervene, because the males will “face each other” without major physical consequence.

Aggression of Competition for Food and for the Defense of Offspring: these forms are of natural ethological motivation, provided they are contained within the physiological limits.

Aggression in Defense of Territory: this can create many problems since the territory is represented by the garden or the surrounding are in which the dog lives: if the dog is Very Dominant (VD) or Dominant (D), it will defend the territory independently from the will of the proprietaries, creating a daily high risk situation.
The Submissive (S) subjects tend to defend their territory correctly, just in a dangerous situation when their parents are not at home.
While those Submissive (S), Very Submissive (VS) or Inhibited (I) certainly don’t create problems related to fear aggression, they can create the opposite situation, accepting joyfully thieves or unwanted people!

Fear Aggression: a dog with an unhealthy psychological balance perceives the presence of unknown stimulus (persons or noises) as stressful. This can lead to an aggressive reaction that is proportional to the level of character imbalance.

The official standard of every canine breed explains, next to the physical parameters, the behavioral and functional character. In no dog breed figure is aggression a talent in demand.

The optimum for any breed, from Poodle to Rottweiler, is always a healthy psychological balance, while any sign of aggression manifested during a dog show will result in disqualification. This means that no dog breed is aggressive by definition, but that among each individual race, may be born overly dominant individuals. This trait makes them incapable of performing the task they have been selected for. In the 70’s, the birth of Very Dominant (VD) subjects was very limited and unmanageable dogs were an exception.
In the 80’s and 90’s, their number increased exponentially, affecting the majority of subjects. In that period, the probability of having a dog with a problem in the family was consequently very high.

The circumstances were often that dog was good and affectionate because it did what it wanted, but took control of the family and the territory, biting anyone who went against it, or forced it to do something unpleasant. As further consequence, he prevented access to the house to whoever he believed unpleasant. The children were inevitably the first to undergo this situation, having a strong risk for bites.
Fortunately, the described situation has progressively decreased in the last decade, providing, however, far from the physiological numeric: dominant dogs are always in large quantity.

The Physiology of Aggression

The premise is that experiences don’t change the character, but they can modify the behavior.
If we analyze the most common causes of the behavioral disorders in dogs, we will see that the behavior of every dog is the result of an interaction between genetic and environmental components.

The first to manifest in the individuals character is represented in addition to the logic morphological similarities, from the behavioral characteristics inherited from the parents.

The environmental component will be strongly influenced by cohabitation with humans or other animals, from the education that he will receive from the territory where he will have to love, although the given character may not be completely transformed in some way.

If the dog has been genetically printed as a pack leader, it will never be able to pretend to be a follower.

Whoever receives a dominant subject needs to understand the large responsibility they are assuming.

To avoid choosing the “wrong” puppy (at least for the real characteristics), there are different tests that can assess the “reactivity” of the subject.

The Campbell Character Test. Like all the tests, it will not give certain answers, but represents an important screening to understand with “who has to do”. In the field of canine behavior, they hear thousands of different opinion, but it’s important to ask yourself if you to have the real answer although it’s uncomfortable, otherwise reassuring answers and make us feel good but it’s a false one.
How good it is to hear an answer from an “expert” that dangerous breeds don’t exist, and that gentle methods are the ideal ones! But then, if it’s not true, who will repay us for the unpleasant situations we should deal with our own dog and how will we react to reading that a dog has attacked or perhaps killed an adult or a child? Will we close our eyes and continue to claim that it is always the fault of the person?

It’s enough to see statistics about emergency room visits for injuries from bites to realize that the problem can’t be treated with phrases or with superficiality. The point is that if we assess the puppy with The Campbell Test, we will see that eighty percent of puppies are place within  the “Very Dominant” and “Dominant” zones, and that “Submissive” dogs are consequently very few.

Question: If experts correctly recommend choosing subjects with the most balanced psychological profile (not more than 20%), who should take the others?

Let’s try to identify the psychological profile of the puppy with The Campbell Test and through some simple exercises that it proposes.

The Psychological Profile of a Puppy

1) Temperament: identified by the speed of reaction against stimulus.

2) Temper: capacity to cope with negative stimulus, both physical and psychological, without modifying the real behavior.

3) Tameness: capacity to accept the human as a superior.

4) Sociality: capacity to interact and search for physical contact of unknown person.

5) Predisposition to be subject of stress.

6) Psychological balance.

7) Predisposition to aggression.