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Essay on A Review of Dog Aggression, Causes, Training and Treatments

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There are many different dog breeds and they all have different temperaments, which is partly why many dog lovers are sometimes more particular to one breed than to others. Although not all seemingly unique breed behaviors are breed specific, most importantly aggression.
By definition aggression can mean a wide range of behaviors that occur for a large number of reasons under many different circumstances. Just about all wild animals are aggressive when guarding their territories, protecting their offspring and themselves.
To say that a dog is “aggressive” can mean many different things as well. Aggression includes a range of behaviors that have specific warning signs and can climax into an attack. A dog that displays such signs to people usually exhibits stay away warnings, such as becoming very still and rigid, guttural bark that sounds threatening, lunging forward or charging at the person with no contact, mouthing, as though to move or control the person, without applying significant pressure, a growl, showing teeth, or a quick nip that leaves no mark. More severe gestures are bites ranging from no marks on skin to bruises and puncture wounds, and repeated bites and shaking.
Sadly aggression is one of the most noted accounts for a dog owner to make the judgment to give up a pet. Sometimes, if a dog is considered behaviorally unsound and cannot be rehabilitated, euthanization is the last drastic step.
Aggression directed toward owners is not a unique occurrence, and it is one that causes an emotional struggle between owner and pet. Assessment and treatment of this troublesome behavior problem must take into account the owners safety as well as practical expectations for improvement. Comparatively mild aggression may be...


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14. Neilson J, Eckstein R, Hart B. Effects of castration on problem behaviors in male dogs with reference to age and duration of behavior. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997; 211:180–182.
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