Aggression–Learned Behavior or Instinct?
If you are like most pet owners, you probably cringe when you hear statistics about dog bites in the United States. Over one million dog bites are reported each year in the US alone, but experts state that when unreported bites are added to this figure, it may exceed four million. These sobering statistics lead many people to wonder if canine aggression is learned behavior or instinctual. If the latter is the case, there may not be much that can be done to change these grim statistics.
Most people are aware of the fact that virtually all canine breeds have descended from wolves. Obviously, wolves are wild animals, and therefore behave differently from domestic canines. However, when one considers the number of dog bites that occur in the United States in one year, there is reason to believe that certain wildness remains in our furry friends, regardless of how well we attempt to teach them appropriate behavior. This is certainly evident when one considers the fact that certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, are known for bitting. In fact, experts state that 67 percent of all dog bite victims are bitten by one of the aforementioned breeds. Somehow it just doesn’t seem possible that in all these cases, the dog was trained to act this way by its owner. Most dog owners make an effort to be responsible, and therefore it may simply be that such breeds have retained more wildness than others.
Because dogs are animals, and therefore cannot reason, the responsibility to prevent canine attacks falls on mankind. Those who own dogs should do everything in their power to train them appropriately from the time they are a puppy, and well into adulthood. Those who own breeds that are known for aggression should always ensure that their dogs are kept on a leash or in a fenced in area. When responsibility is accepted by dog owners, experts believe that it is possible to control the number of dog bites that occur each year. For this reason, all dog owners should put forth a genuine effort regarding this common goal.