My Photo


follow us in feedly

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Best Of KC Dog Blog

Become a Fan

« Is "Redemption" possible for KCMO Shelter? | Main | Media reports of media reports on a local dog attack »

October 21, 2007



"'Animals don't turn on their owners, it's a process of behavior they were allowed to do from early on and now it's escalted to being very dangerous.' I think this is a great quote because too often people will say 'my dog just snapped' when the reality is, the dog has most likely shown signs of this behavior building for months or years and nothing was done to re-establish right and wrong..."

Personally, I like to put it this way, "A bite is never the first sign of aggressive behaviour in dogs. It's the last."

The scale of escalation for aggressive behaviours in dogs is relatively predictable. What starts off as a dog wishing to manipulate its environment (which all do) or who feels uncomfortable in a situation, and who demonstrates this by staring or stiffening its body will, if left unchecked, likely escalate those behaviours to menacing barking, growling, raised lips, lunging, attempted bites, and finally successful bites.

This explains the all too common (but completely erroneous) claim that some dogs involved in unprovoked attacks had never behaved aggressively before. At best, what their owners mean is they'd never successfully bitten previously. More often, the owners either ignored, or are denying, previous aggression incidents, especially those that didn't involve successful bites.

Augmenting this attitude of apathy or denial is the extremely common public belief that aggressive behaviours in dogs are "normal", "expected", or even beneficial. Many people acquire dogs with the expressed hope they can encourage them to behave aggressively (often naively believing this aggressive behaviour will be limited to "bad" people, and never directed at innocent people or animals).

A dog that is manipulating its owners today, via stares, growls, attempted bites, etc., is a dog in the highest category for potential to bite unprovoked, in the future. Conversely, despite years of dog bite research, I've never come across an unprovoked biting incident involving a responsibly-owned dog (with no history of aggressive behaviour).


Good quotes from both of you.

You also get the twits who purchase what they believe to be an 'attack' dog, then attack it. Bad move.

Dogs don't 'turn' on their owners one day (the way people often do) unless they are diseased, in pain or disordered in some way. They are consistent and completely trustworthy - if you know how to read and handle them.

Too many twits have dogs who shouldn't and the lack of active enforcement of protocol regulations is allowing them to proliferate.

Dogs don't want to bite anyone, that's what isn't widely understood. It's a last resort for them as social animals and even then, most bites are not worth mentioning.

Abuse, neglect, enabling behaviours and deliberate training are what will make a dog nasty, they aren't wired to be that way.


I meant people will turn on their friends, not their owners....I should read before hitting 'post' more often...


Keep me updated on the story in Liberty, although I think somehow that Pit Bulls will get blamed for it or Liberty will try to ban Presa Canarios next, followed by INDY, then Sugar Creek, then Grandview and so and so as usal. Oh! And KCK will inform us on their 100 year old ban on Presa Canarios that never was inforced.

The comments to this entry are closed.