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2021-12-29, 01:46

"I don't want an aggressive dog"

I've met with people and dogs and had fun times during the holidays. But one thing that really alarms me is a mindset I see popping up in many dog guardians. They say they don't want their dog to be aggressive and they do not tolerate their dog exhibiting "aggression".

I can totally understand that you do not want an aggressive dog which is fine and totally understandable.

What alarms me is what they consider to be aggression.

For some reason a lot of people consider growling to be an aggressive behaviour and they want their dog to never growl. I find this terrifying as these people will punish and correct growling in order for the dog to stop exhibiting this "aggressive behaviour".

This is a really bad idea.

Stop framing the dog with human values and try to consider the dogs actual feelings.

Why is the dog growling in the first place? Consider why. Is it really okay to remove a living creatures only way of expressing themself? Growling isn't aggression, in reality - growling is just a way for them to communicate fear or discomfort. They growl to warn us so that they don't have to resort to biting. They growl because you (or someone else) are doing something that violates their integrity.

The danger with correcting growling

There seems to be a missconception that growling is always followed with biting so if you correct the first behaviour, the dog will never bite. This couldn't be further from the thruth. What you're actually doing is removing the only way for the dog to express discomfort. This can instead create a dog that snaps at you seemingly "out of nowhere". Since they aren't allowed to growl they will just instead directly bite because they don't have any way of telling you.

As discussed in earlier threads, a dog doesn't have any reason to dominate or challenge you, a growling dog is just an uncomfortable dog who is just asking to be treated with respect.

The hard hitting thruth

You might have good intentions but please consider why growling bothers you. Is it for your dogs sake or your own? Is it just inconvienient to you? Are you worried about others perception of you because you want a well behaved dog?

Dogs are individuals. They are living breathing creatures with feelings as real as your own. They aren't more or less behaved for having integrity. Their worth should be respected.

Something I often encounter is dog guardians forcing their dogs to do various stuff. I've seen people force their shy dog to say hello to strangers even when they clearly exhibit signs of stress. I've seen people forcefully pet a dog or force them to be pet by a stranger. Just consider how you would feel if you were forced to hug people you didn' t know.

It sometimes feels like a dogs worth and feelings only matters to us whenever we find it convienient. It feels like a dog should always fit specific criterias, if not they get labeled as an aggressive dog. A problematic dog. A disobedient dog.

I think it can be good for us dog guardians, or all humans for that matter, to take a step back every now and then and reflect on our actions. Are we truly doing this for someone else's sake, or is it just for our own sake?

Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

  • Edited by Tismon 2022-05-24, 16:06
2021-12-29, 13:55

Very interesting! What is the right thing to do when a dog growls? Nothing?

We usually say to her in a calm voice that there’s no need to growl and either that there’s no one outside or that “that’s just x coming home”.

Best regards, Niklas 🎈

2021-12-29, 21:44

#1: It depends on the situation and why the dog is growling. Is the dog scared? Remove whatever is frightening them or move them to another room. Are you unable to remove the trigger and you are unable to move, distract them and give them something safe and fun to direct their focus on. Are you doing something to the dog that makes them uncomfortable I would suggest that you stop doing it. If it is something that cannot be avoided such as nail trimming you can slowly create possitive associations so that the dog feels safe instead of forcing them.

In your case there are many different ways to deal with it. Maybe desensitizing her would Help? :)

Correlation does not equal causation.

Host of Dogs and Art Savvity

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