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Aggressive versus Passive Dogs

Just as humans have personalities and ways of acting, so do animals. When you decide to adopt a dog, one of the things youíll take into consideration is whether you want to go for a passive quiet dog, an outgoing aggressive dog, or one somewhere in between. If you need or want a guard dog, obviously an aggressive type would be what youíd look for. If you have young children or are elderly, a more passive breed would be much better for your situation. When you start studying the breeds, youíll know about general characteristics and once you start actually meeting some dogs; youíll be able to evaluate individuals.

In the working world there are good reasons to pick one over the other. If you are in law-enforcement or security and employ a bomb sniffing dog, you definitely want one who is willing to sit quietly by the suspected weapon, rather than digging and pawing at it. If you need a dog for a K-9 police unit, he or she should be willing and able to chase and bring down a criminal. Drug dogs are also on the aggressive side as they learn to try and dig out the drugs they find. Those adorable little Beagles that work for US customs are a combination of both behaviours. They are assertive enough to seek out fruits and vegetables, but their training has taught them to just sit once they find them being smuggled or brought in by mistake.

Most areas, at least in cities, have strongly enforced leash laws, but there is always someone who doesnít obey it or dogs that escape from their homes or leashes. Ideally an aggressive dog should never set eyes on an innocent person unless itís through a high chain-link fence. Too many of us have found out the hard way that we should always expect the unexpected. Far too many people are attacked each year and severely injured or even killed. A lot of them are children. If for some reason you think you must have an aggressive dog, be sure that it canít attack an innocent person. Also be aware that some of the ďscarierĒ breeds do sometimes make wonderful pets, but they do have aggression in their heritage, and you never know when it will surface. If for instance you have a Rottweiler, Doberman Pincer, or Pit Bull, donít let children unfamiliar with how to act around dogs anywhere near him unless they are properly supervised.

What should you do if you are out for a stroll or a run and suddenly find yourself confronted by an angry looking aggressive dog? Your first instinct is to run (if youíre not running already) but donít do it. If you are running or jogging, slow way down and stop if the dog doesnít back off. Donít engage in eye contact with the dog and donít make any sudden movements that may be seen by him as aggression on your part. Try being friendly using your best happy doggie voice. Turn your hands palm side up and start telling him or her that itís such a lovely and sweet dog. Do your very best not to show how scared you actually are. With luck, the dog will believe you and want to be friends. Spend another minute interacting and then turn slowly and walk away. It may sound cruel but if you know you are likely to have an experience such as this you may want to start carrying pepper spray with you. Use it only as a last resort, but you do have a right to protect yourself. Once you are safe, report the problem to your local animal control so they can investigate why the dog is running loose.


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