Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression
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    Junior Member VultureHyena's Avatar
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    Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    I believe there is a tiny bit of mostly forgotten research about so-called "Cocker Rage Syndrome" in cocker spaniels and other breeds, or Sudden Onset Aggression, a possibly seizure-related or disorder, which has been most extensively researched by Dr Ilana Reisner. Her work traces this form of aggression to a specific stud in the 50s and his bloodline in Spaniels, though its not scientifically accepted as being an easily defined disorder or even inheritable. But, in any case, if more aggression cases were looked at from a veterinary perspective, treated like diseases, and tested for by breeders, this could prevent dog attacks, as well as help families of dogs showing signs of aggression to understand and make decisions about training, treatment with drugs, and euthanasia.

    Dogs bite, a lot. And there are a million reasons for it. A lot of aggression in dogs is problems of environment, poor training, and factors we understand such as maternal aggression, fear, resource guarding, and the likes. And people could certainly do a better job with bite prevention by socializing, supervising dogs with kids, and understanding dog body language. But as for horrible, hugely damaging or even lethal dog attacks, and for dogs that just are "that way" for no discernable reason- that's not normal. It must be a disease, one of many, either treatable or not, genetic or acquired.

    **As a side note rant, the genetic element to aggression is not about breed. No breeds are bred by the usual and responsible breeders to be unpredictable, excessively belligerent, and especially not to bite their own owners. Breeds have traits, like, say, mastiffs are more likely to be standoffish around strangers, but they're diverse and each individual is different, some mastiffs won't be that way. And standoffish should not mean preventing all welcomed visitors into your home with a mauling. And once you get into mixed breeds, different lines of breeds, and "pit bull type dogs" that are not a breed but maybe four breeds and a bunch of mutts, that's a whole other mess. So, in conclusion, both breed and aggression is too complex to write off an entire group of dogs as "vicious". But that doesn't mean there isn't genetics involved, or that there is possibly a disease that became common in a specific lineage of a breed. It just means that we don't understand it.

    If a gene sequence is discovered for a few different disorders, Genetic testing for aggression related disorders could help breeders of breeds with reputations (like Rottweilers, Staffies, american pit bull terriers) as well as those with truly higher population-proportionate bite rates and American Temperament test failures (Cockers, Great Danes, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Malamutes) ensure no recessive disorders show up in their puppies and better their breed. With a thorough understanding of genetic components of attacking dogs, maybe anti-pit people who apparently don't go outside and see all the terribly mundane blocky-headed dogs just being pets, and the victim-blaming or "it's how you raise 'em" lovers of the breed can come together to both stop life-altering dog attacks and save sound, innocent dogs from prejudice. Though it is a little funny that when a cocker bites, it calls for an investigation into a "seizure disorder", and when a pit or rottie does, it's "what did you expect?"

    At the same time, understanding of environmental and training aspects of dog behavior is also important in bite prevention, and also needs to be studied more. Dog training seems to change every few years, and everyone has a different opinion. All in all, more understanding of the mind of a dog is, of course, beneficial to the relationship between dog and man.

    As for breeders, the best you can do is to breed for temperament first, and a more popularized use of the American Temperament Test Society's test to curb unhelpful traits could be beneficial. As for veterinarians and biologists, I have to wonder why this isn't well researched. And as for trainers- pay attention to science, read scholarly journals on animal behavior, and let training become more science than art.

    Now, plenty of people have discussed medical, genetic, and environmental reasons for mental illness in humans, and that is fascinating. And also not well understood enough to "fix" as much as we'd like. It's very cool to see things like depression and PTSD go from being a person who is "crazy" to a disorder that one can seek help for and better understand. But that's for another forum.

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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    We were discussing Pits the other day at club. One of the issues with the breed is there are so many being bred with no thought of genetics or behavior.

    In fact, in the pure bred dog community that focuses on conformation and NOT temperament we also see a LOT of fear, aggression, nerve and conflict.

    At one time, as a pure bred (working) dog owner, I thought of fostering (to give back to the dog community). I looked into it and almost EVERY foster was a Pit mix in my area. The issue is trying to determine which has the genetic hard wiring to be aggressive to other dogs (which has been bred for) or to people (another breed trait.. since the Nanny dog discussion has been brought out as a myth). Often you just don't know in a dog under a year old. The behavior comes out with maturity.

    I just could not risk a foster and that was the end of that.

    Dog aggression and handler aggression was a topic recently discussed in one of my training groups on line. Both are considered to be largely genetic although handler aggression CAN be the reaction of unfair corrections or unfair training in a strong, confident dog.

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    that is the top reason I frown upon (said designer dogs) years and years, decades have gone into a breed to set specific character traits and temperaments. Not as guidelines but solid definitions of a breed. There is a balance of strong intense traits with safety switches as owner/family orientated easy to handle and to live with, strong nervous systems, high intelligence to know the differences of working not working, threat, no threat. It's a shame that the balanced dog is lost with tunnel vision breeding and new owners lack the understanding of how vital it is for each breed.

    It's almost impossible to find a farrier for my Drafts... majority now want nothing to do with drafts and it is because there was a surge of breeding solely for show, and even the judges failing the breeds by champion poor temperaments.. Bigger, Flashier, nervy, high strung , unwilling , hard to handle.. That is not a correct draft. The safety switch for a 1800 to 2200 lb animal, is standard in size for the job in their breed, docile, willing worker, strong nervous system... It's the same with dog breeds you can't count of the breed standards when not bred for balance in their oginal breed standards..

    A GSD not tough enough for you,, get yourself another breed that is designed that way like a Mal, or dutch shepherd .. don't alter and total screw of a breed to make it what it's not suppose to be .. it doesn't work...

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    Junior Member VultureHyena's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    So, you think it's less a misunderstanding of genetics than a disregard for careful breeding?

    Then maybe the best thing would be mandatory (and free for low income households) spay and neuter for dogs over 2 years, unless a breeder's license is obtained, which could require temperament testing and genetic health testing, and maybe a home visit to ensure cleanliness and the likes. This could not only be for temperament, but for the other woes of purebred dogs that breeders disregard, such as obesity in labs and such. My town has mandatory spay and neuter without a license, but it's not enforced and to my knowledge there's nothing a breeder has to do to prove their responsibility other than maybe pay a fee. Though I still stand by that a more scientific understanding of the genetics would still be helpful- imagine being able to test for specific aggression related DNA sequences and understanding how they were inherited (dominance, co-dominance, sex linkage, gene linkage).

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    I think its more of a breeding issue myself. Like with guarding and protection breeds, theres not a whole lot of actual real testing to identify flaws and strengths. Its a small percentage of people out there who actually work the dogs and really know what they're breeding or owning. How do you know what the dog will really do if its not tested? Theres alot of people out there breeding dogs that have the aggression a breed ought to but something else is off in the temperament and you have a dangerous dog. Weak nerves is a huge one, and alot of breeders say that nerves is just about the first thing to go with sub par breeding.
    Pitbull types- where I grew up fighting pits was/is still a thing. Its horrible but it goes on. I had an acquaintance whose family bred game pits for the " sport ". Again, breeding. Those dogs were totally non people aggressive- they didnt want to deal with dogs that would turn that level of aggression towards people.
    Theres of coarse medical issues that cause aggression, but thats probably a small part next to all the faulty breeding.
    My personal opinion is that when a breed that was bred to do a job stops doing that job the way it was intended to, the temperaments start to immediately suffer due to that lack of testing of the dogs. Cane corsos are still being used in protection work and sport. The bullmastiff however, while still a mastiff breed ( and a breed that was created purely to track, run down, and detain poachers in the forest of all things- a relatively athletic man hunting dog) is in no way shape or form cut out for it nowadays. BM breeders now mostly say the dogs shouldn't even bite but use their bodyweight to hold a man down. Yeah right. Its a shame. The breed founders said different. So now you get the occasional BM with some real aggression, which it ought to have in the first place, and the dog is a real problem because that aggression isnt really bred for and the other parts of the temperament that make that aggression useful instead of a liability arent there- because its not being bred for. One is still being tested and used for work while the other has not been for a very long time, and the breeding shows it. German shepherd history also has a wealth of information about the decline of temperament, its worth the time reading, and aggression and nerve strength are a big part of it.

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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I think its more of a breeding issue myself. Like with guarding and protection breeds, theres not a whole lot of actual real testing to identify flaws and strengths. Its a small percentage of people out there who actually work the dogs and really know what they're breeding or owning. How do you know what the dog will really do if its not tested? Theres alot of people out there breeding dogs that have the aggression a breed ought to but something else is off in the temperament and you have a dangerous dog. Weak nerves is a huge one, and alot of breeders say that nerves is just about the first thing to go with sub par breeding.
    Pitbull types- where I grew up fighting pits was/is still a thing. Its horrible but it goes on. I had an acquaintance whose family bred game pits for the " sport ". Again, breeding. Those dogs were totally non people aggressive- they didnt want to deal with dogs that would turn that level of aggression towards people.
    Theres of coarse medical issues that cause aggression, but thats probably a small part next to all the faulty breeding.
    My personal opinion is that when a breed that was bred to do a job stops doing that job the way it was intended to, the temperaments start to immediately suffer due to that lack of testing of the dogs. Cane corsos are still being used in protection work and sport. The bullmastiff however, while still a mastiff breed ( and a breed that was created purely to track, run down, and detain poachers in the forest of all things- a relatively athletic man hunting dog) is in no way shape or form cut out for it nowadays. BM breeders now mostly say the dogs shouldn't even bite but use their bodyweight to hold a man down. Yeah right. Its a shame. The breed founders said different. So now you get the occasional BM with some real aggression, which it ought to have in the first place, and the dog is a real problem because that aggression isnt really bred for and the other parts of the temperament that make that aggression useful instead of a liability arent there- because its not being bred for. One is still being tested and used for work while the other has not been for a very long time, and the breeding shows it. German shepherd history also has a wealth of information about the decline of temperament, its worth the time reading, and aggression and nerve strength are a big part of it.
    This. And today we have a very general lack of understanding about dogs with all the of the fur baby thinking. Add to that a truly strong, confident dog in the hands of someone who is unsuited for that dog and you can have a disaster. A dog with the temperament of a patrol dog WITH good nerves is a dog that needs structure and clarity. Unfair correction will have this dog coming up the leash. No structure and a fount of rainbows and cookies rewarding the dog incorrectly can end up with the exact same thing.

    Was at a German style conformation show for German Shepherds a few months ago. The breed is split into 3 lines.. American show Lines, West German Show Lines and Working lines (which have additional splits and traits). At this show there were no American Lines. The German Show lines displayed serious temperament issues.. Nerve, defensive nerve, dog aggression, fearfulness.. All of these things are faulty and the judge pinned them anyway. Some of these dogs were from what have been considered "good" breeders. The dogs were pretty. I daresay most would not be able to work.

    And to that end, they keep making the basic test better suited to Show lines so they can qualify as breeding dogs under the German System (which requires a dog to have its korring and to have at least an IPG 1). (formerly Schutzhund 1). The dogs must also have passing hip and elbow xrays , Complete set of teeth, no over or under bite and have upright ears etc..

    When you change the test so more can pass you will also deteriorate the breed.

    In the working lines we still get some pretty serious dogs that work and do well. Careful breeding and good handling and training still produces some stunningly correct animals both physically and temperamentally.

    Other working breeds are on the brink of having serious temperament break downs and inconsistent behaviors even in the same litter. There are very few Dutch Shepherds and Dobermans with good nerve and good work ethic. Often they are defensive and nervy and the "drive" is often not there or is misdirected. Under pressure they fold or become unstable. Even in a litter there is little consistency in temperament between litter mates. The parts of original temperament that remain are not balanced against the other parts of temperament (such as confidence).
    Last edited by 3GSD4IPO; 03-26-2019 at 11:28 AM.

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    Senior Member Moonstream's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by VultureHyena View Post
    I believe there is a tiny bit of mostly forgotten research about so-called "Cocker Rage Syndrome" in cocker spaniels and other breeds, or Sudden Onset Aggression, a possibly seizure-related or disorder, which has been most extensively researched by Dr Ilana Reisner. Her work traces this form of aggression to a specific stud in the 50s and his bloodline in Spaniels, though its not scientifically accepted as being an easily defined disorder or even inheritable. But, in any case, if more aggression cases were looked at from a veterinary perspective, treated like diseases, and tested for by breeders, this could prevent dog attacks, as well as help families of dogs showing signs of aggression to understand and make decisions about training, treatment with drugs, and euthanasia.

    ...

    If a gene sequence is discovered for a few different disorders, Genetic testing for aggression related disorders could help breeders of breeds with reputations (like Rottweilers, Staffies, american pit bull terriers) as well as those with truly higher population-proportionate bite rates and American Temperament test failures (Cockers, Great Danes, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Malamutes) ensure no recessive disorders show up in their puppies and better their breed. With a thorough understanding of genetic components of attacking dogs, maybe anti-pit people who apparently don't go outside and see all the terribly mundane blocky-headed dogs just being pets, and the victim-blaming or "it's how you raise 'em" lovers of the breed can come together to both stop life-altering dog attacks and save sound, innocent dogs from prejudice. Though it is a little funny that when a cocker bites, it calls for an investigation into a "seizure disorder", and when a pit or rottie does, it's "what did you expect?"

    ...

    At the same time, understanding of environmental and training aspects of dog behavior is also important in bite prevention, and also needs to be studied more. Dog training seems to change every few years, and everyone has a different opinion. All in all, more understanding of the mind of a dog is, of course, beneficial to the relationship between dog and man.

    As for breeders, the best you can do is to breed for temperament first, and a more popularized use of the American Temperament Test Society's test to curb unhelpful traits could be beneficial. As for veterinarians and biologists, I have to wonder why this isn't well researched. And as for trainers- pay attention to science, read scholarly journals on animal behavior, and let training become more science than art.

    Now, plenty of people have discussed medical, genetic, and environmental reasons for mental illness in humans, and that is fascinating. And also not well understood enough to "fix" as much as we'd like. It's very cool to see things like depression and PTSD go from being a person who is "crazy" to a disorder that one can seek help for and better understand. But that's for another forum.
    A few reactions
    (1) On your comment 'It is a little funny that when a cocker bites, it calls for an investigation into a "seizure disorder", and when a pit or rottie does, it's "what did you expect?"' - what you are describing in your first paragraph is NOT just a Cocker biting. True, it is an over-applied term and the majority of bites landed by Cockers are not situations of sudden onset aggression/ideopathic aggression. True instances of this disorder are thought to be seizure related activity because there are no warnings, the dog launches into the behavior with no prior escalation, and often when they come out of that response either don't behave like they just launched into an extreme aggressive display or seem confused. It is not a normal aggressive response. A lot of people in the breed prefer to blame this than admit that, for example, there are some widespread genetic resource guarding tendencies in certain lines of cocker, however, and it is over applied.

    (2) Identifying genetic markers for behavior is much easier said than done. For one, temperament is a polygenic, epigenetic process. Behavioral tendencies are coded for by many different genes acting together, and the expression of certain genes is modified over time/by experience. We might be able to eventually begin to identify genetic predispositions for certain disorders (I believe a gene linked with the expression of OCD in humans and COCD in dogs has been identified), but it will likely be a long time yet before that is actually useful breeding information. Add to that that the presence of a mutation predisposing the dog towards a certain behavior doesn't mean every dog showing that mutation will display that behavior.

    I do agree that a reputable breeder ideally knows enough about dog behavior to make reasoned decisions, but unfortunately there are a lot of different models for dog behavior out there that you can learn, not all of which are arguably the most supported by the science.

    My opinion is that the best trainers that are out there changing dog behavior are spending a great deal of time familiarizing themselves with the most current literature, and are also familiarizing themselves with possible pharmaceutical interventions and the current recommendations by veterinary behaviorists. This is true of both R+ only trainers AND those in the more balanced training community that may be willing to use aversives/training tools but also don't downplay the significance of pharmaceutical intervention in cases that would benefit or argue that the use of aversives can cut through the need for medication.

    At the end of the day, behaviorally unbalanced dogs are *always* going to be an issue. People buy puppies that show huge red flag behaviors as puppies, and then don't get help for those behaviors until dogs have already made contact or are starting to be actual dangers. People still buy puppies without meeting the parents, and think that the fact that the breeder claims the dogs are AKC registered means that they are going to be healthy. They read 3 sentences online that state all the good stuff about a breed in very coded language ("easy to train", "loyal to owners, aloof with strangers", "bred to guard property and livestock") and then get wholly unsuitable breeds for their energy level, lifestyle, and dog handling ability because the paragraph about them on the animal planet breed match search seemed so great. Then, when the dog is a year old, they realize they need to rehome it because it isn't "settling down".

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    My personal opinion is that when a breed that was bred to do a job stops doing that job the way it was intended to, the temperaments start to immediately suffer due to that lack of testing of the dogs. Cane corsos are still being used in protection work and sport.
    ...
    So now you get the occasional BM with some real aggression, which it ought to have in the first place, and the dog is a real problem because that aggression isnt really bred for and the other parts of the temperament that make that aggression useful instead of a liability arent there- because its not being bred for.
    THIS, 100X.

    The current state of the purebred dog makes me so sad to see. So many dogs that have 0 working ability to do what they were bred to do. That isn't a problem when the main tempermental traits of that dog translate easily into family life. Labs and Goldens, for example. Because Labs and Goldens were bred for easy going temperaments that allowed them to hunt with other dogs and to be easily directed at a distance by their handlers under extremely exciting situations, to be easy to introduce to new people, and because their main drive is to get stuff and bring it back to you, even with sloppy selection on historical temperament in many breeding programs, you still get great pets.

    Take an aussie or a corgi though. Bred to use their mouth and voice to get other animals to do what they say, but also bred to take direction from humans from a distance. Take away the breeding for cooperation with their handler, and suddenly you have a very physically bossy dog. Add in the fact that they're often being bought for life in a city or suburb where their guardian nature is overloaded by constant invasions of other people into their territory, and they're often understimulated by their owners. They often don't get any basic training, and are often brought into families with children who do not treat them with the respect they think they deserve. And their are some seriously nervy temperaments in many lines. So they use their mouths to tell everyone off, and react out of fear, and get their way until they start doing actual damage.

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Why we need to understand the science and veterinary medicine of aggression

    No, taking away individual peoples rights or dictating individual ownership. not what I am saying at all, Educating the public about unwanted breeding and altering has been highly successful. They have to import dogs or transfer dogs across the nation for the shortages .

    Public education of breed standards and why these set standards are important. Less people understand purpose in dog breeds. All you get is the don't shop adopt BS , When educating the public was effective that the public was being more diligent about breeders,,,, The puppy mill, byb community adapted their marketing skills,, then they went to designer dogs Education is lost for average owners. if byb breeders can't sell they dump them or advertise some sorry sad story that they are now (rescue litters) There is enough (Fake Base) rescues with their own intact puppy mill breeder network that charge extreme amounts of money.. Your no longer adopting your buying high end puppy mill

    The average owner does what they need to do. A respectable breeder does what needs to be done. There is enough guidelines in place already that are already being followed by respectable people doing the right things. Main thing is continued education ....


    Quote Originally Posted by VultureHyena View Post
    So, you think it's less a misunderstanding of genetics than a disregard for careful breeding?

    Then maybe the best thing would be mandatory (and free for low income households) spay and neuter for dogs over 2 years, unless a breeder's license is obtained, which could require temperament testing and genetic health testing, and maybe a home visit to ensure cleanliness and the likes. This could not only be for temperament, but for the other woes of purebred dogs that breeders disregard, such as obesity in labs and such. My town has mandatory spay and neuter without a license, but it's not enforced and to my knowledge there's nothing a breeder has to do to prove their responsibility other than maybe pay a fee. Though I still stand by that a more scientific understanding of the genetics would still be helpful- imagine being able to test for specific aggression related DNA sequences and understanding how they were inherited (dominance, co-dominance, sex linkage, gene linkage).

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    Quote Originally Posted by VultureHyena View Post
    I believe there is a tiny bit of mostly forgotten research about so-called "Cocker Rage Syndrome" in cocker spaniels and other breeds, or Sudden Onset Aggression, a possibly seizure-related or disorder, which has been most extensively researched by Dr Ilana Reisner. Her work traces this form of aggression to a specific stud in the 50s and his bloodline in Spaniels, though its not scientifically accepted as being an easily defined disorder or even inheritable. But, in any case, if more aggression cases were looked at from a veterinary perspective, treated like diseases, and tested for by breeders, this could prevent dog attacks, as well as help families of dogs showing signs of aggression to understand and make decisions about training, treatment with drugs, and euthanasia.
    I agree and there is genetic research being done into both aggression and other issues. In time we will have more treatment options and a better understanding.


    Dogs bite, a lot. And there are a million reasons for it. A lot of aggression in dogs is problems of environment, poor training, and factors we understand such as maternal aggression, fear, resource guarding, and the likes. And people could certainly do a better job with bite prevention by socializing, supervising dogs with kids, and understanding dog body language. But as for horrible, hugely damaging or even lethal dog attacks, and for dogs that just are "that way" for no discernable reason- that's not normal. It must be a disease, one of many, either treatable or not, genetic or acquired.
    Aggression is a broad term and the reasons are in fact many. There is a huge genetic component and it is up to the owner to properly manage their dog and prevent said dog from harming others. Education on different forms of aggression, body language and bite prevention, understanding genetics behind it and how to work with an aggressive dog and also understanding environmental factors would be very helpful.

    **As a side note rant, the genetic element to aggression is not about breed. No breeds are bred by the usual and responsible breeders to be unpredictable, excessively belligerent, and especially not to bite their own owners. Breeds have traits, like, say, mastiffs are more likely to be standoffish around strangers, but they're diverse and each individual is different, some mastiffs won't be that way. And standoffish should not mean preventing all welcomed visitors into your home with a mauling. And once you get into mixed breeds, different lines of breeds, and "pit bull type dogs" that are not a breed but maybe four breeds and a bunch of mutts, that's a whole other mess. So, in conclusion, both breed and aggression is too complex to write off an entire group of dogs as "vicious". But that doesn't mean there isn't genetics involved, or that there is possibly a disease that became common in a specific lineage of a breed. It just means that we don't understand it.
    Good breeders don't breed unstable dogs true, BUT the problem is that many dogs are bred by bybs who don't care about temperament or are very ignorant. I can't even begin to count how many have said their dog has a great temperament and is "protective" when it is a reactive fear aggressive dog.

    If a gene sequence is discovered for a few different disorders, Genetic testing for aggression related disorders could help breeders of breeds with reputations (like Rottweilers, Staffies, american pit bull terriers) as well as those with truly higher population-proportionate bite rates and American Temperament test failures (Cockers, Great Danes, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Malamutes) ensure no recessive disorders show up in their puppies and better their breed. With a thorough understanding of genetic components of attacking dogs, maybe anti-pit people who apparently don't go outside and see all the terribly mundane blocky-headed dogs just being pets, and the victim-blaming or "it's how you raise 'em" lovers of the breed can come together to both stop life-altering dog attacks and save sound, innocent dogs from prejudice. Though it is a little funny that when a cocker bites, it calls for an investigation into a "seizure disorder", and when a pit or rottie does, it's "what did you expect?"
    Genes for aggression have been discovered and there has been continued research into finding more genes for aggressive behaviors and again other behaviors / traits. One thing to keep in mind is that aggression is acceptable in some breeds depending on the type of aggression and the breed. Dog aggression is acceptable in Pit Bulls, often they are dog selective or have a lower threshold, some might have fight drive, and prey drive (which people would deem animal aggressive). Human aggression isn't acceptable that would include redirected aggression, fear aggression, resource guarding, unstable/unpredictable temperament and with strangers should as well be social rather than standoffish or aggressive. Yet Caucasian Ovcharka should have defense drive which in turn the dog will display aggression and reactivity to people, but of course not be aggressive towards family, have a low prey drive, but react to animals that are a threat. So all this needs to be kept in mind. One big thing is that responsible breeders are NOT the problem. While a test sounds great the majority of Pit Bulls or Pit mixes with unstable temperaments or uncharacteristical aggression are being bred by byb who don't care, they don't health test and are not going to invest in genetic behavior trait test so it won't improve. Good breeders already practice selective breeding, a genetic test could give more assurances but I already don't worry about well bred dogs having off temperament, it isn't at a high frequency to cause alarm. It is bybs, I've had zero issues with well bred Cane Corso, but have seen unpredictable aggression, fear aggression and over reactive responses by byb Cane Corso as well as resource guarding, so this is an issue spread across most breeds as same can be said of many breeds.

    As for breeders, the best you can do is to breed for temperament first, and a more popularized use of the American Temperament Test Society's test to curb unhelpful traits could be beneficial. As for veterinarians and biologists, I have to wonder why this isn't well researched. And as for trainers- pay attention to science, read scholarly journals on animal behavior, and let training become more science than art.
    But ATTS doesn't fail dog for aggression. They take into account breed though and other aspects. That means one dog could pass and another fail even though both exhibited the same behavior.

    Now, plenty of people have discussed medical, genetic, and environmental reasons for mental illness in humans, and that is fascinating. And also not well understood enough to "fix" as much as we'd like. It's very cool to see things like depression and PTSD go from being a person who is "crazy" to a disorder that one can seek help for and better understand. But that's for another forum.
    Yes and they're doing the same for dogs as well. I also know people with dogs on medication. I find the genetic aspect to be very fascinating and then further understanding how to chemically influence and combat behavior to aid owners.

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