Recently I have been working with an “Aggressive” Presa Canario crossed with a Neapolitan Mastiff. Many would say the aggression is down to his breeding, “Their is nothing that can be done”, “He’s born that way”, and many other such excuses are often bounded about with dogs like these. Where as if I told you it was a Labradoodle, different opinions might appear, such as “He must have been attacked”, “It was under socialised”.
Well frankly, it is none of those excuses, in all the times this Presa has been aggressive, the other dog caused it. Some are too quick to label a dog “aggressive”, a better more accurate statement is “grump” or “not dog friendly”.
In the instances, the other dog had run up to the Presa, uninvited, with the owner unable to recall their dog. The Presa Canario is a breed that is bred to hunt wild boars, it is a breed that makes a loyal companion to many. It is a breed that in some cases does not tolerate being ran at, and then jumped on. But whoa there, who does like that?
If I was to run at you, a stranger, and pull you into a hug, your going to do one a several things. 1. Punch me in the face, 2. Push me away, 3. Shout at me, 4. Ignore it, or 5. Hug me back.
It could be down to breeding or training, but nower days dogs are more tolerant of each other. Which means when faced with a dog bounding at them they are more likely to pick options 4 or 5. Which is when you see two dogs, who have never met join a game of play.
The other options are more reactive approaches, 3. Is the dog growling to get rid of the other dog. This is where many owners step in and tell their dog off. The dog has done nothing wrong, he is allowed to tell the other dog to buzz off. Honestly I would encourage him to in some cases, so the dog leaves. In some cases it will esculate the situation, and the dogs might escalate into options 1. and 2. Which pans out something like this.
“Aggressive Dog”:”Oi don’t hug me, I don’t like it” *Growls*
“Running over dog” : “I’m just being friendly, don’t take it so seriously” *Body language starts to change* (At this point the owner ususaly shouts “Oh he’s very friendly”, to which you reply “Mine isn’t could you call him please”, the owner calls….dog ignores)
“Aggressive Dog” : “Look I’d like you to leave please, or I’ll make you leave, I am not comfortable”.
“Running Dog”: “Will you now, go on them make me”
“Aggressive Dog” : *Growls, Tail Up. Hackles Up* “Go Now” (This stage many owners tell their dog off, the best thing to do I leave, or make the other dog go away…throw treats or a toy, or shoo the dog away, anything to distract the dog, if the owner isn’t getting it under control.)
“Running Dog” “No, I don’t think I will” *Copies posture*
“Aggressive Dog” *Goes in for fight*
This is the stage where the other owner stammers something about their dog just being friendly, calls you everything under the sun and drags their dog away, cooing at it about the nasty dog.
Your left being deflated, upset and worried about your dog. Your dog is feeling these emotions and vows to never let that dog upset you again.
So who caused the aggression?
The cocky running dog with no training or dog manners, who has been allowed to be a bully.
This happened with the Presa, except this happens in about 4 seconds. So you as the owner don’t see the warning signs.The Presa is a loving breed, but not dog tolerant. It doesn’t mean he hates other dogs, only he likes his friends, and everyone else can stuff off. Another breed such as Poodle, might go from option 3 to 1 in 5 minutes, each dog is different, not just in breed but personality, and experiences.
In other breeds their more voice involved, the dogs don’t want to fight, so mouth off.
In most cases it is the other “Friendly” dog that causes the issues, these are the owners I get coming to me. The other owners never understand or admit the trouble they cause so many dog owners. As well as never admitting their dog is an issue.
If you dog isn’t looking out for a fight, chances are he isn’t aggressive, only not dog friendly. You always do your best to keep them away from other dogs, and have an amazing bond. Your not the problem, so never think that. The idiot with the dog without recall and impulse control is. It’s these people I want to see coming to me for training, recall is so easy to achieve with a little effort and time. It would save all dog owners problems.
I have added a poster that sums it up for many dog owners.
It drives me nuts to see these owners so upset their dog is “Aggressive”, I’ve had tears about it. And its not fair, they work hard to bring up their dog right and do, until someone else can’t control their dogs.
Remember at the end of the day, if your dog wanted to kill another dog they would. Their wouldn’t be a sound. Dogs are effective killers, all fights and noise is for show. Very few dogs want to kill other dogs, just make them go as far away as possible. Help your dog achieve this with distraction of the other dog, and removing your dog from the situation. They need to know your their to back them up.
No dog is truly an aggressive dog. It’s up to a competent behaviourist to assess the dog, labels are just that. Dogs can be labeled as “Garlic”, and garlic powder labelled as “Aggressive”, it doesn’t make it true.