Dogs and cats aggressiveness

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For most people, dogs are sociable animals, while cats are thought differently, they are less sociable animals and a little more aggressive, but for a feline they are very docile.

Most people do not wonder how a dog or cat can live with a species as different as humans, what adaptations throughout history had to happen for them to live in so many homes.

 It is a fairly complex process, however, a very good adaptation of these two species with humans has been achieved, but it cannot be denied that they are still different species with different behaviors, instincts and needs, most homes have a tendency to humanize their dogs and cats, it is something natural in people, but what happens when their language is not understood and their needs are ignored, accidents and behavioral problems begin to occur.  These behaviors are normally frowned upon by people since they affect them directly, however it is also a responsibility of people to understand the language of these pets.

One of the most serious behavioral problems that costs many dogs their lives is aggressiveness, since large dogs can cause serious damage by biting, but what is the reason for this regular behavior in many dogs?

There are many triggers for a dog to attack, it should be clarified that the dog does not act with planning, it only complies with what its instinct tells it at the moment, among the most common causes is aggressiveness due to fear, dominance, intraspecific, anxiety for separation and other types of aggressiveness (Blackshaw 1988; Salman et al., 2000).

 Aggressiveness due to fear is the most common, people believe that dogs have an interaction similar to that of humans but no, it is very different, the space for a dog is very important, invading its territory is something that makes them nervous, many people do not respect the spaces of the dogs or even ask permission to touch them, all these bad behaviors cause the dogs to have a bad reaction, for this reason the most nervous dogs are usually the most aggressive, because it is their way of defending themselves against possible threats (King et al., 2003).

 Aggressiveness due to dominance usually occurs towards the owners, this occurs when the dog defends its food or objects of interest, it normally occurs because the dog has not been raised well and they do not trust anyone, this translates into that they can attack if any resource of interest is invaded (Blackshaw 1991).

Intraspecific aggressiveness occurs when we have several bony pets among themselves, this is very normal because it is the way they communicate, through growls or fights, to respect their resources, this can be a problem for the home because it is sought that they live in harmony, therefore it is important to delimit the territory of each animal that is kept at home (Duffy et al., 2008).

Separation anxiety occurs in most dogs, some tolerate it more than others, those that do not tolerate it have behavioral problems, this occurs because dogs are very sociable and their immediate caregiver is their owner, for the dog their owner everything is their safety, therefore when they are not they feel nervous and exposed to any threat, for this reason many dogs show aggressiveness because if they feel without their greatest protection in this case their owner (Kubinyi et al., 2009).

 There are many other reasons for aggressiveness, there is also that of maternity, this occurs in almost all species, the protection of their offspring comes first, this also happens with the owner since they feel that they must protect it and can attack if they feel that it is endangered.

Cats are not considered as potentially dangerous since they cannot do as much damage to people due to their size, however they present many behavioral problems because they are not as adaptable to people, people who have cats learn to respect them and adapt the cat, since it is an animal that does not change its behavior as much as dogs.

 It is important to understand that animals have their own language and although they live in our home we have to respect them as different species, we have the responsibility to meet their needs and anticipate their signals to avoid possible aggression.

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  • BLACKSHAW, J.K. (1988). Abnormal behavior in dogs. Australian Veterinary Journal, 65, 393-394.

  • BLACKSHAW, J.K. (1991). An overview of type of aggressive behaviour in dogs and methods of treatment. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 30, 351-361.

  • DUFFY, D.L., HSU, Y. & SERPELL, J.A. (2008). Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 114, 441-460.

  • KING, T., HEMSWORTH, PH. & COLEMAN, G.J. (2003). Fear of novel and startling stimuli in domestic dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 82, 45-64.

  • KUBINYI, E., PONGRÁCZ, P. & MIKLÓSI, A. (2009). Dog as a model for studying con- and heterospecific social learning. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 4, 31-41.

  • SALMAN, M., HUTCHISON, J. & RUCH-GALLIE, R. (2000). Behavioral reasons for relinquishment of dogs and cats to 12 shelters. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 3, 93-106.

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