Many breeds of dogs including Rottweilers and pit bulls get a bad rep for being aggressive. However as any dog bite lawyer knows, not all dogs belonging to these breeds are involved in attacks. Often, it is the owner of the dog whose negligence contributes to aggression and a vicious attack by the dog.
There is no denying that breed does have some effect on the dog’s temperament and personality. Some breeds of dogs including the above-mentioned Rottweilers and pit bulls, do have a tendency to get more aggressive. However, breed may not be the main effect of factor influencing the dog’s aggression. In fact, it is the owner’s temperament that can more strongly determine aggressive traits or his likelihood of being involved in a dog bite incident, than the breed.
Researchers recently sent out 15,000 questionnaires to owners of dogs, and based on the 4000 replies they received, they found that certain owner traits were much more likely to contribute to aggressive qualities. For instance, when dogs were owned by persons below the age of 25, they were approximately twice as likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to dogs of owners above the age of 40.
Dogs that were enrolled in dog-training classes were approximately 50% as likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to animals that did not attend such training classes. Dogs that were sourced from rescue centers were also much more likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to animals that were purchased from a breeder.
Apart from these factors, the owner’s methods of training their dogs, and the level of overall care of the dogs also played a major factor in determining aggressive traits. For instance, dogs that were trained using methods like punishment and negative reinforcement, were as much as twice as likely to display different aggressive behaviors, and were three times as likely to attack members of the family.