Some Dogs Are Born Dog-aggressive, Imo


Honored Member

//I myself have wondered this. My Great Dane Lena was very dog aggressive. I could not for the life of me figure out how I could have caused it. I am not afraid of dogs, nor do I find them a threat in any way. I am glad that I am not the only one who has had to work with one of these issues in the face of being told that it was "my issue". //

I believe you, allllllllll my other dogs were fine.

What, suddenly, *i* displayed issues when i got this one dog?

Sometimes, in a multi-dog household, 3 of the dogs are just fine, but ONE dog is dog-aggressive, what, only that one dog can detect "their owner has issues", but, the other 3 dogs are too dumb to notice all the owner's issues? rofl.:p
I myself think dog-aggression comes in more than one form, there is the induced kind, like Michael Vick's dogs who were trained to be dog-aggresive, but were probably born 'normal'.
95% of Vick's dogs were rehabilitated back to normal dogs, they were probably born normal, the dog-aggression was INDUCED upon these normal dogs.

i do believe, some dogs are BORN that way. I know, i know, evvvvvvveryone will disagree,:eek:
we've all been taught/hypnotized, that dogs are all born perfect, THAT ALL DOGS ARE BORN WITH NO ISSUES already there, IMPOSSIBLE any issues could be in their brain's wiring.

and any issue they have is result of human issues/mishandling/improper socialization/abuse/something!! We do not even question it, everyone "knows" this!!! It is "a fact" :rolleyes:that all dogs with issues have been mishandled in some way....riiiight.

But, i myself, believe dogs are born with one of three personality types/brain designs/whatever.
#1) The 'normal' dog
#2) The shy dog
#3) The dog-aggressive dog.

that is my theory. Shy dogs, can be noticed at birth. IN the litter box, they can say, "This puppy here, ducks down, is very shy, creeps away." and that puppy, will always be shy. If you were to meet that dog, at age 1 or 2, without knowing a thing, you'd think, "This dog has been abused." but it wasn't. It was BORN that way. Shy dogs can be made somewhat better or worse, depending on how they are handled, but, they will always be shy.

The dog-aggressive dog, is easily spotted to be dog-aggressive by an alert owner, by about 4 to 6 months old, and it is undeniable by age 9 months old. *IF* it shows up prior to that, it is either missed, put off to "a bad day", immaturity, play, lack of social skills, babyhood, or just not noticed--puppies being aggressive is even kinda cute.

By age one, the owner of this dog is usually seeking help. People call to them, "Hey, you need Dog Whisperer!!" and the baffled ppl wonder what "they" did wrong to have a dog-aggressive dog, when all their other decades of dogs were all just fine!!! and since we are all told, if your dog is dog-agressive = it is our fault.
THE NUMBER ONE REASON DOGS IN USA ARE PUT TO DEATH is dog-aggression, and/or people aggression. This far outnumbers even being put down for cancer or illness. It is THAT hard to cure, cuz it is wired into those particular dogs brains, imo.

I currently do believe people-agression is taught/ learned, a result of not being socialized, something, so far as i know right now, and ppl agression IS VERY highly curable. My own dog was also ppl=agressive, but, we cured him of that 100%.

With this type of inborn dog-aggressive dog, it does not much matter how well you socialize it, how you handle it, it WILL be dog-aggressive. LIke type I diabetes, you can control it but not cure it. Like the dog behaviorist who wrote "Click to Calm", she did everything right, yet, her pup turned up to be dog-aggressive. Like the shy dog, you can make this dog somewhat better or worse, but, it will be an ongoing issue for dog's whole life.

anyway, that is my two cents. I do not expect ANYONE to agree, especially not anyone who never actually lived with a dog-agressive dog,

--------->but please be adult, and attack my idea, but not me as a person.​


Well-Known Member
Oh. I completely agree. Without doubt.

Dog aggression and certain behavioural problems can be genetic. It is completely normal for a dog to have 'issues'. Mr Blade's mother was soooo dog aggressive she bordered on psychotic. She also had other issues such as being generally quite highly strung, she cant settle, that sort of thing. Its a GSD thing to be highly strung. Blade's full brother is extreeeeemely highly strung, and was aggressive towards Blade when they got older. Blade is generally fine with other dogs but extremely jealous - of all animals. Oh. But here, I might also point out that it is possible in this case, that Blade and Bandit learned these behaviours off their mother.

I can use horses as an example?? As I have worked extensively on TB stud farms. Boss has lovely stallions. Amazing to handle. Sweet boys. Not your usual psycho, human eating horses that children are bought up to believe - stallions are so difficult to handle, it takes only the most experienced people to handle them, theyre dangerous. Um. I was handling them on my own when I was 16. We also had some pretty psycho mares. Somehow, they had lovely wonderful babies. As these foals had the genetic disposition to be lovely quiet horses. Of course, some foals also took after their mother - which I believe was learned behaviour. If you took the foal away from its psycho mum and fostered it on another mare, I would say it would 80% likely be lovely - with its genes [nature] and its lovely upbringing [nurture] but it would still have about a 20% chance to be a right plonker because of its genes. Boss also had a crazy stallion back before I worked for him - my brother did back then. He was one of those crazy stallions. Most people these days, unless they want a horse that jumps like a stag, avoid all that stallions offspring because theyre nuts! They may have had lovely mums, but they had those genes that in the end made them nutters. Funny though... my horse is one from that stallion and hes a donkey ;)

So yeap. I completely agree. Animals can have 'issues' without it being cause by any humans. Its natural. Its normal. Its how theyre made.

Not sure if I went off track at all. Just some different points of view..


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Oh and this might, ahem, stir up some trouble. But some breeds are more likely to be this or that, because its in their genes to do so. GSD = highly strung. Rotties etc = very territorial. Terriers = chase/kill small furry things. Staffies = like to fight. That sort of thing. Yep, they can be brought up to be lovely, quiet, friendly, good with other animals but theyre still genetically wired to be those ways! Thats the genes in their breed! So in this case, human intervention makes them better than what they would be if we didnt intervene! And it can happen vice versea. Nice natured dogs genetically, umm eg Golden Retriever, can be caused to have issues if, for example they arent socialised, or are beaten etc. So if we can accept that breeds can be certain ways, then why do we not believe that the individual can be?


Honored Member
thud...i can't believe anyone agreed with might be only one who does, but, still, i found one person who agrees with me.


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Just read the original discussion in the other thread.

I still believe animals can be born that way, whichever way it may be. Same with humans. One of you mentioned a bitch that whelped shy pups, when neither herself nor any of the sires were shy. But the bitch may still be carrying the genes for shyness. Animals [humans included] can carry genes for particular physical or mental tendancies, yet, not be that way themselves. Its also about personality. People, and animals, can have offspring which have compleeeetely different personalities. Is dog-aggression a type of 'personality'? For want of a better word. Humans can be assertive, or shy. Theyre born that way. Why not other species in the animal kingdom?


Honored Member
Yes, i think so too. I do think there is more than one kind of dog agression, i do think some dogs, are trained to be dog-aggressive, or become so as a result of some form of abuse, etc, but those dogs are 'normal brained' dogs, and once removed from the fighting ring, are fairly easily rehabbed, because they had normal brains all along.

But there are also dogs, who although well socialized, well treated, etc etc, who still turn out to be dog agressive, against all odds. Yet, their owners will be told, the dog is aggressive cuz of the human's inner issues....sigh.

I also do believe, both the inherently shy dog, (born that way) and the inherently dog-agressive dog, (born that way)
can be made to be somewhat better, or somewhat worse, depending on how they are handled,
they will always still have the same brain wiring they were born with, they will still be shy or agressive.

Lexy, you are right, there is probably a better word than "personality" to be used...."disposition"? not sure of the right word to use.

also, i find it interesting,
most ppl who know much about dogs,
will admit/agree
there ARE pups who are inherently shy,
from birth on.....seen in the litter box.

but, those same ppl, will protest vehemently, if one suggests there could also be inherently dog-agressive dogs. Not sure why that is.


Well-Known Member
Interesting. I had this 'debate' with my dog behaviour tutor a couple years ago. We are all taught [in science] that we cant anthropomorphise... Animals 'cant' have humans emotions, like happiness, grief, sadness.... Why then can we give them emotions like agression and fear?? I cant remember what Erik said, maybe I should email him...
Those of us who have very close bonds with our animals know, somewhow, that our animals do grieve, or can be happy, or depressed. We cant explain it though, and therefore it cant be proven. We just know. But what Im getting at here is, sometimes people want to believe animals are pure, innocent, they want them to have all the 'goodness' but wont accept that animals can also have the bad stuff too, like being born with aggression.


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I think I recall Erik saying that 'aggression' wasnt an emotion. According to wiki, there is no aggression in its emotion list. There is fear though. And hostility. Can dogs be 'dog-hostile'? Lol.


Honored Member
Yes, i think emotions in animals has been proven. (i belong to a science group, i can find link if you want me to) Not yet widely accepted by all ppl, but, i think it is an easily understandable concept.
I agree, aggression is not an emotion. And fear is, and fear, or a wish to avoid, is def common place survival mechanism.

Saying my dog is dog-aggressive is not anthropomorphizing. Saying my dog is dog-aggressive, cuz...let me think of human reason....CUZ he wants to prove he is most important dog, WOULD BE anthropomorphising. Attributing a human thought process to my dog, may be anthropomorphising.

Most animals reflexively recoil from, or "fear", fire, for example. Imo, that is not adding a human emotion into their behavior. Many fears are a built in survival things, felt by many species of animals.
Some fears are learned, pavolovian style.

I am not sure my dog is "hostile", which IS a human emotion, my dog is aggressive. He displays inappropriate aggression towards other dogs.

ha, now i will derail my own thread, but, *my* dog's reactiosn, which i have been studying now for over 2 years, come in more than one style of reaction. And some of his 4 styles of reactions, i sense is not fear based, nor 'hostile',
one of his 4 reactions, i actually sense he would prefer to make friends with that dog, but, just doesn't know how/is on autopilot kinda thing. This one is his "unknown dog" reaction, but, it is not that bad, and he also occasionally whines a bit after.
Buddy only whines to dogs he LIKES. Not sure why, but Buddy whining is good thing, is soft lil breif whine, it means, "I really do want to play with THAT dog...i just don't know how". (THAT is anthropomorphisizing, for the sake of making his attitude known)

He also has a fear based reaction, it is very very clear to me, he is afraid, is why he is reacting. I think any of you, upon seeing THAT reaction, would say, THAT one is fear based. This one now has a different ending than it once did, too, yay!!! Buddy is def afraid of ALL german shepherds, all of them, even elderly GSDs, crippled GSDs, easy going friendly GSDs, buddy is afraid of ALL gsds, all of them.

as well as his chihuahua reaction, which never ever has fear in it, but overexcitment, and the chihuahua reaction is his most dramatic of all his reactions---if allowed to fully react, he goes wild eyed, almost foaming at the mouth, and appears he will have full blown seizure, but it does not look like his fear based reaction, which looks and sounds entirely differently than his chihuahua reaction. (Buddy also offers his dramatic "chihuahua reaction" for any small, skinny short haired dog, like MinPins, etc) It is *almost* funny, he just goes bananas/nutters. He does not seem the least bit afraid, not prior, not during. It is something else there. I am having best luck with THIS reaction, i've got some miracles to report.

He also has his puppy reaction, which is *almost* amusing, he barks, and takes ONE step toward pup very briefly, and then he stops his own self, and walks away, like, "get off my lawn, kid" kinda thing. Buddy also sometimes gives his "puppy reaction" to small fluffy white dogs, too, as if they are puppies.

All his reactions are much much milder than when i first got him, briefer, and his fear based one no longer has that life or death sound to it which made my eyes water....(in sympathy for him to feel that bad)
but, he will always be dog-aggressive.

sorry for derail, but, my dog has four types of reactions. These are very predictable. I could watch a film of my dog reacting, and tell you, what the breed of the other dog was.


Honored Member
anyway, i do think animals do experience fear, grief, depression, joy, etc, but assigning a human type of reason may be anthropomorphizing, but, animals DO feel emotion.
Happy to post some research on that if you request it.


Well-Known Member
"Saying my dog is dog-aggressive is not anthropomorphizing. Saying my dog is dog-aggressive, cuz...let me think of human reason....CUZ he wants to prove he is most important dog, WOULD BE anthropomorphising. Attributing a human thought process to my dog, may be anthropomorphising."

Yes I almost went into that, but didnt as my knowledge of anthropomorphizing is only skin deep, dont want to try and put forth a theory [which isnt mine] that I dont know enough about. Hmm Im wondering how to explain myself properly though. I guess anthropomorphizing is saying an animal is **** because *****. Post #8 was more trying to explain my point of view that people will accept a view which makes them feel good. Scientists feel better that animals dont have emotions, therefore it is acceptable to use them in experiments. gasp. That is a whole other can of worms! Pet owners feel better that their animals arent born in any negative way.

Also back to the personality/disposition idea. My mum has two labs. One LOVES fetching, thats pretty normal for a lab. It wasnt trained into her. Its how they are. The other isnt interested in fetching at all. She was bought up the same. Shes just not interested. Some dogs might just not be keen on dog company. It comes across as 'aggression'. It may or may not be normal for that breed. They may have been bought up exactly the same as another dog, yet, they show 'dog aggression'. Maybe they just dont want dog company and thats how they show it?

I believe 'raw' emotions, are the ones that are instinctual and are there for suvival. Fear. 'Aggression' in the form of being territorial, protective of the pack, protective of resources.


Honored Member
RE: Buddy's GSD reaction, i spent months and months, desensitizing Buddy to one GSD in our neighborhood. (the GSD owner understood, and was supportive, the GSD was very cool GSD.)
Months, of slowly, stopping at Buddy's comfort zone, before he reacted,
getting Buddy to focus on me,
giving him calming dog language,
and then rewarding Buddy for looking at the GSD without reacting,
then we left.
Every day.

Each day closer to the yard.
finally, Buddy could walk right past that one GSD without reacting.

however, Buddy does NOT generalize, nope. Getting comfy with that one GSD, did nothing whatsoever with allll the OTHER gsds in the world. NOpe. NOt an iota of change towards the rest of GSDs....
We are going through the world,
one dog at a time.


Well-Known Member
Raw emotions imo, are the ones that just happen. Without thought or training. Its instictive. Its how theyre wired. Breed or individual.

Then there are all the others which I too believe animals experience, but thats not what the thread is about? Was just putting out another point of view - why accept animals can behave one way, and not the other?


Honored Member
//" Scientists feel better that animals dont have emotions, therefore it is acceptable to use them in experiments. gasp. That is a whole other can of worms!"//

oh i do NOT agree, maybe SOME scientists are that way, but not most,
and definately MANUFACTURERS are that way,
but i know many scientists, who ADORE ANIMALS, and who study animals for things like proof of emotions, and study animals to SAVE various types of animals. I have a scientist pal who is extremely passionate about animals are to be loved, understood, and protected. even more than i am, and i am pretty passionate on that!! ha ha!!

//Some dogs might just not be keen on dog company. It comes across as 'aggression'//

Certainly there are levels of agression. A dog who just does not enjoy playing with other dogs much, and who sends out signals, "leave me be" is one thing.
My dog actually much enjoys playing with the FEW other dogs he has successfully befriended. OH he does!!
But my dog, will go at another dog with much aggression, a dog who is not even interested in Buddy.

this website, and others say Aggression itself is usually defined by canine behaviorists as "the intent to do harm".//

My dog screaming at some innocent dog going by, "I want to rip your throat out"
is different from a dog saying (in dog language, cuz dogs DO have their own language which most humans can not read) "i do not want to play".


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Oh oh oh I retract that comment. I do not mean at all, that all scientists believe that. I was going by an animal behavioural book I have that goes on the fact that scientists who test on animals, etc, do so, because they merely believe animals as 'bodies'. Whole other story. And again, only using as an example of how some people think. Not all.


Well-Known Member
And again, I am not meaning that dog-aggressive dogs are that way because they dont want to play. Merely saying that theyre dog aggressive, because they dont like dogs. They dont want to be near them, or have their company for any reason. Just trying to find examples for people to be able to understand better.


Honored Member
Oh i think emotions in animals is fascinating topic!!
I am not a stickler about threads which meander here or there.
I do think dogs, and most animals, display and feel emotions. I can link articles on that topic. Many scientists have studied this at length, in many many species.

But, i think some dogs are BORN with brains pre-wired to react aggressively to other dogs. ONe of Buddy's reactions seems fear based, but
the other forms of reactions my particular dog has, do not seem fear based, but, rather knee jerk reflexive automatic responses. Lke the way you pull your hand back off a hot plate, even before you consciously think, "ouch, it is hot, i should move my hand."............reflexive.

pre-wired. Happen instantly.

Takes Buddy a long time to walk off one of his reactions. He does not get the opportunity to have full blown reactions very often, "the less time he spend in that mindset, the better off he will be." is my motto. But when he DOES react, he is then flooded with adrenaline,
and then,
he will react to ANY dog, for next 20 minutes
til all that adrenaline is dispersed out again................Buddy would even his beloved best pal, will get yelled at, if Buddy sees him in the 20 minutes after he's had a reaction.


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I completely agree :) I love animal behaviour and emotions. I am constantly hunting up books and websites to look into it. I went to uni originally, studying biology and psychology for a degree in animal behaviour - the only uni in our country that has that degree, unfortunately I pulled out due to being pregnant at the time.

And I agree that some dogs are born, pre-wired, to be dog aggressive. And yes, I agree that it is a reflex. So deeply wired, that is just happens, with no forethought. It is not trained or learned from past experiences. It just is how they are. I am looking back over my previous posts, trying to explain some stuff I have already said. I cant. Lol. Im pulling blanks.


Honored Member
OH, re the scientists, take care to distinguish between manufacturers,
and scientists.
Like cosmetic companies, and drug companies, will indeed test on animals, they are manufacturers.

Most of the scientists i know would be all over you for suggesting scientists do not understand the beauty and magic of the animal mind!!! Most of our planet's efforts to save animals is done by scientists!!

//"Merely saying that theyre dog aggressive, because they dont like dogs. They dont want to be near them, or have their company for any reason"//

no, this does not describe my dog, as i described above, my dog much enjoys playing with other dogs. Ha ha, i DO sometimes post "a dog my dog does not 'like' "
but in fact, that is not it, Lexy, Buddy's BRAIN is wired wrong. You could almost compare it to other brain defects. There is not really a "why" to the dogs who BORN with dog-aggression, see?

Like i said, i have seen a dog who does not want to play,---the dog tells the other dog, with dog language, "go away, i do not want to play".
is not what im talking about when i say a dog has dog-aggression.

Lexy, have you ever seen a dog-aggressive dog react? It can be quite frightening, esp if you are not used to it.

It is not like, two dogs in a yard, one wants to play, the other one says no, i don't want to play.


See, this does not explain, my dog, if allowed, would go out of his way to aggress to some other dog who is not even near Buddy, who is not trying to "be with" Buddy, see?

there is no 'WHY' when their brains are wired wrong from birth on.