Some Dogs Are Born Dog-aggressive, Imo


Honored Member
Most agression(no matter what type of agression) comes from the fact that the dog has learned to handle a sitiuation by displaying agression. I see a dog I don't like: I growl, bark, lunge and the dog goes away. I see a human coming to me, I bark, snap, lunge: the human goes away.
It is a natural responce to display agression. BUT when, for some reason this display of agression does not have the effect the dog wants(the dog does not go away, or the human does not go away) the dog has two options. Either to go away himself or to attack.
In our world it is usually impossible for the dog to retreat himself, because they are on lead, or the human does not understand his warning, causing exexaggerated responces. Many dogs are not properly socialized, so they are not very good in "speaking" dog.
For example: puppy comes running straight up to a grown dog and jumps in his face. The responce of this grown dog wil be to tell the puppy off, by turning away it's face, raising a lip, growling. The proper behaviour of the pup should be to back off, but since the pup has been with only humans he does not. Leaving the adult dog no choice to apply a nosebite(which is usually not a real bite) and to put the pup on his back. Now the owner of the adult dog steps in and repremands the dog for doing this. The dog learns that warning firmly(which he was doing) is not the way to go. This COULD result in the adult dog becomming agressive towards puppies. Seemingly out of nowhere he will attack a pup. Actually he is doing what he has been tought to do. He has been tought to skip his warning signals, leaving him with no means of telling the pup to back off. So how else can he tell the pup to back off, then with an actual bite?
There are numerous examples of this in every kind of agression.
What we, humans, forget, is that this is the way the dog communicates. But we find it unwanted behaviour, when a dog growls, so we correct it.
Most agression is caused by us, not all.
Then, there is also the matter of hierarchie. Natural for dogs, who are pack animals.
When dogs live in a pack, they will defend their pack. To our housedogs our family is our pack. They will also defend their territory. What is our dogs territory? Just our house and yard? NO. Most people have a route when they go on walks. One they take every day. Our dogs mark this route. To say they were there and that this is theirs! What COULD happen? Another dog entered their territory and must be chased off!!! He could be a threat to the pack. So he will be attacked.
We want our dogs to get along with EVERY dog they meet, something which is very unnatural to them.
Now I don't say you should be the PACKLEADER as some trainers say. But it only takes a slight oversight or wrong correction to cause a dog to become excessive in his reaction.
Possesion agression works in the same way. In a pack a dog has to guard his food, or it will be taken away by another, stronger dog or a dog higher in rank. So if a dog growls because you want to take away his toy/food, it is up to us to teach him, that he should accept the fact that you take it away.

All this agression CAN be cured, but it might take a whole lot of time and work.
The examples above are what COULD happen. They are just a few of many facts that could result in agression.

I do call my dog agressive. Dog agressive. But in fact he is not. He has learned to fence off other dogs by attacking. Whether that was caused by me or by others or by the fact he has been in pain. Now my dog has taken this a step further and went excessive, by wanting to fight almost every MALE dog he sees and even trying to kill a dog(kill- shake).
Now it is up to me to take charge and teach him, this is not acceptable.

In comparison there a very few dogs that are really agressive because of the way they are "build" When there is something wrong in the brain. BUT they are there and this is absolutely uncurable. You can train these dogs to be better behaved, but it will never go away. Depending on how severe they are, sometimes it is better to put them to sleep.
NO I am not saying that every agrassive dog should be put to sleep, only the ones that have been proven to be uncurable. Because these dogs simply can't function in our society.

So maybe I don't agree with you as much as I first said, Tigerlily. I understand and feel just about the same as you do. But I believe that most agression is caused by the world our dogs live in. Whether that was caused before or after our dogs came to live with our family. Caused by us, other dogs, other humans.
I have been pondering about this for a while now. Since I do understand the way you think. I have been thinking about how to explain, how I see a dog and his behaviour.
Maybe, with this post I have been contradicting myself, but it is how I feel and how I see agression.


Honored Member
//"Most agression is caused by us, not all."//

yes, yes, that IS the widely believed myth of dog aggression. I so welcome any footnoted, actual scientific research that supports this myth.
I do believe, we humans CAN 'create' an aggressive dog, however, a dog we create can also be undone. Even Vick could not create a permanently aggressive dog.

And what of all the dogs who are abused, totally beaten and abused to the max, but turn out to be lovebugs? If humans can create one, if we 'cause' it, why don't all dogs respond to the abuse, neglect, too much socialization, not enough socialization, etc etc etc with aggression???

why only "some" dogs ??

what about dogs who were well raised, by vets, behaviorists, trainers, etc, who turn out aggressive against all odds?

However, we humans can not cause the disturbances in that show up in the aggressive dog's neurobiology and neurochemistry that researchers show is consistantly found in aggressive dog brains................
(that would be "most" aggressive dogs, if not all aggressive dogs.)

sorry, how can a human alter the number of serotonin receptors built into the aggressive dogs brain?? HOW?


Honored Member
//"In comparison there a very few dogs that are really agressive because of the way they are "build"//

Feel free to post ANY scientific research you have to support the idea. Scientific research has foot notes of actual science tests, of data, not "opinion blogs".

I've posted many many links of research done on aggressive dog's genes, feel free to scroll back to see what science data says. I have many many more links to more data i've found on the aggressive dogs' genes, serotonin levels, dopamine levels, amygdellas, brains, serotonin receptors in their brains, etc etc.

The research teams------for decades------from all over--------dont' say "WEll, only 10% of aggressive dogs have funky neurochemistry."
they say the finding is consistantly found throughout aggressive dogs. (means, not a "few" but most if not all)

again, scientists,
veterinary geneticists,
research teams from all over the world,
all say you are wrong there about only a "few" are born that way, all of them all say:

The aggressive dog CONSISTANTLY has physical anomalies, and his "maladaptive" aggression, is "genetically and neurobiologically driven".


Honored Member
*EVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVERYONE does believe that aggressive dogs are 'caused' by human mistakes, but, humans can not change the number of serontonin receptors in an aggressive dogs brain,
humans can not change the size of an aggressive dog's amydella inside of their brain.
sorry. i just don't buy it. I know, i know, i pretty much stand alone in my views, but, science thinks so too.*

Jumping in here;)
This is true. And it why this dog reacts more agressive to his surroundings.
So the training I give my "normal" dog, can cause a dog with this abnomaly, to react completely different.
What I call human mistakes, don't have to be real mistakes. We simply don't know this dog will not respond in the way we are used to, with our "normal" dogs. It is so easy to misread a dogs bodylanguage, to not see a slight stare or freeze.
I see it like this. If I start to talk to you in Dutch, you will try to focus on my bodylanguage to try to understand me.
But since you don't know what I am saying, i could call you really bad things. Now if I laugh while saying this, you will think i say something nice.

A dog related example.
When I met Maya the first time, she came towards me with bare teeth showing. Now I have always been told, when a dog shows it's teeth he is agressive.
Maya however was smiling. I had not noticed that she was only showing her front teeth, that she was wagging her tailless but, that her ears were pulled back. So I corrected this.
By now I know better. My Cooper does this as well. I have learned to look further than the showing of teeth, to look at the bodylanguage of the dog.
But back then I simply did not know.

So a human mistake is often unintentional.
Also there is the fact that we sometimes contradict ourselves.. Say something, but mean something else.
Dogs do this also. They can appear to be fearfull, but in fact are not.
Have a very high tail, which points toward being very sure of himself, but have ears pulled back, which is a sign of submission.
I can look at a dogs bodylanguage and "think" it is saying this, but you can look at the same dog and "think" it is saying something else.

A mild correction, for example pulling the dog away by the collar, can be a huge thing for a fearfull dog, while a balanced dog, has no problems with it. And a dog who tends towards agression it might not be enough of a correction.
I hope you understand what I am saying. The combination of not being able to "read" and"speak" dog perfectly and us humans missing little signs the dog gives and our own state of mind at that time are all factors in how a miscommunication can come to excist. And the dog can't well tell us that he meant otherwise, unfortunately.
Again how I wish it was possible to look inside a dogs brain and see how they see us and what they think;)


Honored Member
//"So a human mistake is often unintentional."//
I SO COMPLETELY AGREE 500% WITH THAT REMARK!! i so so so so agree, completely. I do believe, the vast bulk of humans love dogs, that only a very few are nutz who WANT TO do wrong, i think such nutz are the exceptions, not the bulk of us.

//"A mild correction, for example pulling the dog away by the collar, can be a huge thing for a fearfull dog,......"//

You are probably right on that, i think i might agree with this, however, a mild pull on a fearful dog's collar will NOT redistribute his brain parts, nor cause the physical anomalies found in aggressive dogs' brains, or in the supershy dogs' brains..

If you say 'fearful', i wonder if you are referring to what many of us, call the "shy" dog, which is also inborn, is seen in the litter box. These dogs also have a severe imbalance in their neurobiology----in opposite direction than found in aggressive dogs!!!!,
i've posted earlier links on that data.

we can't cause those physical changes in their brains. Well, MAYBE if we do surgery on their brains, we could, not sure, but, you can't cause such a measurable, consistantly found disturbance by pulling his collar, or even by beating him.


Honored Member
Sorry, I think this miscommunication is caused by what you and I think is agression and what is a brainabnomaly.
Like I said in my last post, I do agree that agressive dogs have something wrong in their brain. Something that will cause them to react differently to situations and training then other dogs.
With the very few dogs being born agressive, I meant dogs who have an abnormal brain due to tumors. And with agression I meant a dog who responds agressive to anything, not just another dogs, or just other humans or what ever.

As you and the scientists say, the number of serotonin receptors determin how a dog reacts to a situation.
What I am saying is only that a dog with this anomaly will react differently to a situation, and show this in his behaviour.
Most agressive dogs turn agressive as they grow older. So they learn things differently. By the time we see this, the behaviour has settled and it becomes very hard to change. Because they learn differently.
I don't believe these dogs show the same reactions as normal dogs do. When we pick up on the behaviour at a very early stage, we can train the dog to act otherwise. And there is where the problem lies. We don't pick up on those little warningsigns for whatever reason.
Of course there are levels to all this. It all depends on how severe the abnomaly is.

I will go back and read all the links you posted. So far I have been able to read just a few.


Honored Member
I find this soooo very interresting!! But the letters are dancing on my screen. It is 2 am overhere and I have to get up at 7.30...
I am not tired yet, well not enough to go to sleep anyway, cos my brain is working too hard.
So I think I will take the dogs out for their last walk and then try ro read those links:)
Do without a night sleep:D
What is it about this site, that I can never get away from it????
I don't have this problem with the other forums I belong to:LOL:
Perhaps it because a discussion like this would have already resulted in a huge fight about who's right and who's wrong;)


Honored Member
//"With the very few dogs being born agressive, I meant dogs who have an abnormal brain due to tumors"//

Where is this research that says few dogs are born aggressive? I'd love to see it, not an opinion blog, but actual scientific data.

PLus, like i said from the start, i'm mostly only discussing healthy dogs, as sick dogs, dogs with thyroid disturbances, or even dogs with a broken leg, may display aggression, which imo, is a whole other matter than what i'm discussing. I'm discussing aggression in otherwise healthy dogs.
Most of the 1,000s of humans on the dog aggression boards don't mention their dogs have brain tumors. But, i'd agree, i imagine, a dog with a brain TUMOR may behave abnormally.
Not all brain anamolies are tumors. In fact, probably most anomalies are not tumors.

But scientists don't find brain tumors in dogs who have aggression, but they DO consistantly find inborn physical differences. The research teams from all over the world do find, consistantly, across the board, when they study dogs who have aggressive behavior, do find abnormal serontonin levels, abnormal numbers of serotonin receptor sites in the dog's brain, abnormal amygdalas in their brains, abnormal dopamine levels, multiple PHYSICAL (inborn) differences,
even if we were obnoxious humans who beat dogs, we can't cause these physical differences that are consistently found in brains of dogs with aggression.


Honored Member
Are you aware of dogs who are born supershy? Born that way, shows up in the litter box. They duck away from human hands as soon as they are able to.

if you met the shy dog at age 2, and knew nothing about it, you'd see it duck away, and think, "This poor dog has been abused!!!"

I know a breeder who says his male stud dog always creates at least one supershy puppy, no matter what bitch his dog is mated to. Always. although, he says his stud dog is NOT shy, suggesting the shy gene is a recessive gene.

It is permanent, as these dogs also have a neurobiological anomalie in their brains, too. It is the reverse disorder of the aggressive dogs.
The supershy dogs manifests from birth on.

The aggressive dog does not usually fully manifest his issue until he approaches maturity, often a very observant person can spot it by 6 months old, but by 9 months old, most are discovered, althought the seriousness of the situation is often not fully recognized.
By one year old, most aggressive dogs are being seen by vets and trainers by that point.
Some ppl say aggression can be seen in the puppy, but i am not sure on that...i've seen a list of things to look for in puppies to avoid choosing one that will display aggression later on in life. Not sure if that list was true or not though.

I occasionally hear of a few dogs who did not display aggression until they were 2 or 3, but, i always have questions about such dogs.

Many inborn mental disorders do not fully manifest until the creature approaches maturity, like some forms of human sociopathy and human schizophrenia. Many schizos are very normal children, and when their organic brain disorder manifested, sometimes as late as 30 years old, everyone ---for centuries---said, "well, their parents raised them wrong, that they turned out 'nutty' like that." Even allllllll the experts said that. Even to this day, many ppl still believe some forms of schizophrenia are "caused" by negligent or abusive parents.
like i posted earlier, i know a family that has had 4 generations of schizophrenia!! Four in a row!! And most of these generations were not raised by their biological parent. It's on that family's dna.
STill, they almost all appear perfectly normal until they are well into their 20s!! but, it IS born in.

It's sort of like this with aggressive dogs. The wiring is in place from birth on, although it doesn't fully manifest til the dog reaches maturity. (unlike the opposite, 'shy' dog, who DOES display his wish to avoid humans, from birth on)

Still, you've not replied to the evidence there are physical differences in most if not all of the aggressive dog that no human can cause. It's not they were 'raised wrong'. We humans just can't change a dog's amygdala....


Honored Member
I've scooted through most of the articles.

And I have heard about shy dogs. I haven't met one or met anyone who had a dog like that, as far as I know.

A little side track on your remark about the dog ducking away from your hand...
Cooper does that, always has. He absolutely hates it when you put a hand over his head. I have had people say to me, I shouldn't hit my dog on the head. I have never ever hit him on the head. But he is not a shy dog.
I makes me wonder though if there an insecurity problem. Something I have never thought of it in his behaviour. He always seems to be pretty sure of himselve.
Maybe I'll talk to my trainer about this and see what she makes of this;)

Anyway, I don't think the articles change my mind about the agression. I do believe the dogs are wired different. But it raises questions like how did they determine if the dogs, they used, are agressive. I couldn't find anything on that. And the level of agression they displayed. Have they seen this anomaly in seemingly normal dogs? Just being curious of how they went about selecting these dogs.

I find it easier to, well... let's call it believe, that shy dogs are truly born shy, since they display it from birth on.
Can you recognize an agressive dog from birth on? Are there signs to watch out for? Is it the bully of the litter, that becomes agressive? Or the underdog? Hmmmm interesting things to think about.
How far back does the gene go? And why does it not affect the other littermates?
This last question makes me think about something:

A while back there was a big fight going on with an aussie breeder and the dutch australian shepherd club.
The club organizes yearly litter assesments, to keep track of how the breed developpes.
This assessment happens when the litter is 12 months old. It is not required to do this, but a lot of breeders do.
Now the people assessing the litters, found her entire litter to be too agressive and advised her not to use this combination again. Even better never to breed her bitch again.
As far as I know, there were 8 puppies, three had been rehomed, because they had in some form attacked children. One dog was put to sleep, because he had attacked his owner. The others all had dog-agressive problems at some level.
Now this breeders knows what she is doing(or she thinks she is). She has been a succesfull breeder for years. And she threw a fit over this. She even started a club of her own.
Now I don't know if this dog has ever produced any agressive dogs, but it makes me wonder about that. Do the parentdogs have agression in their ancestors?

It is something I will bring up with Jinx her breeder. See what she makes of all this, since she has been breeding dogs for 25 years.
And maybe I can see if she knows the breeder I was talking about and see what she knows about this.

Well for now, I say goodnight. I will try to get some shut eye, and see if I can drag myself out of bed to go to the dogschool in ugh, 4 hours...
I don't know if I'll be able to come by before I leave friday morning.
If not I will be back by monday;)


Honored Member
First off, THANK YOU Anneke, I much enjoyed your very thoughtful replies, and wow, do you ever ask GREAT QUESTIONS or what!! I will reply to them all, one at a time, in posts to come.
but I so so appreciate your willingness to even discuss or explore or challenge my idea!! (well, okay, I now realize it is not ‘my’ idea, but the result of science, but, I did not initially realize that at first, when I first came up with ‘my’ idea-- based on common sense)

And I also appreciate the courage it takes to post your questions right on the board, so kudos to you!! It is great opportunity for *me* to further explore the ideas, as I ponder your most excellent and thoughtful questions! You have a most logical brain! Your thoughts and questions follow a logical pattern, imo. Like I could with Running Dog and Sara and many others, I can also easily follow your train of thought in your posts, and i can easily see how you came to one conclusion or another. It makes it easier for me to reply since the posts are so logical.

RE: Cooper and his disliking hands on his head, many dogs dislike hands on their head,:mad: even some ‘normal’ dogs. Especially dogs who were not made comfy to this as puppies. Some say any part of your body on top of his head indicates you ‘dominate’ him, in dog body language.

Buddy initially disliked hands on his head, (he'd bite or growl, etc) so of course, AFTER i'd had Buddy a long long time, AFTER he did accept me, and trust me, I set about on purpose to desensitize Buddy to hands on his head. Maybe that was wrong, but most ANYTHING I found Buddy disliked,----- I ---on purpose----- worked on getting him used to those things.

I saw almost everything my dog was uncomfortable with, as a “project” for me to work on! Lol! Buddy also disliked anyone leaning over him, or hugging him, so of course---------that became my next project.:ROFLMAO:

I took much time getting him to accept me leaning over him, and hugging him. Other ppl may not approve of my doing that, but, I did, and it worked out fine for *my* dog----another person might not have same result, so eveyrone should make their own decision about if this is right or wrong thing to be doing.

*I* see doing this as reducing the number of things in the world that previously upset him. Others may disagree, and I can respect those who say it’s not fair to not allow a dog to set his own boundaries, I DO see their point. I will not argue with anyone who posts an objection to my getting Buddy to learn to accept head-pets, and hugs, etc. I DO understand their point of view. but, since buddy DID bite everyone i saw it as a safety issue, as well.

PLus--- we have many visitors, and they tend to pet Buddy on his head, and sometimes i was not home to warn them not to, (my guy is way more lax on such topics, :ROFLMAO:so his pals tended to get bit a lot more than MY pals, who were asked to not touch the dog back then, ha ha)

so, I got Buddy to learn to be comfortable with having his head touched. Not *all* dogs can learn to be comfy with that, but *my* particular dog was able to become comfy about it.

Buddy can now snooze through me leaning over him or hugging him. I remember this very clearly:p, I remember my family’s wide-eyed terror:censored: as I showed them my final result of what I’d gotten Buddy to accept, a leaning over hug. They were shocked.

My daughter kinda softly screamed “no! you’ll get bit!” They all had their hands over their mouths in abject terror. In truth, they *almost* got me afraid, they almost got me to forget, what i had accomplished and practiced with Buddy! ha, what a moment. (see, they did not know i was even working on this 'hug the dog" stuff, cuz i did it all in secret behind their backs).

And I would have gotten bit, even a few months earlier, she was right. But, I leaned over Buddy, hugged him, snuggled him, petted all over his head, etc, and Buddy did not even offer a lip-lick, he was totally cool with it, cuz I had spent much much time getting him comfy with this. Buddy is now totally comfy with being picked up, hugged, held in my lap, snuggled, etc. (I can’t even tell you how he used to much loathe those same activities---bites, growls, snarls, whatever Buddy could think of to make it all stop) Buddy now enjoys physical snuggling, he even initiates it himself now!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!

(anyone reading along, who has dog who does not accept leaning over or hugs, should NOT just go hug or lean over their dog, I spent much much time desensitizing Buddy to accept this, in a positive-only way------ and not *all* dogs can get that far, nor trust their human that much, nor submit that far to their human----my point here is: I do NOT wish to have anyone endanger themselves or honk off their dogs!!:mad: I approached this very carefully, and got advice and guidance, step by step, on how to approach this from others, etc etc, as I did not want to stress out my dog, nor get my face bit off, ha ha)

I do believe, that Buddy did not get an aggressive brain towards humans, i believe Buddy's anti-ppl ideas were 'caused', thus, the learned idea CAN be undone. Same as we can get dogs who learned to like trash basket-diving to find bits of lefover food,:D to learn to stop doing it.

Same way dogs who learned, "if i chase a scarey car, it goes away!! yay!":D to stop chasing cars. What a dog learns, can be unlearned.

Buddy didn't 'learn' to have 'maladaptive' aggression towards dogs, it is wired into his brain by his brain making not enough serotonins, dopamines, his brain receptor count being abnormal (that means NOT found in 'normal' dogs) and his amydala, etc etc. It is a physical disorder, like *some* dog who have seizures, his brain is wired slightly wrong.

Like many dog-aggressive dogs, Buddy's brain is fine with ppl. He only hates *most* DOGS! HA HA!


Honored Member
//”And I have heard about shy dogs. I haven't met one or met anyone who had a dog like that, as far as I know”//

You have? What have you heard? Do you realize this disorder, (also with measurable differences in the dog’s brain, I’ve posted links on this already) is evident in the litter box? Yes, this disorder seems to be far far less common disorder than dog aggression. A shy dog is wayyy beyond a dog who just dislikes having his head touched, btw. MANY dogs, of all types, can dislike having their heads touched.
*Some* of these supershy dogs can turn aggressive, but not all are aggressive------------- They have entirely OPPOSITE (!) neurochemistry than the aggressive dogs have, which I found absolutely fascinating!! I do think, aggression in the supershy dogs, can be reconditioned out much easier than the aggressive dog, as they have entirely different neurochemistry in their brains than the aggressive dogs have.

Not *ALL* aggressive dogs are ‘shy’ dogs. (mine isn't shy at all)

Not all shy dogs are aggressive dogs.
(many shy dogs much prefer to avoid than fight)

They are 2 different kinds of dogs.

I wonder, when ppl here refer to ‘fearful’ dogs, if they are referring to ‘shy’ dogs, or aggressive dogs, or both? To the researchers, the shy dogs, and the aggressive dogs, are almost opposite in their neurobiology, which is one reason rehabbing a shy dog to stop aggression can be easier to do as their entire neurochemistry is opposite of the aggressive dog’s neurochemistry.

(IF by "anxious" dogs, the scientists are referring to what we call the 'shy' dog?? Much of the links i posted refer to the differences in the neurobiology of the aggressive dogs, and the "anxious" dogs, which i *think* they mean 'shy' dogs)

If you do realize (the way many of the top shelf breeders do) that shyness is an “inborn” inherited ‘mental’ disorder in dogs, why is it impossible for a dog to have aggression as an inborn ‘mental’ disorder ?? What, dogs can only have two(2) types of inborn personalities, normal and shy? That ‘s it?

Why only one disorder possible? Still, the fact you identify a behavior in dogs as being on the dog's dna, is helpful first step, imo.

Still, if you do understand that inherent shyness *IS* an inborn disorder in dogs, that is progress right there!! Many many ppl still insist the ‘shy’ puppies were ‘caused’ by humans, too….EVEN TOP DOG BLOGGERS, authors, etc, can STILL be found writing about the supposed damage done to the shy dog they just adopted....etc etc.

i’ve even heard ppl say that someone touched them too firmly as a puppy is why they are shy for life…for real, there are those who say this, dispite many breeders and vets saying it IS inherited in dogs, dispite the research that shows these shy dogs consistently have abnormal neurobiology—------------
-----------------------there are many humans who write about how such ‘shy’ dogs had to have been abused/neglected/frightened as a puppy/had their collars pulled once too often/were not socialized/oversocialized/”something” caused this lifelong neurobiological disorder that we commonly call ‘shy’ dogs.


Honored Member
//”Anyway, I don't think the articles change my mind about the aggression”//

So, you read the evidence, the research, showing a consistent physical difference in dogs who show aggression, and shyness, and choose to ignore it? I always wonder how ppl do that, do you think the veterinary researchers from Cornell University, as well as researchers from all over the world, all just flat out lied?? Or do you think they all just got it wrong/made errors in their measurements or what?

That is okay, I do understand, your reaction is VERY TYPICAL, you are not alone at all. Many many ppl find the idea, a dog can be born with one of 3 personality types, (Normal, aggressive, or supershy) to be heresy!!! as if I have ‘insulted’ all of dogdom or something.

Someone once told me the reason ppl get upset if you tell them aggression is physical disorder, is because many ppl do almost idolize dogs------- almost like angels, perfect lil beings------ and to consider a dog is not born perfect, is often seen as an insult of some type.

Dogs are perfect, humans are evil, so any malfunction of a dog has to be a human-caused event.

And there is no doubt, many dog behavior problems ARE rooted in human mistakes, so THAT fact further complicates our ability to sort out, it is possible a dog could have some problems NOT caused by humans, since so many ARE caused by humans.

Especially, since we have all been hypnotized,
wall to wall,
with EVERYONE saying----------- Well, the dog had to abused to turn out maladaptive aggressive, I don’t care if his brain HAS measurable, consistently found abnormalities found ONLY in aggressive dogs, it was caused by some scarey dog looking at it wrong as a puppy or whatever. I don’t care if common sense points to millions of exceptions that do NOT fit my mental idea on this---such as abused puppies who turn out lovely----- I’m sticking with it—abuse or neglect causes dog aggression. Everyone knows this, I hear it all the time----- it has to be true.”

I understand the power of hearing something over and over……..AND i understand the power of our peers very well. Lol, I’ve raised teenagers!! I know, if ‘everyone’ says so, that counts more than common sense, or actual research, in some cases.

Still, the facts are there. The researchers and geneticists who say dogs who display “maladaptive” aggression do have less serontonin receptors in their brains, lower serontonin levels in their bloodstreams, smaller amydalas (is part of the brain that controls emotions, we humans have amydalas, too) and consistent abnormal levels of dopamine, etc etc. They did NOT find these physical differences in ‘normal’ dogs---that is the very basis of their referring to it as Abnormal, it means ‘normal’ dogs DON’T have these things.

I’ve studied neuroscience for decades----- long before I ever met Buddy, so maybe, because I DO understand how one’s serotonin, dopamine and amydalas DO have a huge impact on behavior, perhaps that is why I find the data more compelling and obvious than other ppl do. Maybe other ppl don’t understand much about neurobiology or neurochemistry------------that would explain a lot.

But we ARE products of our neurochemistry. I could inject you with a chemical, and you would behave entirely differently, (until the chemical wore off). Lol, give your pal a shot of tequila, and watch him, and see for yourself, the power of various chemicals on our behaviours!!

Tequila aside---:ROFLMAO:---Even natural chemicals, can impact our behavior. If i lower your salt level in your bloodstream, you'd act pretty goofy, same goes for your sugar level. Same goes for your serotonin level, or dopamine level, if i messed with any of these chemicals, (or any of 100s more, like your testorone level) you WOULD behave differently.

Anneke, Do you believe humans can cause these physical differences in a dog’s brain, his neurobiology?

Or, do you think all of the researcher teams are all lying about it? or they've all made errors in their measurements? I can post many many many more links to similar data on the genetics of dog aggression, if you simply feel i have not posted enough articles to draw a conclusion.


Honored Member
Also, no one has answered my oft-repeated question, “do you think a border collies urge and ability to herd is inborn/on their dna?”

(well, some ppl have replied that not *all* borders can herd, and I will readily agree that is true, especially in USA where BCs are NOW ‘recognized’ by AKC, so NOW there will be BCs bred solely to meet the AKC beauty standard, instead of ability)

My point with that question that no one has answered, is,------------- if a behavior that complex such as herding, can be on a dog’s dna, why are other behaviors on dna “impossible”? or “rare”?

An infant BC does not herd, either, not til he is older does it show up.

Still, it is widely believed that the behavior is 'inherited' in the border collie. (okay, *most* border collies do herd, lol, but not *all* bc wants to herd).

But, maybe no one much sees the connection there the way I can. I myself see much of a dog’s behavior as being ‘built in’, and do not find the concept impossible to consider.


Honored Member
//”But it raises questions like how did they determine if the dogs, they used, are aggressive?”//
GREAT GREAT QUESTION!!! Loved it! Science DOES much love to quantify, measure, and be very precise and exact, so your question, how DID they decide which dogs are aggressive, is a most excellent and thoughtful question, one which I DID post a link to, a test used by veterinary scientists to decide which dogs were to be included as aggressive dogs.
(actually, having many scientist pals, i know, scientists MUCH love to crack on each other, if one is seen as NOT adhering to "The Scientific Method", whihc is worth a google if you are not science buff, to get idea of HOW science determines what data means or does not mean)

There were many tests and studies on this very topic, but I just threw one team’s paper on how that team chose their dogs up on this thread, to show, they aren’t just being sloppy about it.

The veterinary research teams determined, that just only using the human’s verbal reports was unsatisfactory to their needs for precision, so they did develop both a specific questionnaire, and a way to test the dog’s for aggression, I’ll refind and repost that link since you missed that one,
or maybe you did see it,
but didn’t realize the point of the article, *was* explaining HOW the aggressive dogs were chosen. (i did get a complaint on that article, so i guess the point of why i posted that article ws NOT obvious)

The researchers focused only on otherwise healthy dogs who had lifelong ongoing, permanent aggression, which was not amenable to rehab/training/etc.

Here are a few links, from a researcher team, doing tests to sort out which dogs will be considered aggressive dogs:
using an agression test: (done in the Netherlands!)
using a questionaire:
Researchers at Texas A&M coolege of veterinary medicine, comparing owner complaints vs what they see in their behavior laboratory: (not exactly the same thing as you asked about, but interesting jsut the same)
and this one

I can post many many more, as this WAS a topic of much debate in the veterinary research world.
Some of the research is done by veterinary researchers, some of it is done by geneticists, all types of scientists did the same types of research.

I suspect, that some of the geneticists research was intended as a building block to locate similar genes in humans, for medication purposes. Actually, I posted a link on such a investigation.

Geneticists much like studying dogs dna, as it has such a smaller gene pool than humans do, so it simplifies things for them to trace back.
(you have to log on, create an account, to read full article. I only used ‘free’ websites, and some articles, one must pay small fee to read those, so I left those ones out. Some science websites, are restricted to scientists only, so I left out those, too.)

The links I am posting only display a brief “summary” of the article. As you have probably noticed, some of the research teams go into some length in their summary, and some merely post one or two sentences describing their research, which apparently some ppl replying did not understand, that the summary is only a brief description of the conclusions of the research, (a summary of a research paper is not the entire article)

but, yes, how the scientists determine WHICH dogs to include in their studies was a most excellent question!! If you are not satisfied by the data i just posted, let me know your complaint with it, and i will try to find more data that helps you feel confident, that the veterinary researchers and geneticists WERE using actually permanently aggressive dogs who had not responded to training for the problem.


Honored Member
//”Can you recognize an agressive dog from birth on?”//

Another most excellent question!! A very very few ppl say yes, but most ppl say no. I don’t think so myself, but, like I mentioned, I did find a list posted by a breeder vet, on how to select puppies least likely to display dog-aggression later on in life. I will post this article, if you'd like to look it over, but, it has no corresponding research, ---so you can take it for what it's worth-----------still, it's interesting.

Many humans can not even spot the fairly obvious shy dog in the litter box....

*Maybe* some who are super well versed in normal puppy behavior vs unusual puppy behavior, could detect the differences, but, mostly, I think---that like almost all other inborn disorders in dogs(for example, some forms of hip dysplasia, retinal dyplasia, etc etc)---- that aggression does not fully manifest until the dog approaches maturity.

But the notion that a dog could have an inborn disorder that does not manifest until later, seems impossible for many humans to understand or even wrap their minds around,--------------------------------------------------- although the vast bulk of inherited disorders in dogs are NOT readily evident in the puppy.

I do believe, the resistance to consider a dog brain could be born wired wrong, is an emotional one, not a factual one. (That is my specualtion and my opinion only).

Still, like I detailed in POST #169 , in humans, we can indeed carry an inherited mental disorder that does not fully manifest til the human approaches maturity. It is known----that many disorders, in many creatures----- do not display at birth.

Many border collie’s spots do not appear until they approach maturity, still, those spots were ‘born in’, (not like, caused by his dog food, etc,) although, the spots were NOT visible on the puppy. Do you believe those ‘maturity spots’ were ‘caused’? (since they did not show up at birth??)

Many--- if not most----- illnesses in dogs, which are inherited, (on the gene or dna), do not show up in puppies………. like *some* forms of hip dysplasia, you can’t detect in the puppy, but, he did inherit that funky hip, and it will show up later on.

Yet, no one questions, (since it IS known by laymen to be a ‘physical’ disorder), that is was not ‘caused’ by humans since it didn’t show up until the dog was 5 years old.

Retinal dysplasia in border collies is inherited, (on the gene), yet, can’t be seen in the puppy…shows up later on. And It’s a “recessive” gene----meaning the parents might not ‘show’ it or ‘have’ it in their own eyes. Like the brains of aggressive dogs, it is a physical anomaly, that humans really can’t ‘cause’ to occur.

I could list 100s of inherited diseases and disorders in dogs, that do not show up in the puppy, but *do* show up later on. Like the results of having Physical differences in the brain of aggressive dogs.................

yet, no one says, “I need to know where exactly on the DNA sequence the exact gene IS or I won’t believe my dog’s eye problem----------- which did not show up til he was OLD, is ‘inherited’. I just KNOW Someone ‘caused’ this eye disorder in my dog, like, he was out in the sun too often, or got poisons in his dog treats, something ‘caused’ this, cuz he ws NOT like this as a puppy. I have to see the genetic research or I can’t believe his blindness—which showed up AT AGE SIX YEARS OLD---:eek:AFTER I had fed him Purina AND we had an eclipse that same day----I won’t believe that his blindess as an older dog is inherited.“

NO one says that................ but, they probably WOULD say that, if evvvvvvvvveryone else told them that-------- all their lives----------------- if they’d heard, too much sunshine or wrong dog food or whatever, ‘causes’ retinal dysplasia,
over and over
and over and over,
then we’d all believe that, right?
It wouldn’t matter if someone posted data showing it was inherited, we’d STILL believe the all the 1000s of dog bloggers who insist, Purina causes retinal dysplasia, we would think so IF that was all we ever heard. (OBVIOULSY i am using this as a hypothetical situation for example purposes)

If someone posted "but, MY dog never ate Purina, and still got retinal dysplasia, maybe it's on his genes?" Others would reply, "Well, maybe a "few" dogs get it on their genes, but *most* are caused by Purina dog food." rofl.

Or, ppl might reply, "WEll, maybe the dog inherits a 'tendency' for the retinal dysplasia that didn't show up til he ws six yers old, but, if you hadn't fed him Purina, he would have been fine." etc etc, ---------------same as they do for dog aggression that they couldn't spot in a puppy.....
IF everyone else said that, we'd believe it, that disorders that show up in adult dogs are all "caused", otherwise, it WOULD show up in the puppy, right?

I doubt they’ve located the EXACT spot on the gene that causes retinal dysplasia, yet, everyone accepts it IS on the gene….same as herding, I doubt they’ve located the exact spot on the dna that causes that behavior, yet, everyone happily accepts it is on the dna. (“inborn”).

WE do believe what we hear over and over and over and over, especially if the person blogging on it is seen as a dog authority figure, (even though that authority person might not have ever ever ever read one research paper on the topic they blog about.) Lol, many of our IDEAS are also “inherited”:ROFLMAO:, ha ha!! Okay, I am derailing my own answer here, sorry!!
See, I just don’t find the idea of a dog having a disorder which is not evident in the puppy, that remarkable of an idea, but, I now understand, that most ppl can not wrap their minds around the idea of an inborn disorder that does not show up at birth. If it shows up later, it must be ‘caused’ seems to be a common mindset about dog disorders.


Well-Known Member
I live with a dog aggressive dog. A shy dog and a few normal dogs! I too believe some aggression is genetic. I struggle with the idea that I have these dogs and one of them truly has an issue with being aggressive. He puffs up to appear larger and has issues with "submissive" behaving dogs. Occasionally see it with other like minded dogs. It is almost like he has been injected with testosterone. He was neutered at nine months when I got him and had not started marking his territory. He is a sledding Siberian Husky. When in harness he does not bother his running mate. Sweet dog to people and some other dogs but instinctually plays rough and grabs necks on other dogs while he plays. I do not trust him loose with my "normal" dogs. This may have been a socialization issue as he was used as a sled dog and lived in a kennel but certain strains of the breed are a little closer to their wild ancestors. You can see the switch in his behavior in certain circumstances. Our police K9 handler says I definitely need to alpha roll him a few times when I see him changing. I try to keep him well exercised and seperated from the others...I am sure no one else would put so much work into him. I certainly show no fear around him or allow his poor behavior but avoid allowing him around small animals as I know his prey drive is intense.


Honored Member
Katz, I'd be interested to hear a bit more about your dog's aggression "symptoms" if you have time to describe them. Thanks.

I don't like the sound of your trainer... alpha rolls are not my idea of good training and they can make aggression worse. Desensitization and positive training are much more effective.


Honored Member
I saw almost everything my dog was uncomfortable with, as a “project” for me to work on! Lol! Buddy also disliked anyone leaning over him, or hugging him, so of course---------that became my next project.:ROFLMAO:

I took much time getting him to accept me leaning over him, and hugging him. Other ppl may not approve of my doing that, but, I did, and it worked out fine for *my* dog----another person might not have same result, so eveyrone should make their own decision about if this is right or wrong thing to be doing.

I think it is great you did this. You did not do this to "dominate" your dog, but to get him used to this way of being handled. Building trust, nothing will happen to him when someone leans over or pets on the head.
I have been doing it with Cooper. I have been massaging his head. He seems to like it, so that is how I get him to accept it with me and my family.
But I always tell other people how to pet him. Since he is a true aussie, in this matter, he is not so outgoing towards strangers. Usually he will back away from them. Once he gets to know you, there is no problem.
When they ask if they can pet him I always respond with, Ofcourse, but not on the head. He likes it under his chin and on his back just above his tail.
I don't feel he has to accept this dominating gesture from others. But he only backs away when it does happen, he never growls or bites.
I think, that if he did, I would have done the same as you.