Amstaff aggression: types, reasons, what to do
What is aggression?
Aggression is the norm in the animal kingdom. Predators, which include dogs, use aggression as communication, as a warning to each other, and as a defense.
When competing with each other, animals do not attack each other immediately, but begin to threaten: take warlike poses, show fangs and claws, make ritual movements. This is due to the instinct of self-preservation. Often everything ends with a psychological attack in which a more psychologically stable animal wins. A weaker animal removes psychological stress by adopting a pose of submission and often receives a ritualized effect in its direction at the physical level - pinching with fangs, bashing for the scruff of the neck. A dominant individual suppresses others if two dominant individuals meet, the confrontation lasts either until someone surrenders, or the relationship is clarified physically - by a fight.
The inequality of individuals in aggressiveness leads to the formation of relations of subordination between them, the so-called hierarchy. The strong ones dominate, the weak ones obey. There is a classification of the hierarchy in dogs and wolves:
Alpha individuals: animals with a high hormonal level and a high degree of aggression that make up the backbone of the flock, only they breed.
Beta individuals: they carry the function of reconnaissance and hunter warriors.
Individuals below rank Omega, perform the function of patrolling, “resolving” conflicts as peacekeepers ... This we can observe not only in the pack in nature, this also applies to the behavior of animals in another environment, and this behavior is caused by natural instincts.
We see the situation with aggression in a different way: if an animal expresses in our direction any deviation of generally accepted “normal” behavior, we perceive it as aggression. That is, we perceive even the ritual actions of the animal as aggression in our direction. A very common mistake is to humanize a dog: it is evil, while anger is a moral quality. An animal can be incredulous, cowardly, naughty, harmful, dangerous, but not evil or kind. It is what nature is intended to be by natural selection.
Another common mistake of dog breeders: "the dog dominates me!" This is absolutely wrong, if only because we belong to different species. The dog does not dominate us, we tend to perceive this behavior, the dominance it can show only among our own kind.
Types of aggression
We humans resolve conflicts differently. And when we see aggression against us, we immediately start to panic, not trying to figure out the reasons. The first reason is natural instincts. So, we will analyze the basic natural instincts that we can suppress by building a trusting relationship with our pet.
FOOD - the most elementary aggression we face. It is logical to assume that the dog, like any predator, will protect its food. The dog got this food and tries to swallow it quickly. When we invade personal space and can pretend to be food, the dog warns that it is not worth it. This is a roar, a grin, a pose. The severity of the signals can be different. If one dog just “puts” the tail or ears in a certain position before the attack, the other will show brighter dissatisfaction. We can either prove that we are more important, more important, and select prey as a leader, or build confidence when the dog does not perceive our actions as a threat.
MATERNAL INSTINCT - aggression aimed at protecting offspring, when a bitch protects her den, this is a normal natural instinct. The severity of this type of aggression will depend on the degree of trust of the animal in the host. If the dog trusts the owner, she will bring him puppies herself. It is possible to reduce the level of such aggression only by building confidence with the pet.
DEFENSE AGGRESSION. The dog is stressed, scared, and sees no other choice but to bite. The animal warns that it is scary and painful: pose, position of ears, tail.
Intraspecific - when dogs attack their own kind. Reasons: incorrect socialization (the dog cannot perceive other dogs as congeners, does not know how to communicate with them), etching (the owners encourage this behavior, and the dog gets a taste), or an excess of energy that has nowhere to put, as well as clarification of the hierarchical position in a society of their own kind.
TERRITORIAL AGGRESSION -natural instinct aimed at protecting its habitat. It is used, as a rule, for protection of the house, house territory, etc.
INSTITUTE OF BREEDING - dogs test their strength in the fight for the female or accumulate sexual energy and spill it on various barriers to this female. It can be expressed both in increased aggression towards oneself and in relation to a person and the environment. For example, many owners pay attention that a dog who senses a flowing bitch, not only looking for fights with other dogs, but also stops hearing commands, starts snapping when they try to force him to execute them, and begins to destroy everything around him.
HUNTING INSTINCTwhich is often confused with aggression is when a dog pursues everything that moves: bicycles, runners, children, etc. If you cannot control the dog in this situation, then you have a relationship problem, you are not an authority for it.
Congenital Disorders psyche. In this case, the aggression is paroxysmal in nature. The dog played, everything was fine - and suddenly his eyes turned into a veil, and the pet rushed to the attack, and it was impossible to calm him down. To prevent this from happening, breeding should be controlled, including genetic tests. You must be able to recognize this condition, and the diagnosis process should be entrusted to a competent dog handler. Such aggression is not corrected and not controlled.
BREED FEATURES. Over the course of many centuries, humans have been breeding dogs for their breed-specific characteristics. Now we are witnessing a huge number of different dog breeds, which differ not only in size and appearance, but also in some behavioral characteristics. For example, the behavior of a service dog will be different from the behavior of a shepherd or hunting one. That in the behavior of one dog will be considered normal, then the other will have abnormal behavior. Therefore, choosing a pet, you need to understand what this or that dog is in terms of breed qualities. It is foolish to get Alabai into an apartment and expect loyal and calm behavior from him, and good results in the hunt from a “clerk”.
Speaking specifically about staffs and pit bulls, they have a feature - very short warning rituals or lack of them. That is, the dog expresses a minimum of willingness to attack, to an inexperienced person it seems that the dog attacked for no reason. In fact, there were warning signals, they simply did not see them.
This feature is rooted in the distant past of these breeds, when initially pit bulls were bred for the quality of aggression towards their own kind, but they carefully rejected aggression towards humans. Therefore, pitas and staffs can be aggressive towards other dogs and animals, but not at humans. If aggression goes towards the person, then there are two options: either improper upbringing and special bullying, or poor breeding without dog quality control. If one is superimposed on the other, then in the end we get an uncontrollable animal, which only a good specialist can handle.
The hierarchical rank of the dog and the tasks performed by it must also be taken into account. Dominant individuals have a higher hormonal level, they are more psychologically stable, stubborn, inventive, etc. And imagine a situation when you, as a pet, get a beta-character dog, and for active sports or guard duty, an omega-character dog that prefers to obey in response to pressure or avoids it in any way? In both the first and second cases there will be problems: the alpha dog “builds” households, because they did not explain the rules of behavior from the very beginning and were not accustomed to the correct submission, and the second dog does not make independent decisions and does not fulfill the task, therefore how she’s not adapted for such a task, and she develops psychosis. In dogs, a nervous breakdown begins, and increasing aggression as a way of confronting.
OTHER REASONS. The causes of aggressive behavior can be physiological: diseases, hormonal disruptions, parasites, unhealthy diets, and psychological: stressful situation in the house, beatings, pickling a person, using a dog not according to her professional suitability.
Can a person provoke Amstaff aggression and how to avoid this?
Ignoring natural instincts is the surest path to aggression in our direction. It is not in vain that there are unwritten rules: do not climb onto a strange dog when she eats, do not pet another's animal, walk around a female with cubs, do not enter a protected area, etc.
Nature itself dictated one of the rules: do not show aggression to what you trust, therefore manifestations of aggression in your direction can be suppressed if you engage in a dog and cultivate self-confidence in it.
By etching it is very easy to rekindle aggression against oneself like absolutely any breed of dog, but this applies especially to pit bulls and American Staffordshire terriers. These dogs can live normally among their own kind, but we humans forget that they are unusually gambling. They can enter such a combat rage that it is impossible to separate them, even if you pour water on them, beat them, pull them on their hind legs and use various other methods. Remove the dog from the victim can only be a special device - a stack. With this tool, you can open the jaw of the dog and do without severe injuries.
There is a belief that pit bulls and amstaffs have a very high pain threshold. This is not true. Dogs feel pain, like any other animal, but the urge to tear apart prey is so great that they can endure pain, it only adds adrenaline to them, so to beat them at the time of the fight is absolutely useless.
Remember: what we put in the dog, then we get the output.
A person often himself contributes to the initiation of aggression towards people in a dog, for example, when he hits a pet. The law of physics: the more we push, the stronger the resistance. You can break the dog's psyche so much that it does not just become a habit, but becomes a reflex when the dog bites in response to any physical impact. And then neither the electric collar nor other similar training tools will help. Only building relationships anew, and first of all - controlling your behavior.
We must build a calm and confident relationship with the dog from the first day she appears in the house, be fair, but tough and consistent: if the dog cannot do this today, then it cannot be tomorrow and always. Then most of the problems can be avoided at the very beginning, even if the dog came to our house as an adult and with a set of already acquired bad habits.
How to adjust amstaff aggression
If you are dealing with aggression, you need to consider many factors: first of all, the nature of the dog and its predisposition to domination, age, gender, whether it is sterilized, its state of health, and also determine the cause of aggression.
Males are more straightforward, but they need to prove more often that they are wrong, bitches are more inventive, they need to be cunning.
It is necessary to know and take into account the characteristics of the breed: raising a pit bull is very different from raising a German shepherd or alabai.
Self-control is important. Even if you have done a great job, it is enough to break, shout or beat a pet once - and all previous efforts will go down the drain. On the other hand, if you take a step back at the dog’s throw, you lose. She will take advantage and will “push” further.
Keep track of your body language clearly. For example, if you pat an aggressive dog on the head by raising your hand from above, you will provoke it.
You need to know when you can retreat, how to insist on your own, how to force a dog to act without physical impact on it, how to properly encourage a dog.
You need to be extremely careful, understand the dog’s language, including body language, to determine in what mood and condition it is, whether it is ready to rush.
It is necessary to understand how to gain the trust of an animal and become a leader, what approach to apply, how to calm it down.
Beating a dog is useless - this is the worst thing you can think of.
All dogs are personalities. And what works with one will not work with the other. The basics are general, but the “setup” must be individual.
The first step is to determine the causes of the non-standard behavior of the animal and diagnose its behavior, and then to gain confidence. Until this is done, no further correction is possible. It may take 5 minutes and 5 days, this process cannot be forced. But as soon as you succeed, the dog herself will tell you what to do next.
Now there are a lot of different kinds of video tutorials on behavior correction, including aggression. However, inexperienced dog breeders are better off not relying on them. Even if everything is shown correctly in the video tutorial, many of the nuances that may be important are not revealed there. And in the case of a particular dog, copying the actions of a video instructor can be not only useless, but sometimes dangerous.
Aggression is often exacerbated by the thoughtless use of funds that are not really needed. Both the electroshock collar, and the parfors (strict collar), and the noose have the right to life, but only if they are used very "pointly", by professionals and exclusively when it is really necessary. If you use them incorrectly, you can cripple the psyche of the dog or be crippled by it.
You can correct aggression if you make an effort. This is painstaking, sometimes lengthy work, but the results can always be achieved with any dog of any breed and age.
Correction is carried out not only with the dog, but also with the owner. You can adjust the dog’s behavior, but if it gets into the same situation that led to the problem, it will arise again.
It is important to remember that castration, contrary to a common misconception, does not solve the problems of aggression.
Correction of aggressive behavior can only be done by a specialist.