Aggression: predatory in Dogs (Canis) | Vetlexicon
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Aggression: predatory

ISSN 2398-2942

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Introduction

  • Aggression under little, if any, autonomic influence.
  • Exhibited towards prey by predatory animals.
  • Usually involves one or more components of predation.
  • Moving objects may trigger it in an animal which does not frequently hunt.
  • Behavior tends to be rewarding → self-reinforcing.

Presenting signs

  • Predatory animals stalking or pursuing prey animals (birds, cats, other dogs, perhaps children).
  • Usually associated with stealth.
  • Towards young crying infants (possibly perceived as vulnerable prey).

Acute presentation

  • Involving one or more of: stalking, pouncing, killing bite, relocation to another area to feed.
  • Group predation possible: dog only engages in hunting behavior if with other dogs.

Breed/Species predisposition

  • Breeds in which some predatory behaviour may be desirable, eg working Border Collie Border Collie and racing Greyhound? Greyhound.
  • Breeds with strong drive to display kill component of hunting behavior, eg Terriers.

Special risks

  • Predatory aggressive animals left unattended with young children or infants.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Normal predatory behavior but in inappropriate circumstances.
  • Predatory aggression associated with stalking is always potentially more dangerous than predatory behavior associated with barking at and chasing moving objects or people.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Presence of prey or perceived victim.

Pathophysiology

  • Species relying on killing other animals for food → evolution of modern dog with retention of some ancestral behavior → predatory aggression.
  • Predatory aggression is physiologically a non-autonomic type of aggression.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Beaver B (1983) Clinical Classification of Canine Aggression. Appl Anim Ethol 10, 34-43.
  • Overall K L (1997) Clinical behavioral medicine for small animals. pp 114-115, 269.
  • Askew H (1996) Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats. pp 178-179.

Organisation(s)

  • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, PO Box 46, Worcester WR8 9YS, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1386 751151; Email: apbc@petbcent.demon.co.uk; Website: http://www.apbc.co.uk.