There is a saying that ‘you are what you eat’. This is synonymous to ‘you are what your dog is’, as proven by a recent study which was accepted in Applied Animal Behavior Science, conducted and written by Petr Rezac and his team.
Their study circles around the idea that an owner’s gender or sex greatly affects the tendency of a dog to get into a fight with another dog. According to them, “We propose that the occurrence of threat and biting in dogs on a walk may have some connection with aggressive tendencies and/or impulsivity in people.” They have also added: “Dogs are able to perceive subtle messages of threat emitted by another dog. Simultaneously, dogs are unusually skilled at reading human social and communicative behavior.
Here is a breakdown of their study, which they conducted in Brno, Czech Republic. They went dog-watching and observed an estimated 2,000 interactions, all in various areas of the city. Many people in this city walk their dogs, so it was relatively easy to collect data. Based on these many observations, here are their conclusions:
- Body sniffing is the most common social activity for dogs.
- Male dogs are more likely to sniff female dogs.
- Dogs of the opposite gender prefer playing with each other more than dogs of the same sex.
- Puppies play together more than adults and seniors do.
- Dogs prefer playing with similarly-sized ones.
- Off-leash dogs sniff more than those stuck in leashes.
- Leashed dogs are more aggressive than off-leash ones, as they tend to get into heated fights more than the free ones.
The last two observations are also quite important. Of course a leash protects a dog from many dangers and keeps the owner in control, but also does some damage and oppression to a dog’s will – he may feel as if something is blocking his freedom. They also feel a responsibility to protect and obey their masters, and thus have no time to run around and sniff at others.
In the same way, many researchers who have read and commented on the study have also concluded that, indeed, gender makes the difference in dog aggression, aside from the leash. Most of them believe that, because when it comes to owners men are generally more aggressive than women. So their dogs reflect on their master’s personality and adapt them, hence making a dog like his master. And if that owner is someone who gets into trouble often, then his dog will end up in the same way. On the other hand, women are generally softer and gentler when it comes to treating dogs. Therefore there is less probability that their pets will attack other dogs.
So pet owners, be very careful when dealing with your dogs. The leash can make a difference in your dog, as well as how you deal with other people. Remember, your dog is a reflection of who you are. So if you don’t want to cause trouble to your neighbors and other people, make sure your dog receives the proper training for socialization.