No dog is born ‘dangerous’ and no one wants a ‘dangerous’ dog so how come rescue centres get so many?
It usually starts with tormenting, boisterous behaviour and rough play: tug ‘o’ wars, wrestling, chasing etc. It all seems innocent at first but leads in only one direction.
At some stage the dog becomes frustrated and uses the skills he’s learned. It may be launching himself at his handler, grabbing a ball from his owner’s hand or knocking a child over to get an ice cream. Either way the dog learns the advantages he can gain by ‘playing rough.’
At some stage the dog will growl and bare his teeth causing his handler to back down. Now he’s really exerting his authority. He can call the shots simply by a show of aggression.
The dog is now primed and all that’s required to turn him into a ‘dangerous’ dog is one incident. Whatever it is always involves a bite. He may do it in ‘play’ or in frustration but once he sees the effect he’ll be invincible. In one move a ‘boisterous’ dog becomes a ‘dangerous’ dog using aggression to get his own way.
This is particularly dangerous for children who roll around on the floor with a young dog. Sooner or later that dog will treat them as a ‘puppy’ nipping whenever they get in his way.
Rough play, particularly wrestling and tug ‘o’ wars are totally unsuitable activities for a pet dog but for terriers, guarding and herding breeds they are extremely dangerous games to play.
If you want a calm dog you must teach gentleness and patience.