By JASON GILL and MATT WAHLBERG • The Toronto StarToronto (AFP) – Dog owners need to be aware of the hazards of their furry friends, a new study has found, adding to a growing body of research that suggests a dog’s proximity to a door may be a trigger for aggressive behaviour.
The study, published in the International Journal of Dog Behavior and Therapy, found that when a dog is in a dog door, the dog may experience fear and distress as a result of the dog’s “threat” of a door closing on them.
“When a dog enters a dog room, there is a risk of triggering a threat response, which is why it is important for dog owners to consider the risk of their dog entering a dog house and how that may affect their relationship with their pet,” said the study’s lead author, veterinarian Professor Kevin Molloy, of the University of Toronto’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
“There is a growing awareness of the importance of ensuring a dog owner’s dog has a safe, secure, and quiet environment, and the study demonstrates the importance in this area.”
The study looked at the relationship between the proximity of a dog to a dogroom and aggression in dogs from 11 breeds, including German Shepherds, Dobermans, English Bulldogs, Staffordshire Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, and Boxers.
“The dogs who lived in the dog room experienced more aggression than those who lived outside of the room, which was related to the presence of the threat of a large dog door,” Mollow said.
“While dogs were more likely to enter the dog house than outside of it, there was no significant difference between the two groups in aggression toward dogs in the house.”
A dog in a door can trigger fear and anxiety, which can lead to aggressive behaviourThe authors said there was a significant link between the dog in the door and the risk for aggressive behavior.
“In contrast, the dogs that lived in a safe space experienced a significantly lower risk for aggression than the dogs who did not have a dog in their home,” Molla said.
The researchers found that the risk factors for aggression were different for dogs in different dog rooms, which the researchers believe was a consequence of the dogs’ different levels of aggression, the size of the house, and whether the dog was in a human or dogroom.
The authors concluded that dog owners should be aware that a dog may have a tendency to be aggressive, but the dog owners need not be fearful to ensure a dog stays safe.
“Although there are certain behaviors that can trigger a dog into aggression, a dog can be taught to stay calm, quiet and avoid making a threat,” Molls said.
Molloy said that the study was a good start to better understanding how dog owners can keep their dogs safe in their homes.
“For dog owners who are considering adopting a dog, there are many ways to manage their dog,” he said.
“One of the things that we want to see is more research in this field that is looking at the different levels that dogs are exposed to in a home and how this can affect their dogs.”
Read more about dog owners and dogs