Aggression toward familiar people and animals

image of Aggression toward familiar people and animals
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Dog bites pose a serious problem to humans, and the incidence appears to be increasing. This suggests that current preventive interventions are inadequate. The causes of bites are multifactorial, and more research is needed on the epidemiology of bites to help identify the most appropriate prevention strategies. This chapter covers evaluation of the patient, diagnosis, treatment of aggression, prognosis and follow-up, prevention, teaching owners how to interact safely with their pet.

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17.1 The canine Ladder of Aggression: how a dog reacts to stress or threat.
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17.8 Training alone is not sufficient to reduce dog bites. A dog may be obedient but still anxious and so a potential risk. Note the nose licking and paw lifting apparent in this obediently sitting dog. (Courtesy of M. Laureys.)
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17.10 In a survey of children presented at emergency departments for dog bites, facial injuries were more common in younger children. The photo shows a bite on the face of a young girl. (Data from ; photograph courtesy of R. Butcher.)
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17.12 Early exposure to prey species helps to prevent predatory behaviour later in life and may even encourage social behaviour toward these individuals. (Courtesy of H. Blancke.)
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17.13 Biting during play is normal for puppies as they learn to use their mouths. Unless managed appropriately, however, the behaviour can extend into adulthood and cause significant injury to other animals or to people. (Courtesy of H. Blancke.)
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17.14 Play-biting toward children in the context of chasing or teasing games that result in high arousal can cause injuries, even when a young dog is involved, and so needs to be addressed. (Courtesy of O. Van Den Broecke.)
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17.15 Competitive disputes over key resources, such as a food bowl, tend to occur most with children. Clear protocols for managing children as well as dogs are required to prevent aggressive incidents. (Courtesy of M. Verbocht.)
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17.16 Two-thirds of dog bites in children happen in the context of conflict over resources. (Courtesy of B. Proesmans.)
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17.17 Dogs that react aggressively in the context of benign interactions should be screened for underlying physical disorders, including an anxiety disorder. (Courtesy of H. Jung.)
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17.18 Hiding should be recognized as a strategy used in response to a stressful situation. When the triggering stimulus is benign, the dog should be screened for underlying emotional disorders such as anxiety. (Courtesy of M. Van De Velde.)
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17.19 Young children may unintentionally perform aversive (painful or non-painful) actions that can provoke an aggressive response. (a, e Courtesy of I. De Cock.)
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17.20 Eighty percent of all child interactions with a dog are reportedly initiated by the child, putting the child at greater risk. (Courtesy of W. and S. van Hecke.)
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17.21 Dogs in a ‘T’ position, with the head of one over the shoulders of the other. Acceptance of this head position is a sign of social deference that reduces the risk of aggression. However, the gesture may not be tolerated and so may also trigger an aggressive episode.
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17.22 Owner misconceptions and inappropriate intervention (e.g. jerking a dog back as it investigates another or exchanges social gestures) may trigger an unnecessary aggressive incident during an otherwise normal social encounter between familiar dogs.
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17.23 Example of the processes involved in the development of an individualized programme facilitating desensitization and counter-conditioning to stressful interactions. Bino is a neutered male 7-year-old Shih Tsu, who has bitten his owner during a physical interaction.
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17.25 The Blue Dog programme aims to teach young children through interactive animated sequences about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour around dogs in different circumstances.
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