Which is more aggressive, a golden retriever or a Rottweiler? The answer may seem obvious, but a new study published in this month’s issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science is challenging stereotypes. A U.K. survey questioning about 4000 dog owners found that the owner—rather than the breed—helps determine how aggressive a dog is. For instance, dogs trained with negative reinforcement and punishment were more than twice as likely to bark, lunge, growl, or bite at strangers and three times as likely to be hostile toward family members, while owners younger than 25 years old are two times more likely to have violent dogs compared with those older than 40. The solution? Puppy training classes, the authors say, are a good start.
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