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Old 02-25-2010, 08:33 AM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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Default Question-when dogs attack their owners

You see it in the media occasionally, dogs that "turn" on their owners. Does anyone know the reasons behind these attacks? I often hear people say it is the breed, that it is a matter of time before they turn on their owners. I know that is totally bogus, it doesn't make any sense. But I would like to know if anyone has any clue as to what makes some dogs attack/kill their owners. It has been bothering me and I can't find any solid information.
It would be nice to know if it were something as simple as under-socializing, then it could be avoided much easier. If it were something like a mental issue (for lack of a better word, brain not wire right/gotta screw loose) then it seems it is unavoidable. Or if it was because they were abused, taught to be vicious, etc. Or likely, something I am not even thinking of.
Thanks, I am just trying to gain some insight!
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:39 AM
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smkie smkie is offline
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It could be a medical issue like a brain tumour.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:48 AM
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InLimbo87 InLimbo87 is offline
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See, the hard part behind this question is that there is no defined "right" answer for all of these scenarios. Sometimes its even a culmination of multiple factors, and sometimes we just don't know.

As Smkie already pointed out, often this can be caused by a health issue such as a brain tumor.

Other times, it could be considered genetics. Now, I'm not talking "He's a pitbull so he turns and kills people" (insert much sarcasm here). I'm talking dogs passed down genetically the predisposition for aggression, typically through improper or unethical breeding practices.

This behavior can also be caused from abusive behaviors from the owner (probably the most typical). Most dogs will show a warning prior to biting or attacking, however if the owner has been abusive enough against the warning behavior, it is possible that they would just turn and strike.

I'm sure there a multitude of other reasons, these are just the ones that came to my mind.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:48 AM
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I think that question is wayyyy too complex LOL

I think you'd have to look at every dog in every situation and I really doubt you could generalize it to just one variable that causes the animals to attack.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:50 AM
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I'd say you listed many reasons this could happen. Abused, 'not wired right', medical issue, the list could go on. I don't think you'll find a 'one size fits all' answer.

That's like trying to figure out why one person kills another...........the circumstance, situations, and possibilities are endless, LOL
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:52 AM
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It would probably depend on what you mean by 'attack'. I tend to think a flat out mauling usually has to do with the dog just not being 'right' in the head. But there are lots and lots of reasons a dog might bite (even rather severely) its owners.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:53 AM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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Well I know there is not one answer, lol. But when you hear it on the news it comes up and people always say it is because they are pits (cane corso, etc). It would be nice to have some solid information so that I can refute these claims. If I were to just say it was because of (whatever) and it was just my theory, well that is no better than the assumption that it is due to their breed.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:54 AM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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Laurelin, yes, I meant when the dogs maul/kill their owners.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maybe532 View Post
Well I know there is not one answer, lol. But when you hear it on the news it comes up and people always say it is because they are pits (cane corso, etc). It would be nice to have some solid information so that I can refute these claims. If I were to just say it was because of (whatever) and it was just my theory, well that is no better than the assumption that it is due to their breed.
Do you know how often I've been told/heard that the doberman's skull is too small to house it's brain..........there for, when it reaches a certain age/size it goes insane and turns on it's owner? LOL People believe some crazy stuff, hahaha

There is just no real way for you to have solid information without knowing the dog in question, the circumstances behind the attack, and possibly not even then.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maybe532 View Post
It would be nice to have some solid information so that I can refute these claims. If I were to just say it was because of (whatever) and it was just my theory, well that is no better than the assumption that it is due to their breed.
Understandable, but the problem is that each individual case really DOES need to be judged on its own individual circumstances. There is no "one" answer.

Also unfortunately ... theory often does have to play a part because there's always the possibility that a post-mortem was not done on the animal to find medical problems that may have caused the attack, or at least not one that was complete enough because many medical issues can affect behavior. Many times all they look for is signs of rabies.

Another possibility necessitating theory is that people involved may not always tell the truth about what happened before the attack ... hiding the truth about the source from which they got the dog, what training methods were used, how the dog was cared for, whether or not they left young children or babies alone with the dog, any provocation that may have occurred, etc., etc.


ETA: Example of one case where people were lying was one I read about a few years ago. A family dog "suddenly and for no reason" had "turned on" a young child in the household and the child eventually died from the injuries of the attack. Everybody agreed that the dog was awful and had to be put down immediately, the parents insisted the child had not been left alone with the dog and that there was NO provocation for the dog to have done that. On the post-mortem after the dog was euthanized, a sharp pencil stub was found to have been jammed deeply into the dog's ear, and the post-mortem showed it had in fact been shoved into the dog's ear sometime prior to the attack.

Last edited by TheGoldenRetriever; 02-25-2010 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Add ETA
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