Dog Aggression

Everyone will be familiar with a male dog living in their vicinity that makes itself unpopular with its aggressive behavior. The male hormone is responsible for many of the characteristics that make the suburban male a social outcast.

The instinct to protect its territory makes it difficult for postmen, milkmen and meter readers to go about their legitimate business. Fighting and the terrorizing of smaller dogs and ferocious barking at passers-by all stem from the territorial instincts that prove, so unwelcome in the urban environment.

Hordes of assorted dogs congregating around a dwelling in which a female dog in season is confined is a familiar scene associated with male sexuality. Where the female is not confined fights break out, not only between the dogs but also between their owners.

How to stop dog aggression

One of the solutions to these problems is the surgical castration of the male. In most instances, this will be the most practical approach.

In some dogs, even this does not fully alleviate the objectionable male characteristics. It seems that some other source of hormones in the body exerts influence on the central nervous system which triggers excessive male characteristics. Of course, this method is of no help to owners of pedigree dogs, required for breeding.

For some time veterinarians have been treating problem dogs with the female hormone, progesterone. The drug can be administered in tablet form but a depot injection was usually found to be more effective. The results were variable, particularly in dogs showing excessive aggressive traits and failure was probably due to the massive amount of the hormone necessary to inhibit the male hormones of the patient.

Recently a substance called Delmadinone acetate has been introduced which has 40 times the potency of progesterone in its inhibition of the male hormone secretion. Promising results have been obtained and quite long-lasting effects have followed when a second dose is given three to four weeks after the first injection.

The great advantage of this preparation is that male dogs will eventually become normally fertile if required for stud purposes. The precise time at which potency returns is variable, and they may require hormone treatment to fully counteract the effects of the Delmadinone.

Urinary incontinence in the female is the result of a deficiency in the female hormone estrogen. This occurs in aged dogs and is, of course, more prevalent in desexed females. Inability to retain the urine overnight or the passing of small amounts when asleep are signs of the disorder.

Fortunately, the condition can usually be readily corrected by supplying a small dose of female hormone in tablet form every three days or so. It is wise to have the dog examined by a veterinarian before beginning the treatment, as infections of the genital tract sometimes cause similar symptoms and the dose of hormones should be in accordance with the size of the dog.

Female dogs can suffer another hormonal problem, called pseudopregnancy, associated with the excessive production of progesterone after they have been in season. Non-pregnant dogs develop enlarged mammary glands and can produce quite large quantities of milk about the time that puppies would have been born had they conceived.

Psychological changes can also occur and the dog often is reluctant to leave its bed and remains tightly curled as if nursing a litter of puppies. It may become unusually possessive about a toy or a ball and becomes aggressive if attempts are made to remove it.

False or pseudopregnancy often passes off without requiring treatment but if intense psychological signs persist, treatment is recommended. Hormones are given that revert temperament and glands to normal.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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