Many dogs exhibit an aggressive behavior during walks if they meet another dog on their way. Researchers managed to identify the biological reason behind this behavior, called leash aggression. It seems hormones are to blame for it, and knowing about them might help with the development of some therapies to make the animals calmer.
Some dogs exhibit leash aggression
Dogs usually enjoy walks, but both their experience and that of their owners is often disturbed if they meet another dog on the street. Some pups might turn incredibly aggressive when seeing another canine companion around, and start barking and growling at them. This behavior, known as leash aggression, can end in the unhappiest of ways.
Many studies analyzed the levels of serotonin and testosterone in relation with aggressiveness, and discovered they might have an influence on dogs. However, the story is much more complicated than that. It turns out other hormones are more important when it comes to leash aggression.
Hormones are to blame for dogs’ aggressive behavior
Vasopressin and oxytocin play a bigger role in the social behavior of dogs. Both hormones are also present in humans, and influence their behavior in a similar way. Oxytocin, for instance, increases in humans if they exhibit love towards someone. Vasopressin has the opposite effect.
This hormone was related to water retention, but has also been associated to an increase in aggressiveness in humans. In fact, those who struggle with chronic aggression have higher levels of vasopressin in the body. This is why researchers thought the hormone might influence dogs as well.
In a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers selected several dog owners who reported of struggling with leash aggression in their pets. They monitored the influence of oxytocin and vasopressin in this behavior, and found out the levels of these hormones are higher in aggressive dogs.
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