Aggression in dogs, especially when exhibited by bully breeds or breeds with bad reputations, is far too often attributed back to some inherent fault in the dog. When you encounter a dog that barks at anything and everything and pulls at a chain, do you assume that this particular dog is just a bad apple in the bunch, or do you assume that the dog learned this behavior because of how it was treated and conditioned by humans?
The video below shows footage of a German Shepherd, Alex, that had been chained to a fence for his entire life. The man who approaches was called in to try to help Alex, as he has extensive experience in dealing with dogs just like this one. He knows that Alex is aggressive because he’s been constantly chained up, and is ready to prove that there’s a gentle beast hiding behind the tough exterior. It’s certainly a risky operation, but this dog deserves a second chance, no questions asked.
Dogs can develop aggression for many reasons: there’s fear-motivated aggression, protective aggression, territorial aggression, and frustration aggression, just to name a few. Alex is probably exhibiting aggressive behavior for a combination of reasons: partially because he is tied up and is frustrated because of it, partially because he’s defending the territory that he believes to be his own, and I’m quite confident in assuming that some of this aggression is learned from an owner who wanted a guard dog more than a companion. When you really consider this dog’s circumstances from every angle, it’s clear that he was completely disadvantaged from the first.