Objective: To determine the success rate of positive training methods and behavioral modification techniques in dogs with dominance aggression and to compare personality profiles between owners of dominant-aggressive and nondominant dogs.
Design: Prospective clinical study.
Animals: 10 dominant-aggressive dogs and 10 non-dominant, nonaggressive control dogs.
Procedure: Dominance aggression was quantified, using an aggression score, in the 10 dominant dogs before and after a nonconfrontational behavior modification program. The personality profile of the owners of dominant and control dogs, assessed by means of a Keirsey temperament sorter, was compared, as was the influence of owner personality on the outcome of behavioral modification in the dominant dogs.
Results: 9 of 10 dominant dogs responded to the nonconfrontational treatment program by a decrease in aggressive response to similar eliciting stimuli. Significant differences were not found between the personality of the owners of dominant versus control dogs, and owner personality did not significantly affect the outcome of behavior modification treatment.
Clinical implications: Nonconfrontational behavior modification programs are effective in reducing owner-directed dominance aggression in dogs. Owner personality does not necessarily predispose certain individuals to assaults by dominant dogs or profoundly affect their ability to engage in a successful behavioral modification program.