Data for: An Investigation Into the Effectiveness of Various Professionals and Behavior Modification Programs, With or Without Medication, for the Treatment of Canine Aggression

Published: 02-08-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/jbyscgr3xs.1
Ian Dinwoodie


In this follow up study we investigate a subset of 963 dogs whose owners (n=800) described as having at least one form of aggressive behavior. We were particularly interested in learning which types of professionals, if any, were sought for assistance for the presenting behavior. Owners were also asked to indicate the resolutions employed, including training methods and equipment, behavior modification programs, behavior modification and training techniques, medications, and forms of alternative medicine. Using a self-reported questionnaire, both cohesive and dispersive aggressive behaviors were investigated including conflict aggression, interdog housemate aggression, fear aggression toward people, fear aggression toward dogs, and predatory aggression. Fifty-three percent of dogs with reported aggressive behaviors were mixed breeds. The study sample was 56% male, a majority (91%) of which were neutered. Most commonly, the dogs with reported aggressive behaviors were the sole dog in the household. Fifty-six percent of dogs were brought to at least one professional for remedial assistance. Combined approaches employing a veterinarian with either a trainer, behavior consultant, or credentialed behavior consultant were found to be highly rated among owners. Fifteen percent of dogs brought to veterinarians for advice about behavior problems were found to have an underlying medical problem contributing to the dog’s misbehavior. As far as training equipment was concerned, we found a decreased probability of improvement in overall aggression when anti-bark collars were used (OR: 0.18) as well as a decreased probability of success (OR: 0.51) when a muzzle was employed for treatment of aggression to unfamiliar dogs (designated fear aggression). Thirty-six percent of dogs were exposed to behavior modification programs as a form of treatment and an association was found between systematic desensitization and a positive response to treatment for overall aggression (OR: 2.41). When employing behavior modification training techniques, response blocking was found to decrease probability for improvement in predatory aggression (OR: 0.40). Twenty-one percent of dogs received medication as a form of treatment for aggression. There was a decreased probability for improvement when trazadone was used for overall aggression (OR: 0.53) and conflict aggression (OR: 0.28). There was also a decreased probability for improvement when clomipramine was used for external aggression to dogs (OR: 0.20). Interestingly, when investigating alternative medicines, we were surprised to find a strong association between chiropractic methods and positive response to treatment for external aggression to dogs. No treatment was positively associated with an improvement in predatory aggression. This Mendeley dataset includes: * The raw dataset. * A link the GitHub repository where analysis was performed.


Steps to reproduce

The analysis for the dataset was performed in a public GitHub repository ( Steps to reproduce the findings are available in the repository.