Dogs’ Sociability, Owners’ Neuroticism and Attachment Style to Pets as Predictors of Dog Aggression
Department of Animal Science, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Groblje 3, 1230 Domžale, Slovenia
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Received: 17 January 2020 / Revised: 13 February 2020 / Accepted: 14 February 2020 / Published: 18 February 2020
It is widely known that psychological characteristics, for example personality traits, can facilitate the occurrence of aggressive behavior. Using the combination of two research methods—questionnaires and behavioral testing—we investigated the associations between a dog’s personality and its aggression towards humans and animals. Due to the close relationship and co-habitation of dogs and humans, we also looked at how the owner’s personality and the dog–human emotional bond, known as attachment style, play a role in dog aggression. Our results indicated that dogs which were aggressive towards humans were less sociable, and had owners who were less emotionally stable, more distant, and less clingy and controlling, compared to non-aggressive dogs. These results emphasize the importance of owner attachment to a dog for dog behavior, and may serve as a foundation for future research on psychosocial factors influencing dog aggression.