Can aggression be caused by lack of exercise?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Scooter, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Scooter

    Scooter New Member

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    My neighbor is out of town. I walked his dog for him last weekend, but this week his roommate took over. Problem is, the roommate only takes him out twice a day for about 10 minutes. The dog has been out on the deck crying and howling every day. Jake is a mix- part pit bull, but not very big- I'd say he's about 50 pounds, but very muscular. He's very high energy, but has been very sweet when I've walked him before.

    Today I just couldn't stand the howling anymore so I took my dog, Zoe, on leash to his place and got Jake (also on leash). As soon as we got outside, Jake was just uncontrollable with energy- jumping, barking, going berzerk. As I tried to calm him down his leash got tangled up with Zoe's and suddenly he attacked her! They snarled and growled and it was very frightening. I let go of Zoe's leash and she got free. Jake didn't hurt her, but his aggression scared me to death. I've never seen that in him before and wonder if his lack of exercise this week has made him frustrated and aggressive.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Dogs6

    Dogs6 Plus One

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    I think lack of exercise could be a factor in aggresion
     
  3. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Have you seen him around Zoe before?

    Dog on a tether + strange dog coming up could mean reactivity. If Jake felt threatened by her at all, his flight response is cut off in this scenario so he could have just gone straight to fighting.

    It could be a slew of things like dog reactivity or even DA. I think it takes more than lack of exercise to get a dog to be aggressive. I think part is just inborn temperament and part could be lack of socialization (which does often go hand in hand with lack of exercise). At the shelter there were a LOT of dogs that were underexercised. Most of them handled it okay. Some were relinquished due to destruction and being kind of crazy hyper from lack of exercise but not many were 'aggressive'. Imo it is usually hard to make a stable dog randomly aggressive.
     
  4. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    too much energy + too much stimulation can certainly equal brain implosion.

    i don't know how well you know this dog, but any chance it could have been a misguided, inappropriate, horribly over-the-top attempt at play? when my bullies play they sound for all the world like they're fighting.

    it certainly could have been aggression as well, but it's just a thought.

    i'm glad nobody was hurt!
     
  5. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    The way you described it happening, he was over the top jubilant at you guys (including zoe) being there, and didn't start fighting until their leashes tangled? I don't know, I wasn't there, but it sounds like having his leash tangled with hers freaked him out/hurt him somehow and he lashed out at her to try and get her away or something.
     
  6. iibao

    iibao .

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    Well lack of exercise can cause stress.
    And stress can create a little aggression.
     
  7. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I think the aggression was a response to the leashes being tangled. He was maybe uncomfortable and likely scared and trapped.
     
  8. Jules

    Jules Magic, motherf@%$*#!

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    I agree. You don't know how well socialized he is and how well he gets along with other dogs. He was probably overstimulated.

    I know that my dog (she an Am. Staff mix) gets along wonderfully with most dogs. She is very controllable on leash and doesn't care that much that other dogs are there, but when they invade her space (as in sniffing butts and then leashes getting tangled), it's a completely different story.
     
  9. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    My brother has Mary's sister. THe yard and the house are it. No other dogs to romp around with and people that are just about immobile. SHe knows sit. SHe is the gentlest spirit. SHe loves everyone and I have never seen her be aggressive at the fence to anyone. SHe doesn't do property damage either.
    Mom's dog has the same and is the same as above so I am not sure what lack of excercise has to do with it.
     
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Some dogs have a much higher prey drive and other personality traits which make them intense and pent up when they're not given an ample amount of prey burning outlet. When there is an excess of stimuli which triggers these drives, and this pent up tension builds and builds, something can become the proverial straw which puts the dog into a real fight or flight state. His limbic system is all fired up. It has to do with brain and hormone activity. If there is still no outlet by this point, the dog can re-direct this "fight" (of fight or flight) onto the nearest thing, person or other dog. They don't mean to. They're not consciously being "mean." It's the autonomic nervous sytem in full drive. And some dogs are more easily put into this state than others...and at different rates and for different reasons.

    So, yes, lack of prey burning exercise and mental stimulation can cause this un-burned energy to build like steam in a pressure cooker when just the right conditions and just the right stimuli triggers the dog. And it is sometimes seen in the form of re-directed "aggression." And sometimes it comes out as some other behavior. I don't call it true aggression because the dog is running off of, in part or whole, involuntary, chemical/hormone response and not a thought process, as when the cortex is being used. That is in the background when the limbic and autonomic nervous systems are fired up.

    So, the dogs you speak of happen to have a higher threhold for this stimuli. Conditions aren't exactly the same for every dog and their make-up is not all the same. And there are also factors which may have to do with training, relationship with owner, socialization history, self control before they get to that stage. There are just so many variables that can play into behavior.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  11. Baxter'smybaby

    Baxter'smybaby swimming upstream

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    I think lack of exercise for a dog that is USED to having regular exercise can cause an exaggerated response--I know Wilson requires much more activity than Baxter does. If I do not get Wilson out for a good romp, his reaction to all stimulation is exaggerated.
    So if this dog is used a regular amount of exercise and then doesn't get it, plus he has no mental stimulation (no one in the house with him during the day)-I think that could create trouble. JMO> :)
     
  12. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    It's neurobiology. When we get very stressed out, we're told by the medical profession to increase exercise. Being in a chronic state of stress, due to the build up of adrenelin and other stress hormones is not healthy. It needs to be burned off or that stress tends to stay with us longer. Sometimes when we're stressed or uptight, we cry or get loud. Sometimes we have short tempers and lash out at others. Dogs have hardwired behaviors that have been genetically implanted for a very long time. Some of the behaviors that are manifested are tied to survival mechanisms.

    Some dogs, especially some of the working breeds have a higher level of intensity due to their "job." Their emotional resonses, which are regulated by the pituitary may vary from another dog.

    Of course, better socialization and training is bound to have an influence on the dog's behavior. But not all dogs are as laid back, tolerant, non-reactive as other dogs. They are still individuals and not everything can be explained away by training or the human-dog bond. They're still animals with their own set of genetics that have been passed on and which relate to survival. (Otherwise, they wouldn't have been passed on.) LOL.
     
  13. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Torn up sofas curtains, blinds, chairs, carpets, bathrooms, or mine fields outside.
     
  14. Baxter'smybaby

    Baxter'smybaby swimming upstream

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    :confused: I dont' understand?
     
  15. iibao

    iibao .

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    Trouble =
     
  16. doggieideas

    doggieideas New Member

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    I think it was properly the tension on the leash applied at that moment that caused the response. Sometimes dogs will show more aggression when they feel like that can't escape something that they are fearful of.
     
  17. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    Cider actively seeks trouble if I lack time for her. She chills free in the house with my family 99% of the time these days... I got hired for a new job and I've been working more. Less active time for her even though she loves being a lazy bum.

    Today was my first day off in a week.. She's gotten walks around the neighbourhood, but not her usual level of activity. She gave me the hint today she was understimulated by going through the bathroom garbage and shredding a bunch of used sanitary products.. eww.

    Took both to the park and she had a major zoomie burst. Need to find a little more time in my day for her I think.
     
  18. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    Do you ask the owner if his dog is dog aggressive (DA)?

    Lack of exercise and mental stimulation can definitely result in one tightly wound up dog. But dog aggression is not uncommon and honestly, if you were to have done that with any of my dogs even when they were tired and well stimulated and exercised, they would've jumped on your dog anyway.

    Dog aggression is not a big deal to me as it's easily dealt with. Just don't try to make the 2 dogs play together anymore. ;)
     
  19. Liza

    Liza New Member

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    I strongly believe that the lack of proper exercise can cause aggressive tendencies in a dog. All that bundled up energy and stress can manifest itself into frustration and aggression. I'm not saying that this HAS to be the only reason or THE reason, but a dog who doesn't get an outlet for its energy and doesn't get its physical activity requirements met suffers physically AND mentally. Aggression or increased aggression tendencies can be one of the side-effects. Perhaps the dog already has some socialization issues and already has aggressive traits. Lack of exercise, resulting in a bored, stressed, and tightly-wound dog can bring these out further.
     

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