We all know it’s important to take care when approaching an injured animal – but the results of a new study suggest that aggressive dog behavior that might seem to "come out of nowhere" could actually stem from physical pain humans aren’t aware of.
Dogs can be, or become, aggressive for any number of other reasons: how a puppy is handled and socialized, diet and/or exercise, punishment used as a training technique, even the dog’s mother’s condition while she was pregnant. But a study undertaken between 2010 and 2011 at the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Animal and Food Science department investigated the symptoms of 12 dogs of varying sizes, and analyzed their aggression problems. A piece on the study in Science Daily listed the breeds included – a Giant Schnauzer, an Irish Setter, a Pit Bull, a Dalmatian, a Chow, a Shih-Tzu, and two German Shepherds, among others – and quoted Tomás Camps, who’s the lead author of the study, about the diagnoses. "All (eleven males and one female) were diagnosed as having aggression caused by pain," Camps said, "[and] out of the 12 studied, eight had suffered a hip dysplasia."