Reason why some dogs are violent to their owners

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | April 5th, 2023

There is a saying that a dog cannot bite the 'hands' that feed him. It's logical to conclude that a dog will not bite the person that feeds him but not necessarily the owner of the dog. It's one thing to own a dog and another thing to be close to the dog. Many Nigerians own dogs that they hardly come close to. Acquiring dogs for security is very common here than having them as pets. Some owners see these dogs as their protectors and they leave non-family members to bathe, feed, walk, and play with their dogs. Especially their security men.

Understanding these problems has really helped me in my veterinary practice because when these dogs are brought for treatment I immediately ask for the handler to get every detail, most times the owner will put a call to his or her security man for answers. Sometimes it's the cook or domestic help that answers my questions. Many owners have their reasons for this behavior toward their dogs but to the dogs, he doesn't take you as their owner.

Many dogs will tolerate their owners because they see them from time to time with their handler but will never give them the same attention as they give their handler. Don't get me wrong, there are dogs that were close to their owners as puppies before they become adult dogs so they still have great respect for their owners.

As change is constant, these handlers might have one reason or the other to leave the house or the environment leaving the owner to care for the dogs, this is where problems begin to arise. The dog might refuse to go into his cage when the owner wants without knowing the time the handler usually sends them into the cage. Some owners might want to force them by trying to use a stick to beat them into submission. Some dogs will resist and might become very violent to their owner at this point.

The dog will forgive you if you're able to understand the established routine which was made by their previous handler. I have seen many cases like this and most times the owner will have to give the dog away to buy a new puppy and start afresh. This time around these owners learn the hard lesson and do the needful.

Some dogs were acquired as adults without prior knowledge of the real behavior of the dog and how to socialize the dog. In my experience, many adult dogs were acquired because of a previous robbery attack where the owner needed a quick fix to the security situation by acquiring a fully grown dog to guard the house against intruders. Some of these dogs are acquired without a full description of the dog's routine and behavior. Then reports of an attack on their owners start to ensue.

Most of these dogs will not just see the new owners and jump into the attack. Usually, something happens that made the dog react in violence towards the owner. Some people are good at taming violent dogs and mostly not by beating them to force them into submission, but by showing love towards them, and naturally, they will reciprocate. Sometimes these dogs might attack the person but the person still return love to the dog by giving him some treats, food, and water. Sometimes, just taking the dog on a walk can be a game changer.

One other thing that can make a dog go violent on the owner is when the owner tries to force them to do what a stranger wants especially when it involves a vet doctor trying to attend to the dog. Some dogs hate needles or injections and would get aggressive to anyone be it the owner or not to prevent the needles from reaching their skin.

It's important to have close contact with your dog and have sufficient knowledge of the behavior of your dog in other to prevent these kinds of violence, especially towards you the owner. It will also guide the vet to take the necessary precautionary measures.


    Leave a Reply

    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

    View our Contributors

    Popular Articles