It is the debate whether the actions one carries out had been implanted in their mind from birth through simple genetics which are therefore inevitable, or its actions are what one picks up or learns from their surrounding environment.
There are many interpretations of this questions yet the most popular reasoning for it is that it’s simply both. The nature aspect determines a scale in which a person stands – giving them their highest and lowest ability of something in particular, where nurture is what determines where on the scale that person sits.
This, we all know after spending a term learning all about it in EL. But my question to you is, does the same thing apply to dogs? Should we be blaming their behaviour on nature or nurture?
Dogs have been labelled as man’s bestfriend. And anyone would agree with that. We playfully fight with them, have that love/hate relationship going on with no real intention of hurting one other since it’s all “fun”.
But, as of 2011 a report had been released showing the number of dogs attacks to have increased by 17%. Although that doesn’t seem much, it’s actually about 4,831 more attacks than the year before. 44% of that ending in some sort of death.
Despite the statistics, many of you who agreed before would believe that your dog is different. That your dog couldn’t possibly be aggressive or do any real damage.
Well, that was the same belief that the Higgins shared.
It was early in August this year when the tragic death of their two-year-old son Deeon Higgins in a Deniliquin home occurred after his grandmother unsuccessfully tried to fight off his cousin’s 57 kilogram bull mastiff cross. The dog, normally tied to a backyard tree, attacked the boy when he went to get an iceblock from an outside freezer.
The dog owner was just as surprised as everyone else, claiming that Kingston – the name of the dog – had never attacked anyone before. So why he pounced was a mystery.
A dog’s behavior while being treated in a veterinary hospital is almost always an indication of its home life. Those who misbehave are the ones who lack socialization - whether it is from being tied to a chain all day or from being coddled like a baby in the home.
However, many – the council in particular – do not see this as an acceptable reason. And have come with the solution to simply ban specific breeds.
There are five breeds of dogs that are banned today in Australia. These breeds are not allowed to be imported into the country: the American Pit Bull or Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro or the Brazilian Mastiff, the Japanese Tosa and the Presa Canario.
These dogs in Australia must be neutered or sprayed. When they are in public, they must be muzzled and they must also wear the recognizable red and yellow collar. They must also never be in public with anyone under the age of 18 years old. When these breeds are home they must be kept in a secure enclosure and signs must be posted on the property saying, "Warning, Dangerous Dog".
A Bull mastiff – the breed of Kingston – however, are not apart of the list yet showed the same characteristics as any of the dogs listed. Which poses the question: is it the breed or the owner’s fault for their violent actions?
Research in the US has shown a clear correlation between those who own vicious dogs and their tendency towards domestic violence and criminal behaviour.
It’s become a psychological game.
It’s a form called protest masculinity that develops within certain