The relationship between children and family dogs concerning their possible aggressive behaviour: a pilot study using a questionnaire for parents.
Keywords:child, dog, aggression.
AbstractThe aim of this study was to survey the relationship between children and their dogs and the causes of dog’s aggressiveness towards them. A 34-item questionnaire divided into three sections was administered to 152 parents of 1 to 6 year old children owning a dog. It emerged that 8.6% of dogs showed signs of aggressiveness towards the family’s children. The dog’s age, sex and adoption before the child’s birth did not result in discriminating factors in manifesting aggression. Instead, dogs whose tails and/or ears were pulled by children tended to be more aggressive towards them. A large number of scientific studies are highlighting the importance of unsupervised dog-child relationship and, according to 84% of parents, explanations led to an improvement in this relationship, but indeed aggression towards children was not reduced. These preliminary data suggest that children and parents need to be guided by experts so that the relationship between dogs and children living together does not lead to aggression.