Tag Archives: stumpy tail cattle dog

Of Dogs and Despots

I don’t understand the psychology of aggression. What makes some creatures more aggressive than others? Our current dog, Jake, is a stumpy tail cattle dog (that’s an actual breed) that we rescued from a shelter. He is cute and affectionate, and although he can get a little irritating (as all herder breeds do), he is a wonderful dog, except for one thing. He is highly aggressive towards other dogs. Taking him on a neighborhood walk always carries the risk that there will be an altercation. When he sees other dogs approach, he will take a stance in the middle of the road and attempt to intimidate and dominate. He has never bitten anybody, and I believe he is “all ┬ábark and no bite”, but if you’re a dog owner walking your dogs and Jake charges at you, you have way of knowing that he isn’t out for blood. The only thing that seems to work is to hold Jake directly by the collar and turn him away from other dogs so he can’t see them. The only time he doesn’t get aggressive is when the other dog is big enough to eat him for lunch.

I have found that this particular breed is known to be aggressive towards other dogs, so this is probably genetics, and since we didn’t have him as a puppy, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do.

But my story of our dog is not the main point of this blog post. Here’s my main question: What makes some people naturally aggressive? Why do some seem to be born that way? Is it nature or nurture? What makes them want to dominate, to bully, encroach, take over, invade? Why does every schoolyard have bullies? What factors create the Joseph Kony’s of the world? What wars would never had started if there wasn’t an aggressor?

You have probably heard about the Kony 2012 video about Invisible Children. If not, here it is:

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