Do disagreeable people like aggressive dogs?
In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester