– Disposition. The individual animal’s personality will generally have the greatest affect on how they behave. Some dogs are naturally more laid back than others.
– Breed. To some extent the breed of dog will play a part in certain behaviors. Bloodlines are tailored for specific purposes. There are dogs bred to hunt, to protect, and so forth.
– Genetics. The disposition of a dogs dam and sire can also have an affect. If your dog comes from aggressive parents, it will have a greater chance of being aggressive.
– Upbringing. For example, if a dog is raised around children and cats it will more than likely be tolerant of them as it grows older. On the other hand dogs who were not exposed as puppies will react differently.
– Training. Dogs can be trained to hunt, do search and rescue, guard, do tricks, and be an aide to people with disabilities. The positive reaction they get for doing certain things will entice them to repeat the behavior.
– Environment. Dogs who live in an abusive home may become extremely aggressive and unmanageable. Or they may become timid and avoid humans. Dogs who are well treated are more loving and affectionate.
– Health. When humans don’t feel well or are injured, they can become short tempered and mean. The same is true with a dog who is sick or injured. They may become more aggressive or less patient.
– Diet. Canines who are hungry are more likely to be aggressive and possibly dangerous. Depending on the level of hunger or starvation the animal might be a threat to other pets or small animals.
– Instinct. This one can certainly not be overlooked. All canines have certain instincts they inherited from their ancestors. While selective breeding can make some behaviors more dormant, they are never completely gone.
While there are numerous factors that can influence how a dog behaves, these are a few of the more common ones. Dogs are as individual as people and can not be pigeonholed a “bad” dog based on breed, gender or health. Many things come into play when forming a dog’s personality and should be taken into account.