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Fear-modified Aggression
Fear acts in many cases to modify animals displays/acts of aggression. Take, for example, the dog (often little) which when greeting someone at the door has mixed motivations. If the dog is protective/territorial, but at the same time is scared, this dog may be keeping its distance (the result of fear) and even backing away as the person enters or approaches the dog. However, when the person turns their back on the dog (which makes this person a less threatening stimulus), the dogs fear declines, its courage goes up and the dog runs up and bites the person in the back of the leg or on their behind. Lets take another situation in which a dog wants to attack someone at the door, and is not afraid of that person. Add to this picture an owner who has been consistent in effectively disciplining the dog each time it begins its acts of aggression. In the owners presence (where fear of not listening overrides the animals motivation to attack), the dog inhibits its actions. However, if those same circumstances arise when the owner is not present, that inhibitory fear will likely be lacking and the aggression may display itself fully without the fear of repercussion to modify the aggression. Sorting out the presence of fear(s) in an animals actions is vital to making appropriate decisions in how to best approach/modify problems.