How to Identify Whether a Dog Is Dangerous or Not

A dog behavior expert has revealed the signs which indicate an animal is dangerous, and unable to be safely adopted.

Gia Savocchi, based in New York, regularly shares her animal expertise on TikTok, uploading clips on restraint, control, collar grabbing, and aggression tests.

Savocchi is the founder of Thinking Canine, which specializes in rescue animals, particularly one displaying anxiety and aggression.

Her most popular video (above) demonstrates how to tell a safe dog from a dangerous one, as she compares the behavior between two mutts. "Safe vs dangerous dog," she captioned the video.

She narrates the clip, explaining: "Let's look at the difference between a dangerous dog and a safe dog, and what testing tells us. What resource guarding testing tells us is if a dog is likely to do severe damage in the home."

It shows the black pooch being given a bowl of food and eating it, as Savocchi strokes its back with a fake hand on a stick. The dog begins to growl and she withdraws the limb, but when she tries to reach for the bowl, the dog bites the hand.

The on-screen captions go into more detail about the dog's history, saying: "This is a dangerous dog. If a person tried to take a tissue from him, he would likely cause severe damage. He failed his day-to-day guarding assessment as well, even with unlimited food 24/7."

It then cuts to another dog, called Cody, as Savocchi performs the same experiment. The text on the screen claims "this is an adoptable dog," as she once again strokes Cody's back with the faux limb.

"Testing tells us if a dog is likely to severely injure a person in the home," she explains. She then goes to the front of the dog, and waves the hand near the food bowl, before pushing Cody's face away from the food.

"And he allowed it so he passes, very easily," she says.

Savocchi continues: "In real life people will try and take things from their dog, so it's important we know if somebody tries to take something from a dog it may growl, it could snap but it shouldn't really injure them."

In a separate clip she revealed more about Cody's heartbreaking backstory, saying: "Cody was clearly abused. He even had severe urine burns.

"So this little guy we found and he was really emaciated and covered in faeces, because we think he was a dog that was locked in a crate and not let out at all. His brother also had a shock collar on for barking, so we think they were locked somewhere where no one could see them or help them, and then let them loose to roam in a neighborhood.

"We've been feeding them unlimited food and we have had them for a little while now because we wanted them to gain some weight so they would have the best possible chance of passing their resource guarding assessment."

In the comments she revealed he found a home, and although she didn't specify what happened to the black dog, in the comments she confirmed "we do not adopt out dangerous dogs into our community." She added "not all dogs can be rehabilitated."

The clip amassed more than 12 million views since being uploaded last month, as the test divided opinion.

AZsamantha commented: "I feel like this needs to be shown to potential adopters. I don't think enough people understand what some terms mean when rescuing."

Divina said: "People who think this is wrong are the same people who be saying their dog don't bite then maul down a child."

"A dog shelter cannot risk adopting out dangerous dogs. If people so convinced it's easy to train out of then they should do it themselves," Pinecone wrote.

Katerina added: "This is so so important, we cannot allow aggressive and reactive dogs to be adopted, they put others at high risk."

Although Jazmine Gimlich wrote: "Both are safe dogs and adoptable when they are given the right environment. You can't expect all dogs to be non-aggressive."

File photo of a dog and leash.
File photo of a dog and leash. A dog behavior expert has revealed how to tell a dangerous dog from a safe one. IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images

Update 8/24/21, 3:29 a.m. ET: This article was updated with video from Savocchi.