The early experiences of dogs showing signs of avoidance behaviour or aggression were compared with those of dogs from the same clinical population that did not show such behaviour. The occurrence of each behavioural sign was tested for its association with the dog's maternal environment, the environment it experienced between three and six months of age, and the age at which it had been acquired. Non-domestic maternal environments, and a lack of experience of urban environments between three and six months of age, were both significantly associated with aggression towards unfamiliar people and avoidance behaviour. Aggression during a veterinary examination was more likely in dogs from non-domestic maternal environments. There was no significant association with either environment for aggression towards familiar people, or towards dogs.