Having a new puppy is akin to welcoming a new family member. There’s a new baby for everyone to huddle around. Especially for children, it’s as if they’ve got a new playmate. By having a new puppy, the house will undoubtedly feel more alive than it ever has before.
But from day one, watch for potential warning signs of an aggressive puppy. Rather than filling your family with joy, it might only be one that’s laden with worry. After all, it’s normal to feel concerned about an aggressive puppy’s behavior and whether he will grow out of it. More than just destroying things, there’s also an imminent danger the puppy could cause more harm than good.
The odds are good that your puppy’s disposition is perfectly normal, but there are exceptions. As a rule, there are warning signs you may have an aggressive puppy. Watch your puppy’s body language.
You need to recognize whether you can manage puppy aggression or if a puppy lacks the appropriate temperament to be a family pet and could be a dangerous liability. It’s also key to determine whether your puppy’s behavior is just aggressive puppy play or something more serious.
Never excuse or ignore the behavior of an aggressive puppy! Without help, there is little doubt an aggressive puppy will become a dangerous dog!
When you’re well-informed, however, you can turn a negative disposition into a more positive one. This way, your puppy still has hope before it’s too late.
Any breed can produce an aggressive puppy
Aggression is not breed-specific. Just as sweet, loving, friendly dogs exist in every breed, so do aggressive dogs. No single breed is an exception.
It is your responsibility to be open-minded when you see a problem. That means taking immediate and appropriate action at any sign of aggression. Wishful thinking that things will change is not the answer. The earlier that you act out on it, the higher the chances you can resolve your pup’s aggressive behavior.
But you may be wondering how to stop puppy aggression.
The first thing you should do is speak to your veterinarian. Have your veterinarian examine your puppy. There could be medical issues, genetic issues, or other pressing matters that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it could be to correct. A vet is an expert who can help you tame any aggressive tendencies you may discover.
Unless there is a severe genetic or neurological problem, the younger a puppy is, the easier it is to modify their inappropriate behaviors. Often puppy fear can become puppy aggression. Positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience training is one way to create a well-behaved, well-mannered dog and prevent fear aggression in puppies. You also can use it to stop excessive puppy barking.
Understanding how to teach a dog social skills is critical. Think of this as how you’d train and enforce your baby’s positive attitude. Since their minds work like sponges, the earlier you can discipline them, the better. It’s easier to get a grip on obedience training.
The most common aggressive puppy warning signs include snarling, growling, mounting, snapping, nipping, lip curling, lunging, dominance, challenging stance, dead-eye stare, aggressive barking, possessiveness, and of course, biting!
Aggressive puppy signs
Now, what are the aggressive puppy signs? Here are a few of them.
Watch your puppy’s behavior around areas where there is food. Early signs of aggression in puppies include being possessive over toys and food.
Is your puppy protective of his food bowl? How does he or she growl or snarl as you walk by their food bowl while eating? Do they growl or snap when you reach for their food bowl, even if it’s empty? Do they snatch treats or food out of your hand? Does your puppy lunge, growl, or snap as you attempt to retrieve a dropped piece of food? Are they protective of the trash container?
Does your puppy assert a claim to any specific piece of furniture in other rooms of the house, such as a chair, couch, or bed? Is your puppy possessive of toys or other items, especially items that might belong to your children?
How does the puppy act when someone, especially someone they don’t know, walks into the house or enters a room? Does the puppy react differently when an unfamiliar child comes to the house? Or does your puppy bark excessively?
Does the puppy exhibit an unusually high prey drive by chasing and nipping at anything that is moving? Do they over-react aggressively to playful teasing, sudden movements, awakening from a deep sleep, or being corrected? Or are they unwilling to be touched? Watch for puppy aggression signs when picked up, especially puppy nipping, which can quickly turn to puppy biting hands.
Although you don’t need to pick up your dog often or carry it, there are times when you will need to do so without fear that your puppy will behave aggressively and bite you.
Also, watch how your puppy reacts to other dogs and puppies. Be sure to watch for signs of a dominant puppy. Does your puppy try to dominate other puppies or adult dogs? That type of early aggression needs to be curbed immediately with training.
Teething, nipping, and biting
Know the difference between puppy teething, puppy nipping, and puppy biting. Start early on training a puppy not to bite. Biting training is essential to having a well-behaved dog.
Most puppies learn bite inhibition from their parents or littermates. But if they haven’t, you will need to teach them how to control their bites.
If your puppy does not receive proper training to refrain from biting from an early stage of development, you may get into trouble. According to dog bite laws, in some states, the owners are liable for any dog bites, regardless of the owner’s previous knowledge of the dog’s tendency to bite. Even if your puppy does not know better yet, you do not want to learn what the average payout for a dog bite is from personal experience in a courtroom or an attorney’s office.
Indeed, any dog’s intentional provocation will most likely excuse an owner’s liability, even in those states with strict liability laws. However, it would be best if you assumed your dog’s responsibility, not biting anyone in any circumstance. The situation becomes more complicated if your dog bites a child or if the bite leads to cuts, lacerations, ligament and tendon damages, and so on. In other words, teaching your puppy to refrain from biting is a crucial responsibility for the greater good of others and your (legal) peace of mind.
When puppies are teething, their mouths hurt, and they will bite or chew to alleviate that pain. Give your dog appropriate chew toys or teething toys. Most dogs will be distracted and begin chewing the toy.
If your teething puppy tries to bite on you, teach your puppy that’s inappropriate puppy behavior. Turn your back and walk away or say “ow” in a loud, high-pitched voice. This will help teach your puppy not to bite you.
If your dog playfully nips at you but doesn’t break the skin, you need to be cautious to keep playtime from getting too rough. A nipping puppy can just be a playful puppy, but after 15 weeks, your puppy should not try to touch your skin with his teeth.
If he continues to try to nip or bite you after that time, you need to use training to stop that behavior. Never hit a puppy that bites. And don’t bite back.
Instead, when to stop puppy nipping, if your puppy gets too rough, stop playtime and walk away. Your puppy should quickly learn that you will ignore him if he misbehaves. If you’re struggling with this issue, avoid rough play. It would be best if you also skipped play biting.
How to get a puppy to stop biting
It’s time to get concerned if your puppy bites a lot or tries to bite you every time you touch the dog. It’s especially dangerous to have an aggressive puppy biting owner. If your puppy bites you, the dog will not show any restraint with anyone else, especially children.
If your puppy aggressively or viciously tries to bite, or if a snarl or growl accompanies the attempt to bite, you need to take action. It’s also dangerous if your puppy tries to bite your face or if your puppy tries to bite other dogs or other people, especially children.
The puppy has become aggressive about biting, especially if the bites break the skin and cause bleeding; it’s a sign the dog is trying to be dominant. You need to take action immediately when a puppy won’t stop biting and can’t be distracted from doing so with treats or commands.
Now you also may ask, how to deal with aggressive behavior? Thankfully, there are things you can do. Always start by having your puppy examined by your veterinarian. Take note that if your dog has inherited or neurological problems, your options will be limited.
Here are some ways for you to take action regarding your pup’s aggressive tendencies:
If it’s possible to modify or change your puppy’s inappropriate behavior, consult with a responsible dog trainer who applies positive reinforcement, punishment-free training methods. The trainer must have experience working with aggressive dogs. Often, something as simple as strong human leadership and basic obedience training can turn things around.
A second option is to consult with a dog behaviorist. Temperament tests are available to evaluate if there is a problem or how serious it may be. Be warned some of the symptoms of puppy aggression mimic those of canine autism and canine ADHD.
Behavior modification is not fast or straightforward. It often takes time to undo bad behavior before you can create new ones. It requires a significant commitment of your time, energy, and patience, not to mention it can be expensive. Nonetheless, it could make the difference between keeping your puppy and the alternative.
These are just a few of the most common aggressive puppy warning signs and suggestions to handle potential problems. Know the difference between normal puppy behavior and aggression.
If you spot aggressive puppy signs, don’t turn a blind eye. Act on it right away by bringing the pup to the vet. Take immediate action. Keep an open mind.
You will have a difficult choice if you can’t fix the problem either medically or by modifying behavior. Do not pass the problem on to someone else by surrendering the animal to a shelter or rescue. Do the responsible thing!
When you act on your puppy’s aggressive tendencies, who knows, you may even be able to correct it early on that it starts to grow into a loving family pet that your family will truly love.
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