Puppy Aggression: How to Cope

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No other animal on this planet has the same spunk and exuberance that a puppy does. Their curiosity for discovering new things is what fuels their wild behavior. However, with this high-energy and rambunctious attitude comes a long list of unfavorable behaviors.

There comes a point where all new puppy owners question whether their dog’s unruly behavior is normal. Rest assured, most cases of puppy misbehavior is completely normal. Think about it this way, how many 2-year olds do you know that have wonderful behavior all the time? Probably not many. These sometimes bad behaviors are how puppies communicate and socialize with not only with you, but with other animals as well.

Aggression in dogs can surface from many different sources. Fear, possessiveness, excitement, dominance, or territorial issues can all spark aggressive behaviors at any age for a dog. Especially in puppies, roughhousing, barking, growling, and other disruptive behaviors should not be of concern. However, if these actions are causing conflict with other animals or family members, try fixing their behavior through training techniques and daily practices.

Keep in mind that playtime for puppies can get a little hostile by nature. To discourage this, try different techniques to divert bad behavior and start training as early as possible. Below are several helpful tips for turning an aggressive puppy into a disciplined canine.

Use Verbal Cues

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Train your dog to obey verbal cues. “Sit” and “stay” are commands that all dogs should learn at an early age. If you feel that your dog’s puppy play is getting too aggressive, use assertive commands to control the situation. These cues will signal to your pet what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not.

Recognize Bad Behavior

If your dog is ignoring your commands, try putting them in separate room until they calm down. They will eventually associate this action with their behavior and be able to act in a more obedient way. Having the same “time-out” spot will train your dog to know when they’ve acted poorly. It’s important to keep in mind to never use physical punishment in the training process. This will counteract your efforts and facilitate negative behavior.

Don’t Encourage Rough Behavior

It can be hard at times to sit back while your dog is riled up with energy. Most pet owners will get on the floor and roughhouse a little bit when their pup is ready to play. While this may be fun for both of you, your puppy will see this behavior as acceptable, and continue to act the same. Try playing fetch or giving them a chew toy to divert any kind of aggressive behavior they may be exhibiting.

Exercise Regularly

Young puppies are filled with energy. That’s why it is so important to take them on plenty of walks, runs, or engage in other physical activity daily. Giving them that time to unleash will allow them to have a more tamed and tempered behavior later throughout the day.

Use Positive Reinforcement

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To encourage positive behavior, always use reinforcement to support your training. The fastest way a puppy will understand good behavior is through treats and positive verbal cues. Like said before, make sure to stay away from any negative reinforcement or harmful punishment. Not only will this confuse your dog, but it can also be harmful and cause further behavioral issues.

Schedule a Puppy Playdate

Puppies need both human and animal interaction to develop appropriate behavioral skills. Whether it’s a trip to the park or puppy behavior classes, socializing your pet is the key to success. They will learn how to interact with other animals and will learn from other dog’s behaviors in a public setting.

Puppies are meant to bite, growl, chew, jump, run, and play. That’s what puppies do! However, if you are concerned that this behavior is turning into a real issue, try implementing these fundamental techniques above. Simple training, daily exercise, and socializing make up a solid foundation to a well-behaved pup.

If these tips above don’t help the issue, try enrolling in a puppy behavior class. A professional dog trainer will give a more hands-on approach in helping your pet develop loyal obedience and well-trained behaviors.

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