Puppies are playful by nature, and sometimes, they can get a bit rough. You might see them bark, growl, or even snarl at the other dogs (or sometimes people) in the house. If you’re a newbie fur parent, it can be a bit tricky to distinguish between a playful and aggressive puppy. Sadly, if it’s the latter, you might have unknowingly encouraged your pup’s bad behavior. So, how do you know if your puppy is aggressive? More importantly, how can you correct this behavior before it becomes a habit?
Signs of puppy aggression or destructive behavior
The first step to correcting any unwanted dog behavior is quick detection. The sooner you spot the problem, the faster you can resolve it. Some of the common signs of puppy aggression include the following:
Guttural or undulating bark
Barking is a dog’s way of vocalizing his feelings to another dog or his hooman. As a responsible dog owner, you should be able to distinguish the differences in your dog’s barking sounds at a snap of a finger. If you observe an undulating growl with a rising and falling pitch or a guttural barking with a low and intimidating sound, your pup may be showing signs of aggression.
Lunging at playmates, strangers, or any object that moves
It’s normal to feel anxious when you see your puppy lunge at kids, other family members, friends, strangers, and other dogs. To know the best way to correct this behavior, you will need to identify what specifically triggers the pouncing reaction. Usually, you only choose from three things, frustration, excitement, or aggression.
Most of the time, if it stems from aggression, you might see other signals like stiffness, growling, or excessive tail wagging before they start acting up. There may be instances when your dog lunges at people or dogs they see on the sidewalk when you put them on the leash. Younger pups may even lunge and nip your face. Regardless of when you observe this behavior, it would be best to reinforce lessons on discipline and proper dog decorum.
Growling when others try to touch their food, feeding bowl, or toys
Dogs tend to vocalize in different ways. Besides barking, you might also notice your pup growling from time to time. Dog owners automatically assume that growling signals aggression or displeasure. However, in truth, sometimes dog growls can also mean that they’re having a good time. Often, this type of growling comes with a relaxed demeanor.
If your dog starts asserting his dominance by snapping or snarling or if you notice tense body language, then the growling may be a sign of trouble.
Showing teeth or snapping at anyone who approaches
Most of the time, 12-week old pups react to fear or pain by snapping or showing their teeth. If this sounds a lot like your puppy, then he might get into trouble if he runs across an older member of the pack. Usually, older dogs correct younger puppies when they snarl or snap. This could cause a major conflict among your dogs.
Excessive biting on things or playmates
At five to six weeks, a pup can already have a complete set of baby teeth. As they reach around 10 to 12 weeks, the baby teeth get replaced by permanent ones. Unfortunately, similar to humans, this can be a painful and irritating process.
To cope, puppies usually chew, mouth, or gnaw. In most cases, they also use the same response when they feel excited during playtime. That’s why you might see your pup nip on his playmates or sometimes your hands.
At this point, you will need to establish some house rules. Otherwise, the nipping behavior progresses into a biting issue.
If the biting behavior results in wounds, this could signal extreme aggression. Your response to the situation would entirely depend on the severity of your injury.
- Gash or scrape – Make sure to clean and disinfect the wound. You should also apply an antibiotic cream or medication before you cover the wound.
- Puncture wound – Unless you’ve bled a lot, you should let the blood flow out of the wound. This will help cleanse the wound. If blood gushes out, be sure to raise the wounded area to your neck level and call 911.
Once you attend to the wound, you can start teaching your dog how to stop the biting problem. As much as possible, you should never attempt to shout, hit, or dominate your pup when you correct the issue. Instead, you will need to carefully plan the training so your puppy can calmly understand what to do.
Stopping problematic puppy behaviors
Which of the signs of puppy aggression do you observe from your fur baby? How many items did you tick? It’s crucial to note that violent tendencies aren’t limited to certain dog breeds. In fact, any dog can turn highly violent if you fail to correct the problem or if you use the wrong methods such as shouting or hitting.
It would help to consult with a veterinary doctor for a thorough examination. After all, the aggression might stem from genetics, medical issues, or other health matters. If you rule out any medical or neurological concern, your next step is to modify the undesirable behavior.
As your dog’s owner, you will need to know how to teach socialization skills. Some of the basic dog socialization lessons you can include in your training routine include dog walking etiquette, introduction to family members and strangers, and meeting other dogs and animals.
If you have a hard time instilling discipline and socialization skills, you can call in a professional to lend you a hand. Sometimes, it pays to have an experienced dog whisperer on board if you have an extremely aggressive pup. This way, you can get a tailored training approach and reduce the time needed to see improvements.
Working with a Professional Dog Trainer
Delaware K9 Academy is here to help you with your aggressive pup. Regardless of your young dog’s breed or temperament, we will make sure to provide customized lessons to straighten up their behavior. In no time, you will notice significant changes in your favorite buddy’s demeanor and you can finally start building a harmonious relationship together.
Call us today at Delaware K9 Academy for your inquiries about our puppy lessons. You can also send us your message through our contact form.