If you have ever tried training a dog, you will know that one of the hardest things to do is to change a pattern of aggression in a dog’s behaviour. It is best to make sure this does not turn into a real issue later on by nipping it in the bud early on. Since puppies learn new behaviour patterns a lot more easily than older dogs, it will save you a lot of time down the road in stopping aggression.
There is a huge number of causes of behind aggression in puppies. Boredom is a frequent cause. There are few dogs who enjoy spending all of their day indoors or in a small yard – unless they get regular exercise, they will become frustrated. A puppy is a match for any young kid for being active all day. It is hardly surprising that aggression will come out if your puppy is left with so much energy. Your puppy may well have turned to aggressive behaviour in a sulk at being given no way to spend their energy. To stop this kind of aggression in puppies, make sure they get enough exercise every day and have plenty of opportunities to go on walks.
One reason for much aggressive behaviour in dogs, and especially in puppies is just self defence. Dogs lack the means to let us know that they have been hurt during play time, except by lashing out. We forget that puppies are considerably smaller and more vulnerable, and it can be easy to hurt them without meaning to. What would otherwise be seen as self defence may be considered aggression when no hurt is seen. This aggression in puppies is easy to stop – just handle them a bit more gently.
As with all dogs, aggressive behaviour from your puppy may be an early attempt by them to establish themselves as the alpha dog, or leader of the pack. In this case, it is crucial that you attempt to show them your dominance, and that you are fully in charge. Routine and discipline in your puppy’s life will certainly let them know who is boss – be consistent in the application of your rules. Limit play time and your dog’s favourite toys to either particular times of day or when you want to let the dog know they are behaving well. With you in charge of the dog’s food, there are many ways you can tell him you are the leader – for example, only let the dog eat when they come when called.
A lack of experience with other dogs can be a root cause for aggression in certain puppies. Your puppy should engage with other dogs to reduce the chance of this happening. If your puppy can play with other puppies when young, this will help a huge amount. Soon they will learn to be comfortable around other dogs and know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour.
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