The most common aggressive puppy behaviour warning signs include snarling, growling, mounting, snapping, nipping, lip curling, lunging, dominant body language/play, challenging stance, dead-eye stare, aggressive barking, possessiveness, and persistent biting/mouthing.
The most common reason dogs act aggressively is fear, often resulting from poor socialization, past negative experiences, or abuse. A dog will typically display aggressive fear-based behavior only if they feel threatened and need to defend themselves.
If he starts growling, or attempting to bite a hand holding a toy, or rushing a young child during play, stop the game at once and walk away with the toy. He'll soon learn why the fun stopped and avoid the behaviour that caused it.
Most puppy mouthing is normal behavior. However, some puppies bite out of fear or frustration, and this type of biting can signal problems with future aggression. Puppies sometimes have temper tantrums. Usually tantrums happen when you're making a puppy do something he doesn't like.
Keep in mind that aggressive and fearful behavior, such as growling, snapping, biting, stiffening, and cowering are not normal behaviors in puppies. A healthy and psychologically sound puppy should be naïve and at least somewhat eager to interact with people and animals.
Some puppies inherit an aggressive disposition from their parents. In some cases, this can be redirected through obedience training, behavior modification and lots of socialization. In others, you should seek the help of a professional behavior consultant or veterinary behaviorist.
Will my dog outgrow the aggression? Puppies may go through a biting phase that they will often outgrow. Unfortunately in most cases, true dog aggression often escalates as the dog ages. While it may be natural to make excuses, all dogs are capable of causing serious harm.
However, there's no guarantee that an aggressive dog can be completely cured. In many cases, the only solution is to manage the problem by limiting a dog's exposure to the situations, people or things that trigger her aggression. There's always risk when dealing with an aggressive dog.
They let you know if they're uncomfortable, afraid, or upset about a certain situation. Growling is also a warning. It is your puppy's way of saying that they might bite. If your puppy is growling, they are telling you that they don't want to be in a given situation and need your help.
Provide Enough Downtime. Many puppies tend to bite more and more roughly when they are overly aroused and overstimulated. Rougher biting is often just a sign of higher arousal. This can happen when they are allowed prolonged free time in an overstimulating environment (too many exciting things going on, prolonged play) ...
Methods such as alpha rolls and physical corrections (via the leash and a choke chain or by smacking the dog on the nose or by shaking their scruffs) were often recommended as a way for humans to establish dominance over their dogs.
For a dog who is acting out of fear or frustration (for example, a dog who is barking and lunging on leash), using the word 'no' to stop the behavior without helping to alleviate their fear or frustration will often lead to an escalation in behavior, such as growling, air snapping, or biting.
Alpha dogs are also more likely to hold your gaze rather than look away when they feel stressed, giving them a greater feeling of control over the situation. In social settings, you can identify dominant dogs by behavior such as mounting other dogs and being aloof rather than playful.
Is he comfortable around people or does he cower when you approach? See if the puppy will roll over on his back for a belly rub. Pups that will remain in that position are typically easygoing, while pups that resist being rolled onto their back often have a more independent nature.
OK—this one isn't necessarily your fault, but the way you respond to it can make a difference in your dog's behavior. Like humans, dogs go through a rebellious “teenager” phase (around 5 months to 18 months).
Stop Play or Interaction
One of the most effective consequences is what's called "negative punishment." This means you take something away to make a behavior decrease. For nipping, we take away what the puppy wants at that moment — attention, play, and interaction. We do this to make the nipping decrease in frequency.
By about two years of age, many dogs have reached the full extent of whatever aggression they have in them, and there may be a dogfight or biting incident around this time.
Mouthing and play biting is a common phase for most pups and I often reassure owners that their pet will almost always grow out of it when they're around three to five months old. Biting is also part of the natural teething process – this normally lasts until your pup is around seven months of age.
DON'T: Physically Punish Biting
In fact, physically punishing your dog often creates aggression and fear in it. Although you may have heard that clamping your puppy's mouth shut with your hand is an effective way to stop the biting, all this does is make it fear you or become more hostile.
Adult teeth start to come in around 12-16 weeks of age, and during this time, you may see an increase in chewing on objects or on you. Your puppy's gums may be a bit sore as they lose puppy teeth and adult teeth come in.
There's no way around it: we don't want canine aggression in our homes. A dog's aggression can lead to a bad outcome if your dog bites someone. The good news is that a growl or snap is your dog's way of communicating a waning—and your dog is choosing to warn you instead of biting.
Undesirable behaviours such as barking, chewing, counter surfing, house-soiling and jumping up commonly begin to occur at around 3-6 months of age. Your puppy will not grow out of these behaviours. On the contrary, it is more likely that these behaviours will worsen if not addressed early on.
Some reasons dogs don't come when called include distraction, confusion, or fear. Gradual training and positivity are ways to help build a reliable recall so your dog will come when called.
Your puppy likely won't understand this right away, so it's essential to do it many times over an extended period — perhaps weeks or even months. Once the dog understands that “no” means it can't have the treat in your hand — and it has learned not to take the treat from an open fist when you say no — you can move on.