Hispanic musician Bern Williams once said, “No symphony orchestra ever played music like a two-year-old girl laughing with a puppy.” But when those squeals of laughter turn to shrieks of panic and fear, it’s like going from listening to the philharmonic to a primary school recorder concert.
Pet aggression is a serious problem, especially with dogs. Even young puppies can show signs of aggression when being handled, eating from their food dish, or when gnawing rawhide or playing with his favorite toy.
Some pet-parents are very good at recognizing signs of aggression in their new puppy. But then they turn to places on the internet, like Facebook friends who they’ve never met face to face, as their primary source of information about how to solve the problem.
Signs of New Puppy Aggression
Knowing what to look for can help you curb new puppy aggression before it has time to settle into his personality. Here are some signs to help you determine whether or not you need a canine behaviorist to help train your dog, or whether he’s just testing his limits.
- Chewing or hard nipping while playing with their humans
- Biting at human faces instead of licking at them
- Growling when humans try to pick them up or play with them
- Snapping at humans or other pets who walk near his food dish
- Cowering and growling when humans or other pets initiate playtime
Keep in mind that some nipping and biting is normal as part of puppy play. That’s how he plays with his littermates and his mama. When you bring the new puppy home, your family is his new pack. Know the difference between appropriate biting and chewing and aggressive behavior.
If your dog shows signs of aggression then it is time to take matters into your own hands – figuratively speaking of course. A lot of behavior therapy for aggressive puppies specifically avoids touch in the beginning so that your pet does not feel threatened.
Claiming the Alpha Role in Your Home
A lot of training can be done through therapeutic play. For example, use small food rewards to encourage good behavior and ignore bad behavior. Playing games like fetch encourage exercise, which can make your new puppy too tuckered out to even think about growling.
Instead of grabbing an aggressive puppy to pick him up, sit on the floor and encourage him to come to you. You might even just encourage him to sit near you without touching him at all. Eventually he should crawl into your lap and allow you to pet him without growling.
Whenever your dog does the correct behavior, be sure to praise him, especially if he’s a young puppy. Dogs love praise more than anything – even their favorite treats. Always master one behavior before you try introducing a second good behavior. Be patient, and go at your dog’s pace.
Sometimes our best methods don’t work, despite all of our hard work and patience. When this happens, then it is time to call in an expert. Hiring a canine behavior specialist to help create a behavior therapy plan for your dog can save a lot of stress later.
Reigning in an Aggressive Puppy on the Loose
If an aggressive dog takes off, then it makes the situation that much worse. For example, seeing a golden retriever in your yard might entice you to approach it. All golden retrievers are friendly, right? The statement could not be farther from the truth.
Because nobody knows your dog as well as you do, whether he is an alpha puppy or a submissive Scottish terrier it’s best to find him as soon as possible when he slips his collar – or worse, slips underneath the fence that surrounds your backyard.
Of course, finding a way to keep your pet from escaping the back yard in the first place can eliminate a lot of the risk of ever needing a Lost Dog poster. One way you can do this is by using a PetSafe wireless fence to contain your pet in the yard.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the first thing you should do when your dog takes off is to alert the animal shelters and the dogcatcher. In my gated neighborhood, residents are also encouraged to alert the local neighborhood watch services and security patrol as well.
Canadian freelancer Rick Mercado spends a lot of time online performing research for his blog articles. From perusing sites about setting up web conferences for internet marketing to reading reviews on sites like www.doggyfence.com, he learns new facts with each new article topic. In his spare time Rick enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending time with his lovely wife.