Tips to Help An Aggressive Puppy
16 September, 2014

If you just adopted a puppy or brought one home, he or she will be very excited and/or afraid as everything in his home is new.  Therefore, the way he behaves could be in an aggressive manner due to fear or just the fact that he needs to explore everywhere.  This is perfectly normal and expected. However, it is during this time, puppyhood, when it’s very important to try to tame any aggressive behavior as each and every experience that your puppy encounters teaches him how to behave.  With training, love, affection and socialization, you can help curb puppy aggression.

Below are some tips to help minimize your puppy’s aggressive behavior.

Spend some time training your puppy or enroll him in a training class

It’s important to establish a training groundwork for you puppy.  Never punish your puppy for unwanted behavior, but train your puppy to perform the behavior you desire. Get the help of a class instructor, private trainer or behavior specialist to learn what behaviors your puppy needs to learn.


Make training fun for your puppy and practice every day. Then when your puppy misbehaves, you can immediately switch into one of the trained behaviors and have the puppy doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing. With consistent practice, your puppy will eventually develop the habit of doing the desired behavior instead of the undesired one.

Teach your puppy to give you things

If you can teach your puppy to give you things, rather than go after him or her, it helps with aggressive behavior. When a puppy takes something and runs off, don’t chase after your puppy. The pup is playing and if you run after him or her, your puppy will become either fearful or aggressive in self-protection.

Instead, encourage the puppy to bring the item to you by running the other way, and then trade with your puppy something nice for the item. Before you know it, you’ll have a dog who retrieves to you. And you’ll have fun in the process.

Use your voice and body language to give directions to your puppy

You want your puppy to trust the touch of humans and to relax when touched. This is not the instinctive response of a dog or even of a person—the instinctive response to touch is defensive. A positive response to touch is learned. It takes a lot of good touches to develop this positive response and it also requires protecting the pup from painful or frightening touches.

Try not to excite your puppy by jumping or grabbing anything

Instead of grabbing, jerking, and jumping around with your puppy, slow things down so your puppy can stop and think. Don’t let anyone encourage your puppy to put teeth on human skin. Teach everyone to treat your puppy in a way that will build your puppy’s trust in people and safe responses to them.  Don’t let anyone pet your puppy when he or she is jumping up on them.  Only pet your puppy after he or she has calmed down and reward him for the correct behavior.

Don’t ever overreact or yell at your puppy for misbehaving

If your puppy reacts inappropriately and tries taunting you, don’t overreact. Instead, stand your ground and give your puppy the time to realize those tactics just don’t work with you. Don’t fight with your dog, and don’t back down. Fighting triggers the dog to fight back, and backing down teaches the dog that it is effective to push you. Either of these choices can lead to aggression that escalates over time.

Provide your puppy with positive social experiences

Provide your puppy with many positive social experiences. Make these experiences short and pleasant for the pup, especially at first. Overwhelming a puppy causes the dog to feel fearful and defensive about the world, rather than building the confidence and trust that is the goal of socializing a puppy.  Start with little gestures of love and try to build from that foundation.

If you spend some time training your puppy and use positive reinforcement, it should help tame any aggressive behavior.  It is very important to stop your puppy’s aggressive behavior, so he won’t grow up to become an aggressive dog. If at any point you become concerned that your pup’s behavior is taking a dangerous direction, seek the help of a behavior specialist promptly. 


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