How to Neutralize an Overly Aggressive Puppy

By Annelie Becher

Behavior patterns develop early in life and once established they are hard to correct. This is so because behavior patterns are neuronal pathways in the brain and nervous system which get activated in certain situations. They are enforced and stabilized every time the behavior takes place.

So when it comes to shaping the way a dog behaves towards other beings prevention is the best cure.

What does overly aggressive behavior in a puppy look like?

Your pup defends his toys or bones by growling at you when you want to take them away from him.

Your pup grabs hold of your trouser legs and starts to pull and tear at them vigorously working himself up into a state of aggressiveness. When you try to stop him by opening his mouth he snaps at you as if you were the enemy.

Your pup bites your hands really hard when you play with him or her.

When you play with your pup he becomes angry very fast.

Your pup tries to bite you when you hold him without his consent.

It is important to realize that this is normal behavior amongst puppies, depending on their breed of course. There are always those in a litter of canines who wish to become leaders later on in life whilst others are happy to be led.

The canine mother bears no nonsense from her offspring and corrects naughty puppy behavior at once. She teaches us what to do if puppy behaves over aggressively:

Her first action is a warning growl followed by immediate action. Once she has classified the behavior as inappropriate she reprimands the pup without further discussion by either pushing him over or putting her fang over his mouth whilst holding him down or by simply getting up and walking away. Should he persist she will eventually snap at him. This snap is not meant to hurt, just to interrupt his behavior by causing an unpleasant emotion.

Dog mothers never take puppy misbehavior personally and they only take action when necessary - but when they act they make sure puppy knows about it.

You can use the same methods to neutralize the aggressive behavior of your puppy as his mother did and combine them with a deep toned "no"

  • starting off with a deep growl will often remind the youngster of his manners
  • if this fails pick him up to interrupt the pattern
  • you may also take hold of the skin under his chin and look deeply into his eyes
  • this may be combined with a growl
  • you can also imitate mother by putting your hand over his fang
  • or you may simply walk away

The aim is not to punish your puppy but to educate him by reacting in a way which is unpleasant for the little one. Make sure to be nice again as soon as he has stopped his aggressive behavior.

Dogs learn by the consequences of their actions just like we do. So if you want to encourage pleasant behavior and discourage unpleasant behavior you need to make sure that your puppy is not rewarded for being nasty. Talking to him in a soft voice will give him the impression that he is doing the right thing.

Punishing a puppy for being aggressive by picking him up by the scruff of his neck or even hitting him or locking him away will teach him to be afraid of you and should be avoided at all cost.

Always remember that your puppy is young and needs to learn how to behave well amongst human beings. You will achieve the best results by being lovingly firm when he needs correction.

As a loving and dedicated dog owner you aspire to do what ever you can to make your four legged friend happy.

Protecting him from harm, providing the best possible nourishment and life style as well as educating him well are important for his overall well being.

Annelie Becher
Article by Annelie Becher
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