Discouraging Puppy Aggression during Playtime
According to American Dog Trainers Network it has been found that on an average 12 to 15 fatal dog bites happen per year in USA. Face, hand, and arms account for the most bite wound sites with 44000 facial injuries in a year. This goes to show that this is a habit which needs to be curbed from an early age in dogs. Hence, if you find that your puppy is showing the following traits then it is time to take him to a veterinarian immediately and get his behavior sorted out:
- Aggression that is situational or stimulus-dependent rather than spontaneous
- Long-drawn-out, deep growling
- Preset stare
- Stiff posture
Aggression in puppies can stem from fear, territoriality, conflict or pain. Let us now look at the different ways to discourage puppy aggression during playtime:
Distract the puppy from getting aggressive
The very first thing that can be done to curb aggressive behavior in puppy is to distract him by showing a toy to him. This should be done every time you see your puppy getting aggressive. You can also offer him toys to mouth and chew before he has a chance to turn aggressive towards something.
Show verbal cues to the puppy and then stop playing
If your puppy shows aggression and bites you during play, it is important to show that you did not like this behavior of your pooch by loudly saying “Ouch” and then back off from the puppy. Do not play with him for couple of minutes and then engage in the play again. If it does not work then put him in a separate room with toys until he stops behaving aggressively.
Don’t be aggressive while playing with the puppy
This thing is very important as it has been found that puppies have low arousal threshold. Hence, they can become very assertive quite quickly. You should avoid rigorous or intense play with him so that they do not turn aggressive and come to bite you or nip you afterwards.
Opt for a leash and head halters for over aggressive puppies
Always ensure that you have a leash indoors as well as outside to stop the aggressive behavior of your puppy. Try to use the leash when you want to gain control over the situation. It has been proved that head halters give more control over collars when it comes to curbing the aggressive behavior in puppies. Hence, opt for it and then ensure that the halter, collar or harness matches the personality and training requirements of your puppy.
Preventing aggressive behavior in puppies
As a dog owner it is your responsibility to ensure that your puppy socializes with other animals and human beings so that they do not turn aggressive towards others. This can be done by giving proper training to them in the following ways:
Exhausting the excess energy in puppies
Healthy puppies are full of energy and hence, it is very important for you as a dog owner to provide them with productive means to expend that energy. This can be done by taking your puppy on a fast-paced walk and spending quality playtime with him. You can even teach them some aerobic exercise which will distract your puppy from aggressive behavior. If your puppy is tired he will have the energy to turn aggressive towards other.
Engage your puppy in mental exercise
Puppies also require some mental exercise to get them drained. This can be done with the assistance of treat release and puzzle toys.
Spend quality playtime with your puppy
Each day spend some time with your puppy playing games like fetch, hide-and-seek etc. to enable him to burn the excess energy. This will also enhance your bond with the puppy.
Practice delayed gratification
Before giving treats to puppies it is important to teach him to respond to your commands like sit before giving the treat to him. If he barks, whines or nudges do not show any reaction and ignore him. Once he stops the behavior, ask him to sit and give him the desired attention. If you are leaving the room ask him to sit and stay there for a few seconds before following you. If you make your puppy follow your commands it shows your leadership skills and it will make it very difficult for him to turn aggressive when you are around.
It is important to understand the fact that your puppy cannot be trained himself. Hence, as a dog owner you need to ensure that he gets along in the world since a very young age as after entering adulthood he will not be able to change his behavior. There are loads full of shelter houses that have dogs with aggression and other behavior problems. Hence, you need to train your puppy from a young age to curb their aggressive behavior so that they do not become yet another statistics in the books!!