Why is my puppy being aggressive towards other puppies?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Puppy aggression is most often caused by fear-based aggression in puppies under 6 months of age. As puppies grow they sometimes learn to be aggressive towards other dogs and puppies so they can protect resources and get what they want. Usually this occurs when resources are limited.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Why is my puppy being aggressive towards other puppies?“.

Puppy lovers are among us so lets focus on them okay? Theres nothing cuter than a puppy except maybe a kitten. A puppy is a wonderful thing as theres this cute little animal who needs to be cuddled pampered and talked to in the silliest voice you can imagine.

Pet owners are often surprised when their furry little buddy starts snarling and snapping for no apparent reason. How did it become this vicious little creature that loved to have its tummy scratched and how do you deal with it?

Why are puppies aggressive?

There is a big problem with puppy aggression in relation to other dogs young or old and this can have serious consequences later on. The first thing you need to understand is that there is always a reason for this unexpected behavior even if you cannot see it.

Fight for resources

Animals including dogs have a natural tendency to protect their resources. Puppies can become aggressive towards other small dogs in the house including siblings.

Perhaps you never noticed – one puppy cut in front of his brother to get to the food whether it was their mothers teat or the doggy food bowl.

I bet you laughed if you did see such an event. But your pups would not go hungry because you know theres plenty of food available. You’re right but your dog does not know this and having to wait for food can make him anxious.

Suppose I do not get any food? In all species including us humans there is a survival instinct. In the puppys aggressive behavior towards his siblings he is telling them – Hey buster get away from my food! You can also experience this when you have two unrelated puppies at the same time.

What to do

Unfortunately this type of aggression is easy to deal with and you can expect your puppy to outgrow it. In such instances you can intervene by putting down another food bowl and letting the angry little fellow eat his fill. If you repeat this several times the puppy will understand that theres enough food to go around and theres no need for him to snap at his siblings.

Fight for attention

The food problem is very similar to this and we often see this in young kids competing for their mothers’ attention. You will naturally resent spending too much time with another dog if the puppy notices you are spending too much time with him. 

What to do

If you divide your attention between your puppies you can easily resolve this type of sibling rivalry. If you have a smaller dog that needs more attention make sure to give the little rebel some toys.

Fear aggression

Growing and snapping at other dogs are often assumed to indicate aggression by nature or a bid for dominance but this is not always true. Some dogs are genetically prone to aggression but vets point out that aggression does not have a breed preference. No matter what breed you will find aggressive puppies just as you will find a gentle dog of a breed known for being vicious. 

Aggressive dogs from a young age are anything but dominant. In most cases they are simply scared. Once again the owner may be blissfully unaware of what caused the puppy to feel fearful. It is possible the little puppy might get scared if another dog comes running to him when you take it for a walk. A puppy with no social experience would not know what the big scary animal wants even if the other dog does not mean any harm. In a potentially dangerous situation a puppy on a leash cannot run away so he will become aggressive.

What to do

A puppy that shows aggression toward unknown dogs probably needs more socialization. Just as children play together on the playground dogs learn how to behave with each other. Rarely meeting other children can make a child feel awkward in social situations; if he isnot used to sharing toys he will naturally resist another kids attempt to take away his yellow plastic car. You can teach a child how to behave on the playground with a little time and patience. The same is true for puppies who are scared. You will have to supervise these doggy play dates to make sure your dog does not meet a violent dog something that could reinforce his fears.

Walking your puppy around the neighborhood is also a great way to teach him more about the world. Let him get used to all the smell signals other dogs leave around trees and lampposts and let him meet and hopefully greet other dogs. Avoid punishing or scolding your puppy if he begins growling when an unfamiliar dog approaches. Its not that hes doing wrong its that hes afraid so you should try to calm him down and let him know hes not at risk.

Stop by your neighbors’ houses if they have small peaceful dogs so that your puppy can see that other dogs are not inherently dangerous. Playing with your neighbors dog will establish a friendly relationship between your dog and his. By doing so your puppy will be less likely to be aggressive when he meets other dogs. 

Tip: There may be a puppy kindergarten in your area which is a great way to socialize your pet within a controlled environment.

Bully behavior

You may notice that your dog is aggressive only towards young animals but not towards older or bigger dogs. Having his own fears may explain why your otherwise cute little dog is acting like a schoolyard bully snapping at other puppies. Its common for bullies to behave violently because they themselves were bullied. The puppy will try to make other puppies fear you if he has reasons to be afraid of larger dogs. Meanwhile he will know to stay away from larger dogs and leave them alone.

If the senior pet in the house has naturally established himself as the dominant dog in your household then your dog might be aggressive to his siblings but behave himself toward the younger dogs. 

What to do

In order to achieve peace and quiet at home you should reinforce this belief by showing more consideration to your new puppy by feeding him first. Its important for a puppy to understand his place in a pack since this is how things tend to work in the wild. This is a behavior that you need to correct if he tries to establish dominance over his siblings. 

Play aggression

Often a puppy will growl when playing with other pets in the house or with members of his family. Watching a puppy growl to protect his favorite toy is usually very entertaining but this is a situation that can quickly spiral out of control. If your child keeps teasing the puppy just so it makes that funny noise play aggression could turn into predatory aggression and aside from snarling the puppy might bite as well. Young dogs are still learning how to control their bite force so this can be a serious issue. In an instant seemingly innocent playful nips can turn into serious bites that pierce the skin.

What to do

A puppy must be taught from a very young age that aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. Simply walk away from the puppy when he misbehaves and does not play with him. After a couple of repetitions you’ll quickly have the message across to your dog. You are the only one who can teach your pet!

Effective ways to deal with puppy aggression

  • Whenever a young dog displays signs of aggression the first thing you should do is distract his attention by making a loud sudden noise – for example clapping using a rattle or squeaky toy. 
  • When your puppy meets an unfamiliar dog use positive reinforcement to reward him.
  • Whenever you see a pack of dogs playing rough at the park keep your dog away from them as a frightening situation might lead to aggressive behavior. 
  • Leaving your dog unsupervised even in a fenced-in dog park is not recommended. While you stare at your phone the puppy may be faced with a difficult situation that could result in mental trauma.
  • When your dog behaves aggressively toward other animals or humans teach the puppy basic obedience commands. Ask him to sit and stop barking and reward him when he does so without fuss.
  • Aggressive puppies should never be punished. Physical punishments only reinforce aggressive behavior. Understand why the puppy is growling or snarling and deal with the cause of this bad behavior.
  • When it comes to aggressive behavior in dogs spaying or neutering is often the best solution since hormones are a major factor. 

The behavior of a puppy that exhibits aggressive behavior should not be dismissed as natural. Donot tell yourself that dogs behave this way. You should do everything you can to reassure the puppy that he does not need to be violent towards other puppies or humans despite the fact that he might be genetically inclined to behave that way. Find a good trainer to help you correct your pets behavior if you are unable to discipline your pet on your own. 

If you want to read more about puppies-related updates read here: Puppies.

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