How to Train an Aggressive Puppy

FbVerification8 Published on

We may earn a small commission for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

Is your puppy super aggressive to cars, cats, other dogs, or even to you? Mostly, when you see an aggressive dog, it’s either he was born that way, isolated, or not trained appropriately. If not managed earlier, aggression in puppies can escalate to something serious which can affect you or the dog. It’s essential to identify these traits and start adjusting at a young age. You can also work together with your vet to eliminate severe aggressive behaviors.

How do you know that your puppy is aggressive?

If you’re keen enough, you’ll notice aggressive behaviors in your dog long before the situation worsens. When a puppy regularly bites, snaps, and growls, these are warning signs of potential attacks or other serious problems. You can conduct basic puppy training at home or get the help of a professional dog trainer.

First off, it’s essential to identify what exactly is in your puppy’s environment that makes him aggressive. This will help you know the necessary steps to take to control the situation. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that there are different types of dog aggression traits, including territorial, possessive, fear, protective, and social aggression. A puppy can be aggressive towards foods and possessions.

Although this is normal for many puppies, teaching them not to be overprotective is vital for a growing puppy’s education. Similarly, if the puppy lacks previous handling experience, he might act weird when cuddled or over handled. Puppies might also have problems interacting freely with other puppies or big dogs. This often happens due to a sense of dominance or fear. Thus, the snapping and growling could be a defense mechanism to protect their territory and keep other dogs away.

Now that you know the signs and can tell the different types of dog aggression, it is imperative to understand how to train an aggressive puppy.

Start leash training early

Leash training involves having your puppy get used to wearing a leash around your home or when taking walks. This will help to avoid leash reactivity and you have full control over the puppy. It also offers an enjoyable and worry-free walk and avoids unpleasant experiences with other dogs and pedestrians.

Furthermore, keeping your puppy on a leash for prolonged periods can help facilitate the dog’s behavior. This is also a great way to teach your dog obedience, cooperation, and discipline. However, ensure you choose the right harness, collar, or leash for him.

Avoid punishment

Never treat your puppy’s aggressive behavior through punishment. Dogs rarely understand punishment, and doing that may backfire or lead to worse reactions. For instance, if you yell, hit, or use some other cruel method to stop your dog’s growling, he might bite you in self-defense. If the puppy gets used to this behavior, he may harm your children or other adults without warning.

Additionally, it would be best to understand your dog well enough to know when he’s uncomfortable. If he growls around children, perhaps he doesn’t enjoy their presence. Instead of punishment, use more friendly ways to help the puppy get used to different environments. Consider implementing reward-oriented training where you reward good behavior to let the dog learn that you’re in charge.

Teach your puppy patience

Another way to reduce a puppy’s aggressiveness is to teach him patience. The best time to do this is during meals. Since you want the puppy to learn patience, feed him last. Progressively, you can then let him start eating simultaneously with you after establishing firm boundaries.

Subsequently, you can utilize playtime. Keep the toys out of the puppy’s reach so that you’ll be the one providing them. Once playtime is over, place the toys away. Remember that if the puppy takes off with a toy and you embark on a chase game, you may be indicating that he is in charge.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Milo 🐶 (@milo_the_floof_)

Don’t ignore aggression

Aggression is a serious problem that could lead to someone or your puppy getting hurt. You should be able to identify aggressive behaviors in a strange dog. If you notice the same traits in your puppy, make sure you take the necessary steps towards minimizing this behavior.

Acting against aggressive behavior is also a great way to enhance your safety. For instance, if you notice any aggressive behavior in your usually calm puppy, that could be a sign of potential danger. Since dogs have a greater sense of hearing and smell, it could be a sign of warning against the presence of a wild animal or someone intruding on your home.

Consider medication

Besides training, you can also consider medication. Some aggressive dog behaviors may be too severe for you to handle with just training. Medications, like imepitoin, have significant proven effects on reducing reactivity in dogs and can help control and manage the problem.

Some extreme conditions, like stress, anxiety, or fear, may make it hard for your puppy to learn and understand new things. In this case, medication can help him overcome these conditions. However, not all puppies will need medication. Always talk to a dog specialist beforehand.

Contact a professional

Professional dog trainers understand dogs better than anyone else. So if your veterinarian recommends medication, it could be brilliant to call in a professional to help fix the situation. Moreover, a dog trainer will help establish the cause of the problem and guide you in planning a management program.

About the author

Steffi Trott

Steffi has been teaching dog training to thousands of clients since 2013. She trains with clients all over the United States and has four dogs of her own that participate in competitive agility.