$1 Can Save Many Shelter Dogs!
Basic Training

Puppy Basics: Preventing Aggression in Your Growing Dog

“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”

We’ve all heard the old adage – it’s not the dog, it’s the owner – when dealing with an aggressive dog. So, what can you do to prevent aggression in your growing dog? Some of the tips below from Dog Basics Magazine might surprise you!

Puppy Basics: Preventing Aggression in Your Growing Dog

Pet Selection

When choosing a dog, learn about the breed to help you understand its genetic potential. Choose dogs whose parents and lineage have the right disposition for your family. Recent studies show that temperament testing of young puppies doesn’t predict adult behaviour, except if the puppy is very fearful. If you are adopting an older pup or adult dog, personality testing may help determine if the dog is likely to be fearful or friendly, possessive or aggressive.


Socialization and exposing the puppy to new experiences are key elements in preventing or minimizing fear and anxiety in adult dogs. The sensitive period for socialization is the first 14 weeks. Every effort should be made to expose the puppy to as many people, places and environments as possible during this time. In fact, any type of person, animal or situation that the pet doesn’t become familiar with during this socialization time can be a source of fear and aggression as the dog matures.

During the early part of the socialization period, the puppy is best housed with its mother and littermates to learn how to interact and communicate with other dogs. A good maternal role model and regular human handling in these early weeks can reduce fear and help the puppy better cope with future stress.

Seven to eight weeks of age is a good time to introduce the puppy to its new home and family. It’s well within the socialization period and an age when fear is just beginning to emerge. Take a close look at what sort of people, animals, sights and sounds are not in your household and then expand the puppy’s socialization to include:

People who look different – beards, glasses, uniforms, ethnic groups

People who act differently – children, infants, elderly, mentally or physically challenged

A variety of dogs, breeds and other animals

Different sights and sounds – vacuums, planes, cars, bikes, roller blades, joggers

Places – veterinary clinics, cages, grooming facilities

Surfaces – grass, carpeting, tile, wood decks

Experiences – stairs, elevators, car rides

If your puppy shows fear or anxiety, go slower and take along some favoured treats or toys so he (or she) learns to enjoy new experiences. If you’re concerned about your puppy visiting parks or meeting unknown dogs before vaccinations are complete, enroll in a puppy class where dogs are screened for health and vaccine status. Classes expose your puppy to a wide variety of people, dogs and experiences as well as guiding you in rewards based training.

Training With Rewards

Use rewards based techniques to shape and encourage desirable behaviour. Undesirable behaviour should be ignored or prevented, not punished. Identify what the potential reinforcers are for your dog and give them only for desirable responses. In other words, when you want to give your dog a toy, treat or chew toy or whenever your dog wants something – affection, walk, play – this is your opportunity to train. Also, if your dog does something good, don’t forget to reward him immediately.

No Punishment In Training

Punishment can be a major contributing factor to aggression. Even an occasional physical rebuke can lead to increased fear, anxiety, defensive behaviour or hand shyness. At best, it may stop the undesirable behaviour but does nothing to teach desirable behaviour. It may also reinforce the bad behaviour by providing attention. For example, punishment during play aggression may cause the behaviour to escalate, either as a defensive measure or because the puppy thinks it’s part of play.

Punishment can also lead to conflict which is a common cause of aggression. Conflict arises when the dog has competing motivations, such as wanting to greet or play, but is also fearful of the outcome, perhaps because he has been punished for the behaviour in the past.

Physical Handling & Restrain

Puppy training should include a wide range of handling, always positive. Avoid punishment or unpleasant outcomes that might lead to fear. Each time your puppy is in a mood for affection, treats or play, practice stroking or touching a different part of his body, or practice lifting him or have him lie calmly in place on his back, belly or side. If he enjoys this, gradually progress to other forms of handling and restraint. If he resists or becomes anxious, gradually repeat the handling using treats to make it enjoyable. Also, consider using favoured rewards while brushing, bathing, nail trimming, rubbing the gums and teeth, cleaning the ears or around the eyes, or place a treat in his mouth to mimic giving a pill.

Play Biting

Most puppies use their teeth as part of play, however, play biting can quickly become more aggressive. First, make sure he’s getting enough regular play periods and chew toys. Then, each time the puppy’s play increases to biting, immediately stop the play. The key is for the puppy to learn that the play stops when teeth are used.

Food Bowl & Give/Drop Exercises

Some dogs are aggressive when eating or when they have a favoured possession in their mouth. You may be able to prevent this by beginning with hand feeding and progressing to small meals where you are holding the food bowl. As soon as the dog is done, remove the bowl and refill it (even add an occasional treat). Next, walk by the dog when he is eating and toss a treat near the bowl, so that your dog learns to move away from the bowl and expect good things when people walk by. Do not do these exercises with dogs who are already protective of food or toys without the guidance of a behaviourist.

The dog that is possessive of toys or objects that it steals is another problem. Practise a ‘give’ or ‘drop’ command by training your dog to give up toys for special treats.

Protective, Territorial or Fear Aggression

Teaching your puppy proper greeting behaviour and rewarding him each time he’s successful can greatly reduce fear and protectiveness towards strangers. First, have him learn to greet family members by teaching him to sit, lie down or give a paw for treats. Then, move on to new people.

Conversely, punishing your dog for barking, lunging or jumping up each time he meets a stranger or new pet can make him increasingly fearful or aggressive with each new greeting.

Read the rest of Dog Basic’s article here. And, tell us – have you had any experience with an aggressive dog? Or, any other tips to prevent aggression in your growing dog? Tell us about it below!

Image 100572046 13348155


  1. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am
    a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us
    have developed some nice practices and we are looking to trade solutions with others,
    be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  2. It’s awesome in favor of me to have a site, which
    is beneficial in favor of my experience. thanks admin

  3. I’m curious to find out what blog system you are working with?
    I’m having some minor security issues with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more
    risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this amazing site needs
    much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

  5. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve ofered in your
    post. They are very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are ttoo short for starters.
    Could youu please lengthen them a bit from next time?

    Thank you for the post.

  6. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!
    Very helpful information specially the final part
    🙂 I maintain such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  7. Your own purpose while play in the recreation is to assemble just
    one_s whole village, open diverse warriors, bust methods by
    different villages, create a kin group and far,
    far more. While I don’t have a problem with Facebook cheats in the gaming world I think it’s quite disturbing
    to hear of the number of marriage and relationship break-ups that are attributable it seems
    to the new social networking era. Other features of Windows Live Hotmail
    include choosing your Hotmail e-mail theme, setting up the reading pane,
    creating a personal e-mail signature, bringing in your
    contacts from other e-mail services (also known as fetching your other e-mail account using Hotmail), adding friends from your preferred social network accounts and sorting the e-mails by date, sender, subject, size
    or conversation threading.

  8. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have yoou been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is fantastic, as well
    as the content!

  9. When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment.
    Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  10. Avatar Of Aarav Aarav says:

    This book will show preschoolers what germs are, and
    how they make us sick. Performing daily exercises and maintaining an active lifestyle is key to enjoying good health.

    Take your time when grocery shopping, look over ingredients and try to maintain an overall balanced diet.
    These can be prevented with dedicated weight loss programs and determination to lose weight.
    The Odds Are Not in Your Favor: Your pet may be in excellent health today, but statistically pets have about a
    one-in-three chance of becoming seriously ill or suffering a serious injury during their lifetime.
    Maintaining a healthy diet can minimize night sweats too, as well as regular exercise.
    In a study of extracts was proven its efficiency as an antioxidant.

    Also clean the kidneys and inhibits kidney and
    urinary system. There are so many factors involved in an individual’s healing
    process, that to say that a modality will work all
    the time is like saying that every seed you plant will sprout.
    The body will do the work out on auto-pilot because you are too busy singing along with your favorite tune to give yourself clear instructions and
    pay attention to be sure they are being executed correctly.

  11. You will probably discover that they are considerably
    more supportive than you anticipate. It’s possible that some of your creditors won’t cooperate with credit
    counselling agencies. This explains the ungratefulness towards the great presence of Uncle Sam.

  12. Quite a few may additionally have a problem downloading it simply
    because currently have good old Desktops, what’s more a number of may possibly locate
    using the Sim cards social special secrets unhelpful in addition to dishonest.
    Considering this is a one-player game, it’s amazing that there is such a strong sense of “family” among players across the world.
    A great site to visit to get into the independent gaming scene.

  13. I just like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I’m somewhat certain I’ll be informed a lot of new stuff proper here!
    Good luck for the next! hack facebook

  14. Hi friends, its great paragraph concerning teachingand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

  15. What’s up to every one, the contents existing at this site are really awesome
    for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  16. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve
    definitely picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise a few technical points
    using this website, since I experienced to
    reload the website many times previous to I could
    get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?

    Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will
    sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your
    high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of
    your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top

Like Us for Wonderful Dog Stories and Cute Photos!