Puppy Biting - Is My Puppy Aggressive?
One of the most common questions I get as a professional dog trainer from students with puppies, is about aggression and biting.
We unfortunately have even had people email us inquiring about signing up for classes to have them reply back that they rehomed the puppy before class even started because the puppy was "aggressive".
True aggression in puppies is extremely rare. I have only seen one to two cases of true aggression in a puppy under four months of age in all my years of working with dogs.
So, what are puppy owners actually seeing then?
Well, teething and playing. Yes, indeed, very normal and typical puppy behaviors.
Some puppies will growl while playing, others will not.
Some puppies will bite too hard when playing or teething, others may learn fast on their own that this is painful for others.
Some puppies will have short teething periods, others may have teething periods which seem to go on forever.
Some puppies might rip your clothes and others might just gently chew at your fingers.
Some puppies might bite and roughhouse in a chaotic manner when excited, some puppies might zoom around the house instead.
But all of this is within the range of normal for a puppy. These behaviors are not aggression, predictors of aggression, and your dog means no ill-will towards you.
These are normal puppy behaviors that should be managed and redirected to appropriate toys, not punished or corrected because those methods *can* cause your puppy to become scared of you and can cause aggression in some dogs.
Teething can be a painful experience for some puppies. Puppies tend to "act up" more often when they are loosing teeth and have new teeth coming in.
They crave things to chew on to help relax the discomfort so, toys should be provide that are various textures. Frozen toys or large blocks of ice (that cannot be swallowed whole for safety) can help numb the pain for a brief period and calm your puppy.
But, rest assured that it is unlikely that your puppy is truly aggressing towards you. They aren't out to get you. They are just being puppies. God had a really good laugh when he made these adorable little fuzzy pirañas.
If you feel your puppy falls into the "truly aggressive" category, please contact a professional dog trainer for help immediately.
For help with aggression or just help managing life with your new puppy, contact us at the link below to sign up for August private training programs or one of our September group classes coming up. We can help!