Is Your Puppy Aggressive? Here’s How to Deal with It

aggressivepuppyIs your puppy aggressive? If he is, that is bad…very bad. Why you ask?…Well, because he’s a puppy.

When I trained attack dogs, one important rule of thumb was to never train an attack dog to fend off an attacker before at least ten months to a year old. That is because a puppy from birth to usually ten to twelve months has not developed their defensive instinct. Up to that point, they are mere puppies. They are not supposed to have an aggressive bone in their body.

Just think of it like a baby or toddler. Sure they are opportunistic and will make a fuss when they do not get their way. But they do not have an aggressive element to their personality. A toddler would never think about killing another child who stole their toy. And if a puppy acts this way, it is a big problem and is very telling with regards to what you can expect as far as future behavior is concerned.  

Any dog who displays aggression is dangerous but all the more so a puppy. That is because contrary to popular belief, for many aggressive dogs, their behavior is not learned. Despite what many at the dog park may have told you, many dogs are born and an aggressive streak is hardwired into their DNA. It is very similar to mental illness in human beings. And like mental illness in homosapiens, the symptoms often do not rear their ugly heads until adulthood. The same is true with aggressive dogs. The solutions are highly complex as I have explained in other articles.

But if you have an aggressive puppy, the complexity is compounded exponentially. The hope of fixing his aggressive behavior is greatly diminished. that is because a puppy who is aggressive is without a doubt going to mature into an adult dog who is aggressive. In other words, your aggressive puppy is a ticking time bomb and a lawsuit is only a matter of time. One way to determine if the puppy you want to buy or adopt is aggressive is to look for signs of irrational fears.

There is a big difference between a rational and an irrational fear. A rational fear for a puppy can involve being afraid of the sound of a roaring bus engine, or a bigger dog approaching him.

On the other hand, an irrational fear can be a puppy who flees with his tail between his legs when someone reaches out their hand to pet it. Or it can be one who is deathly afraid of random innocent people in its vicinity who present no implicit or explicit threat. For a puppy, these irrational fears can quickly morph into aggression and should be paid close attention to.

That’s because the bottom line is that a puppy is not supposed to be afraid. A puppy is supposed to love everything. They are supposed to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at virtually every new experience. And although they don’t have to welcome new people with open arms/paws, they certainly shouldn’t run away from them in panic. And all the more so, they should not display aggression at such a young and tender age.

That is why it is so important to monitor your puppy and keep track of how his fear and aggressive behavior develop. It can be cured with medication prescribed by a veterinarian or a bonafide animal behaviorist but even that is a far cry from a guarantee of non-aggression. And if you want to avoid a lawsuit, it’s simply not worth the risk. This may compel you to get rid of the puppy. And despite the fact that getting rid of an aggressive puppy is not anyone’s ideal solution, it certainly trumps an embarrassing lawsuit.

Just bear in mind, getting rid of an aggressive puppy or dog does not necessarily mean taking them to a kill shelter or even back to the pound where another unsuspecting, sympathetic family will adopt them and bear the burden. There are many security companies who recruit aggressive dogs to secure property. And contrary to popular opinion, these companies treat those dogs very well with a high level of care. After all, these dogs need to be healthy and well kept to do their job effectively.

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David Sidman is a certified professional K-9 trainer with a specialization in training military and Police working dogs. Sidman qualified as an I.D.F explosive detection dog handler and was certified in Police K-9 Training by the Eastern States Working dog Association (ESWDA)

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