Reducing Aggression in Puppies

It’s easy to assume that a puppy will grow out of his aggressiveness, but unless this behavior is corrected, he won’t. Puppies act aggressive for a variety of reasons such as being territorial, defensive or anxious. For example, a puppy that acts aggressive when you approach his toys or food is showing possessiveness, while a puppy that growls at other dogs is trying to assert his dominance. Understanding why your puppy may be acting out is the best way to change his behavior, but sometimes, there is no clear cut answer for why your puppy may be showing aggression.

The good news is that if you are already working with your puppy on socialization training and simple commands, you’re already teaching your puppy to reduce her aggression. You’re showing her that she can trust you, growing the bond between you two and teaching your pup that she has special rules to follow. Even with your own patience and persistence, your pet may need the assistance of a professional puppy trainer to fully reduce aggression.

There are two types of training that can be used to reduce aggression in puppies: socialization training and obedience training. In socialization training, you’re teaching your pup to get along with other pets and people by introducing him to as many creatures as possible. With obedience training, you’re teaching your puppy his place in the home, what is expected from him and the rules he has to follow to get what he wants. 

While training your puppy, make sure that you don’t use choke collars, yell at your puppy or show dominance. You want to set an example, show boundaries and set your puppy up for positive success, not scare her or make her fear you. Simple techniques such as greeting your puppy last �" not first �" replacing a chewed up shoe or sock with a chew toy and not allowing your puppy to come in the bedroom are effective ways that you establish boundaries and reduce aggression and possessiveness in your pup. 

When combining both socialization and obedience training methods, you’ll subsequently be training your dog to become a good-natured pet in the household. Yet sometimes, puppies need more, which is when you’ll call in a professional trainer to help. Choose a trainer that is well-versed in puppy training, as the trainer will be able to build a program that is around the root cause of the aggression. Diligence, consistency and positive reinforcement are the key components to any training program, so make sure that you’re ready to invest this time and commitment into training your pet. 

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