Puppies are cute. They’re so small and fluffy, and you can’t resist those big brown eyes when they look up at you. You might even think that puppies have no capacity for aggression. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and if left unaddressed, aggression towards humans can become a permanent behavioral issue for your puppy. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to get ahead of conflict aggression in your new pet:
- Conflict aggression is more common in puppies than you might think.
- The two main types of conflict aggression are fear-based and territorial-based
- Puppies should be socialized early on
- If your puppy displays signs of territorial or fear-based behavior toward humans, it is imperative that you seek out professional help
Conflict aggression is a serious problem and behavior that could be dangerous for children especially.
Conflict aggression is a serious problem and behavior that could be dangerous for children especially. Conflict aggression can mean that your dog is aggressive toward other animals, strangers, or family members. If you have a puppy with this problem, there are some things you can do to help him learn appropriate behavior.
You should train your puppy to get along with other people and animals from the time he is young so he will grow up to be well-behaved around people and other dogs. The best way to do this training is through positive reinforcement methods such as praise and treats when your puppy does something right instead of scolding him when he does something wrong.
What is conflict-induced aggression?
- Conflict-induced aggression is a form of aggression that is triggered by a conflict situation.
- It’s different from dominance aggression, which is usually displayed by dogs that are higher in the pack hierarchy.
- It’s also different from fear-induced aggression, which can be exhibited by dogs who are feeling anxious or fearful about something.
- And it’s different from territorial aggression, which occurs when dogs feel threatened in their territory and lash out to protect themselves and their resources
It’s important to know what these signs look like when interacting with dogs.
Conflict aggression is a very common type of aggressive behavior that can be seen in dogs of all breeds and ages. Conflict aggression is a response to another dog or person invading the resource territory or space of a dog.
As long as the dog feels safe and comfortable he won’t exhibit this type of behavior, but when there’s an invasion into his personal space or territory he may become defensive. In order to recognize conflict aggression it’s important to first understand what these signs look like when interacting with dogs:
- Anxiety – Dogs will show anxious behaviors by licking their lips, yawning excessively, avoiding eye contact, panting heavily, whining softly or scratching at themselves (scratching behind ears).
- Frustration – Dogs will show frustrated behaviors by lip curling (a sign that they want something), snapping at nothing in particular (a sign that they are annoyed), pacing back and forth across a room (“I need out!”).
Some puppies may show signs of aggression or over excitement when they’re playing.
It is normal for puppies to show signs of aggression or over-excitement when they play. If you notice this, it is important to keep an eye on the interactions between dogs and give them space until they have calmed down.
It’s also important that your puppy gets enough exercise so that he/she doesn’t become frustrated by playing with other dogs.
Puppies showing conflict aggression may bark, growl, snap, lunge or bare their teeth at you.
Puppies showing conflict aggression may bark, growl, snap, lunge or bare their teeth at you. This can happen when they are frustrated or fearful. It is important to learn what your puppy’s body language means and how to respond appropriately so you do not accidentally reinforce the behavior.
Barking is a sign of frustration and warning that he needs something right now—it could be anything from food to attention, exercise or something else he has learned to associate with positive feelings such as petting or playing with another dog in the park.
Dogs showing conflict aggression are very unpredictable in their behavior.
- Dogs showing conflict aggression are very unpredictable in their behavior. It is not uncommon for dogs to suddenly bite their owners or other family members, even if they have never shown any signs of aggression before.
- The behavior is out of character. The behavior is out of character. A dog who has never been aggressive before will suddenly display this type of behavior for no apparent reason.
- The behavior is not consistent with the dog’s personality or past history; some dogs may be naturally friendly while others tend to be more reserved around strangers but still show no signs of aggression toward them when meeting strangers later on down the road.
Diagnosing Conflict Aggression in Puppies
Puppies are very social. Like human babies, they love to play and interact with other puppies. But it’s important for you to know that even though your puppy may seem like it’s trying to play, it is actually establishing its dominance over you as well.
Puppies that grow up in a home with other cats and dogs will usually be more comfortable around other pets than puppies who have only known humans, but regardless of the environment they grew up in, all puppies will eventually learn how to communicate with each other through their body language. Communication between two dogs can include:
- Posture – Standing tall or lowering themselves down (submissive)
- Tail position – A wagging tail means happy while a tucked tail means frightened or angry
- Eye contact – Looking away from another dog is submissive while staring directly at another dog shows aggression
Talk to your vet. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a physical exam and run some tests, if they’re needed.
Get a second opinion from another veterinarian. This is especially important if you have more than one dog or suspect that something else may be going on, like an illness or parasite, for example.
Have a behavioral evaluation done by a certified animal behaviorist or trainer in order to get your puppy evaluated by someone who understands aggression in dogs and can help determine why your puppy is displaying it and what needs to happen next for both of you (this can also be useful if there are other behavioral issues with your pup).
Get what’s called a temperament test done by an experienced professional who specializes in these matters so that together as a team you can assess how best move forward.
It’s important to know what these signs look like when interacting with dogs. Some puppies may show signs of aggression or excitement when they’re playing. Puppies showing conflict aggression may bark, growl, snap, lunge or bare their teeth at you. Dogs showing conflict aggression are very unpredictable in their behavior.