Almost everyone who buys or adopts a puppy has a similar experience. Your cute, snuggly, little bundle of love turns into a T-Rex with sharp teeth and seemingly snapping jaws at everything, including you, your arms, hands, legs and feet are fair game to your T-Rex puppy.
Why does my puppy suddenly have puppy aggression?
You can rest assured most puppies do NOT have puppy aggression.
Puppies explore their world with their mouth, just like children explore their world with their hands. Children are always touching things, putting things into their mouths, poking, pulling and even throwing things. All very normal for the toddler.
Puppies go through a similar developmental stage, but the difference is they explore everything with their mouths!
Be sure your puppy has plenty of toys, chewies and brain toys to entertain herself.
Rotating your puppies’ toys every 4-5 days will help ensure she is never bored, which can cause her to chew on you instead.
If your puppy chomps on you, meaning her teeth have encountered your skin, take her quickly to her time out space. DO NOT “REDIRECT” HER TO A TOY!
This is a very common mistake. Your puppy mouths you and you immediately give her a toy thinking that you are teaching her to redirect her mouth to a toy. But the reality of how dogs learn is that you have just taught her to bite you, get a toy. Your puppy will chain these behaviors together very fast.
And yes, you can time your puppy out in her crate, it will NOT make her crate a bad place. If BAD things happen IN HER CRATE, then she will make a negative association with her crate.
If you puppy is not yet crate trained or you simply do not have one, then quickly tether her to your freezer, heavy table leg etc and walk away from her.
It’s when this mouthiness period in puppies is left unchecked that we feel our puppy has puppy aggression.
Mouthiness must be punished quickly and kindly to teach her to NEVER put her mouth on your skin. Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself your Puppy – T-Rex will outgrow this. She won’t.
If your child was hitting you or even biting you, would you hand them another toy? No, I would venture to say, you’d punish them in some way. A quick time out, a loss of a privilege (TV, books) etc. But you’d be very clear and very quick that biting and hitting are NOT OK. And your child will immediately understand that hitting and biting are unacceptable.
Do the same with your puppy and the T-Rex will disappear.
Remember, most puppies do not have puppy aggression.
Training Solutions for Both Ends of the Leash
Ask Me Anything
Schedule your 50 minute virtual Ask Me Anything for quick, laser focus on one issue. Quick questions on house training, why your dog won’t come inside (if you have a fenced yard) puppy issues and jumping up are examples of appropriate topics. Not suitable for aggression, biting or other serious issues.
Take a deep dive into your dog’s behavior. We look at the Whole Dog. We ask Why is this behavior happening, then move into the How, how do we stop it, how do we change it, etc.
Allow 1.5 – 2 hours for this deep dive.
On demand courses are available online and at your convenience. They are an effective and fun way for you to learn and improve your dog’s behavior from the convenience of home. Click below to check out our ever-expanding library of courses.