Puppies are best described as innocent, vulnerable and playful. For this reason, most people feel dismayed when new puppy behaviors are of a look with a soulful eye – and then growls. Is there’s something mentally wrong with the animal? After all, isn’t aggression for adult dogs? Actually, no. Most puppies growl, bite or show their teeth. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, aggression in puppies is very normal – to a point.
1. Junior is finding their feet
Very often, the most crabby puppies come from large litters. They had to fight for everything and this behavior continues when they go off to their new homes. This type of competition-driven aggression will resolve once the pup learns that there are enough food and toys to go around.
Another reason why puppies nip, jostle and go “grrrr,” is because they are communicating. Their doggy language isn’t as refined as adults and this is how they get their feelings across. This is mostly harmless and with gentle training to curb too much biting, things will work out fine.
The puppy might also cause a spike in aggression among your other dogs. As they grow up, puppies must find their place within the pack and this means that the rest of your pets must rearrange too. They usually sort things out amicably but keep an eye out for serious rivalries. Even so, this can be viewed as normal behavior (that needs supervision until things settle down).
2. Fluffy is fearful
Nature didn’t design puppies with a black belt. They don’t have many choices during a scary situation. They cannot run away fast enough and they’re too small to fight off any monsters. What’s left? Showing those baby teeth and roaring like a lion. That’s all they can do when they’re truly scared. This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your pet. Something in its past, perhaps bullying from littermates or an abusive previous owner, could be responsible. Time and gentle treatment is the best medicine.
3. Breed characteristics
If you know the parentage of your new puppy, consider the traits of the breed or breeds. Certain dogs, especially terriers, can be standoffish with other dogs. The bull breeds were bred for serious behavior and their puppies are inclined to growl, wrestle and bite onto things. Did you get a Rottweiler, German Shepherd or another guarding breed? Such dogs might guard a toy, their territory or you against everyone else and needs to be trained to understand correct behavior. Always use positive and calm training techniques that don’t include physical punishment or dominance, which could make the situation worse.
Finally, one kind of aggression isn’t normal. After discounting natural behavior, then the problem might be medical. This is especially true when a placid puppy suddenly turns aggressive or shows other signs of illness. In that case, you need to see a vet to determine whether the animal is experiencing pain, a neurological condition or disease.