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Don't let your cute puppy turn into an aggressive dog
A lot of people think dogs bite "because that's what they do". Dogs don't become aggressive without good reason, and most dogs express aggression because they find themselves in a stressful situation. So it stands to reason that the best way to prevent your puppy from becoming an angry or aggressive dog later is to help them avoid or tolerate stressful situations. You should learn to recognise signs of fear such as being backed into a corner, or being restricted by their lead.
Fear is the common factor
To become afraid, dogs don't necessarily need to have had a nasty experience. Dogs that are fear-stricken are those that don't get the opportunity to socialise with enough people. So socialisation is very important. If your puppy is brought up to see people (grown-ups and children alike) as providers of fun, praise and treats, they won't need to display threatening behaviour .
You should also expose your puppy to noises and situations that might frighten them from a young age, to help them overcome their fears. Then potentially scary things, like the vacuum cleaner, traffic or the postman, become everyday occurrences they take in their stride.
Your puppy and other people
All people are different, whether they're friends, family or strangers - and in the eyes of a puppy, the different ages, shapes and sizes we humans come in can be confusing. So make sure they encounter as many people as possible from an early age. That way, strangers will seem less strange and they'll soon learn to become calmer and more trusting. Just make sure all these new friends don't overwhelm with vigorous displays of affection.
It's also important that your puppy becomes acquainted with children. Few youngsters can resist fussing over a puppy and although they mean no harm, this can be alarming for a dog. But don't forget that puppies can become tired quickly, so make sure any meeting times are kept quite short and give your puppy time to rest.
Play-biting shouldn't get out of hand
Before you collected your new puppy, they would have got used to playing with their own brothers and sisters, and play-biting is a puppy's natural game. So once settled into their new home, they'll want to play-bite with you too. To curb excessive biting, you'll need to divert attention away from your hands to their toys.
The chances are, whenever you spend time with your puppy, stroking and making a fuss, they'll want to chew on your hand, so make sure you have a toy ready. Make it difficult for you puppy to bite your hand by making a fist and offer a toy instead, waving and wiggling it around. It won't be long before your puppy learns that toys are a lot more fun to play with and chew than a big fist.
Your puppy only knows what you teach them.
It's important to remember that whatever you teach your puppy now will be normal behaviour for your grown dog. So when playing as a puppy, try thinking of them as a mature dog, and judge whether the behaviour is acceptable. If they start growling, attempt to bite the hand that’s holding a toy, rush a young child during play, stop the game at once and walk away with the toy. They'll soon learn why the fun stopped and avoid the behaviour that caused it.
If you have any concerns about your puppy's behaviour , or would like more information about available books, training courses or classes, your vet will be pleased to advise you.