Puppy Showing Aggression

by Sarah


I have a 17 week old male puppy. He was the pack alpha from a litter of 4 and he is a very big boy!

He has always pushed the boundaries, but I have managed to be firm enough with him, (I think), without taking away his confidence.

He is demonstrating some behaviour that I cannot fathom.

When I am being firm - such as saying "NO!" - he often snaps at the air near me and makes a growl/grumbling noise.

He does this snapping motion, whilst looking at me, and finishes with a turn of his head.
Should i be concerned - I repeat the word No, when he does this and if he persists in his behaviour, I put him in his own space (a pen near the family).

He is very devoted to me & follows me everywhere - he just seems to be pushing me in ways that my Rottweiler never did.

Thank you in advance for your opinions.

Vet Suggestion Aggressive Puppy Behvaior

Hello Sarah,

You are right to be concerned about your dog’s behavior. You describe him as an “alpha” and at 17 weeks he is already displaying signs of aggression. I am afraid that unless you intervene his behavior is only going to get worse and potentially dangerous.

Your situation is unique enough that I am hesitant to make any specific recommendations about how best to address it without more information. I cannot diagnose the behavior’s underlying cause (e.g., fear, dominance, etc.) based on your description and that knowledge is essential to coming up with a treatment plan that will improve his behavior and not inadvertently make it worse.

Your first step should be to talk to your veterinarian. He or she needs to rule out medical causes for what is going on (pain, metabolic disorders, etc.). If your dog gets a clean bill of health, your veterinarian can then start talking to you about behavioral modification protocols that you can institute or refer you to someone with more expertise in behavior.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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May 30, 2013
Dogs Need Dogs
by: Anonymous

I would recommend a really good puppy class. I have an older female Parsons who has been used by local dog walkers as she is generally peaceful until she meets young chaps like yours and she is able to put the pup in his place. I respect what the vet has said but frankly dogs learn to be dogs from other dogs not people.

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