How to Stop Puppy Aggression

by Ellen Landauer

How to stop puppy aggression is a question based on a host of erroneous concepts and an emotional barrier common to the vast majority of us (including myself in the past).

How to stop puppy aggression

What are the behaviors that prompt people to ask how to stop puppy aggression? Outbursts of barking or growling / grabbing hands, feet, pantlegs with jaws / jumping and pawing / running in circles around people and trying to hone in for a bite.

How to Stop Puppy Aggression: An Example

If you are asking how to stop puppy aggression, you need to know the causes. Further, you need to know that behaviors perceived as aggression in puppies are usually not.

Here is an instructive example from my own experience:

Some time ago, I stopped to say hello to some neighbors who had a 5 month old Lab mix puppy. I didn't know they had this puppy until I walked into their barn and saw the pup running about.

As soon as he saw me, this pup started repeatedly running at me, then backing off. He was constantly barking in a stressed, high-pitched tone. I got it immediately that he was in deep conflict over making contact with me.

Since he didn't know me at all, and I was standing there in a relaxed and neutral manner, I had no doubt his reaction to a new human was very much colored by living with his family. How to stop puppy aggression would be top priority for them. These people tend to use overbearing discipline with their animals but have little concern about any negative side effects of such training.

I had no doubt that, right from the beginning, this pup's attempts to make contact (jumping, mouthing) had been rejected and punished as 'bad' behavior.

At a tender age, his temperament had already been bruised by harsh physical handling and verbal reprimands - putting him in conflict about approaching people.

Rather than CHANNELING that desire and drive into biting a toy and giving him some  contactful massage to help him feel good and relax - the owners frightened him out of making contact.

As this pup mindlessly barked and raced about, staying just out of everyone's reach, his owners sternly yelled at him, 'STOP IT!' 'Cut it out!' Due to the frantic intensity of his emotional state, I suspected that he may have been hit, as well.

My background training with Kevin made this scenario almost intolerable because I clearly saw the fear in the puppy. I was the only one in the room not afraid of the pup's need to jump and bite. While I don't want to be bitten any more than anyone else does, I understood him.

I began talking in a sweet, 'mother-love' tone of voice and subtly patted my knee.

Dogs always know when you have the answer to their drive to make contact. The pup knew.

I opened to accept his fear, his nervousness and his need. He leaped close to me and made as though to grab my hand in his mouth. My hand hanging by my side remained totally relaxed and limp. The pup's nose touched my hand. He leapt away, as though frightened by his own boldness.

As I kept sweetly and calmly assuring him, he made more sustained contact. His shoulder brushed my leg. I subtly massaged his neck and shoulder before he broke contact. He still hadn't bitten me.

His owners seemed horrified that I was calm and open - their belief system dictates that I should be afraid, and reprimanding the pup. I got the feeling they were angry that I appeared to be encouraging the 'bad' behavior.

Within just a few minutes, I was leaning down, giving the pup a lovely massage - and he STILL was not biting me. He became composed, more calm and definitely more focused. He was rubbing his shoulders and sides against my calf as I calmly massaged him. The pup became totally quiet, his way of moving slower and much more supple and harmonious.

He ended up sitting companionably on my foot. Perfect behavior - but his owners were still not happy.


Probably because what they had just seen me put the lie to everything they had done to this young pup to try and make him 'behave.'

How to Stop Puppy Aggression:
An Erroneous Idea

How to stop puppy aggression was still uppermost in my neighbors' minds - despite the fact that there wasn't a shred of aggression in this young canine.

I explained to them that their pup just wants some fulfilling contact with them. They had seen him calm down, revealing his cooperative, gentle, loving nature. But conventional dog training dogma was too deeply entrenched in them for anything I said to get through.

My neighbors did not find what they had just witnessed interesting enough to even engage in a constructive discussion on how to stop puppy aggression. They weren't going to change a thing. Clearly this pup was going to grow up stressed and repressed. The potential for a deep and harmonious bond would not be realized.

However, because the love and loyalty of dogs is in their DNA, this puppy would somehow survive and adapt and everyone would think it was all great.

If you long to learn how to stop puppy aggression while keeping the emotional bond between your and your dog intact, or to heal any barrier to that bond, you surely will enjoy my book.

Personal consultations are also available to give guidance specific to you and your dog.

BUY 'Hunting for Heart' and
Rediscover Your Primordial Bond With Dogs

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