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Fear and Aggression: Identification and Management


July 8, 2017

Aggression and territorial behaviors in dogs tend to creep up during adolescence and adulthood. Many pups are genetically predisposed to aggressive tendencies making it difficult to notice early warning signs. It is important that you keep a close eye on aggressive tendencies in both your pup and other neighborhood dogs so you know how to react when a confrontation does occur.

Warning Signs

The first step in handling aggression or territorial guarding is to recognize early warning signs. The following signals should let you know that your pup or another pup you are encountering may not be comfortable with the situation:

  • Freezing
  • Turning away
  • Lifting of lips
  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Snapping
  • Lunging
  • Stiff tail
  • Raised back hair
  • Tail between legs
  • Flat ears

Working on positive reinforcement training can help you prevent aggressive tendencies and will also help you deal with these situations when they arise.

Tips to stop aggressive tendencies before they arise:

Never punish!

Punishing your pup for displaying signs of fear or aggression will backfire and escalate the situation.

Manage your pup’s environment

Never put your pup in a situation that may be scary for him. If you notice signs of fear or aggressive signals, do not push your pup forward. Remove him from that environment and try again another time.

Training and positive reinforcement

Use the “Learn to Earn” method, and provide a positive reward for every action your pup takes. Every sit, mealtime, trip outside or playtime is an opportunity to reward your pup for positive behavior.


This one is easy and makes a world of difference. Pent up energy can be displayed as aggression. So make sure to take the baby to the park or on a bike ride every chance you have!

With a solid training base and the strong bond that comes with it, you should be able to redirect your pup’s behavior when you notice signs of aggression. Re-engage your pup’s attention through commands he knows well. This creates a distraction that will often pull your pup out of the aggressive mindset.

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!