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Puppy Growling at Other Dogs —

Entries Tagged 'Puppy Growling at Other Dogs' ↓

Puppy Growling at Other Dogs

 Hello Julie,


Please help!  My puppy is aggressive towards other dogs.  We have two dogs, both female Australian Bulldogs.  The first is one years old - She is a great dog who loves other dogs. We socialised her a lot as a puppy and she has always been very submissive and very playful. I have never seen her even attempt to nip another dog. We have put her through puppy school and basic obedience training and all round she is a great dog. We walk her every night at a big off lead dog park and have done so since she was 12 weeks of age. She loves it.


We now have a new puppy that is 13 weeks of age. She is a pleasure around the house and loves our older dog. They play happily all day. They both also attend Doggy Day Care one day a week and they have advised me that they are both an absolute pleasure and play well with other dogs. We have had other dogs visit our home often and also have taken the little one to friends places and basically everywhere we go as we did with the older dog. We know it is very important to get your new puppy around as many new situations as possible. However tonight when we took her down to the off lead dog park now that she has had all of her vaccinations, the little puppy was very aggressive and attacking other dogs. She was stiff, growling and trying to bite. We were quite concerned and shocked as we have never seen this behaviour in her or any of our previous dogs for that matter so did not know how to act. We have her enrolled in puppy class but I would be interested to know what else we can do to nip this behaviour in the bud now before she turns into an aggressive BIG bulldog! I\’m sure there are training techniques however never having this problem before I\’m not sure how to go about it.


Thanks for your time. Lesley from Victoria


Hi Lesley,


Good for you that you have been so diligent about socializing your puppies and knowing how important that is.  No two dogs are alike though so it seems to me that your new puppy probably felt pretty overwhelmed by other unknown dogs approaching it.  Many people believe that 13 weeks is too young for dogs to be in an off-leash dog park because there are so many different types of dogs that we cannot control which ones are approaching our puppy to provide positive experiences with other dogs that are also well socialized.  Your puppies response was to keep them away from her.  Adult dogs that are well socialized tend to allow puppies a little room but will let them know what is appropriate dog behavior and what isn’t, which is why we like to have puppies meet these types of dogs during this crucial development.  Adult dogs that are NOT well socialized tend to teach your puppy bad manners which can escalate into problem behavior.


So for awhile I would suggest limiting your puppies interactions with dogs to just a few KNOWN dogs at a time rather than dozens of unknown dogs at a dog park.  If you do notice your puppy growl you’ll want to discourage that behaivor and not coddle them during the behavior.  If you pick up your dog for example and give them attention after they have just growled we have rewarded that growling and told them we liked it which will of course encourage growling in the future and possibly escalate aggression.  So instead say a quick No! and later try to socialize the puppy with the dog it growled at in a more controlled environment, one on one.  You can practice positive obedience near the dog that the puppy growled at, for example ask your puppy to sit and when she performs the command well offer her a treat.  You can slowly work up to being closer to the other dog (who should be on leash). 


Do not force your puppy towards another dog or person that they seem to want to pull away from.  Be patient and give her time. 


It’s great that your puppy is doing well in the doggy daycare, perhaps that situation feels more secure to her whereas the dog park felt more overwhelming. 


When your puppy is greeting other dogs on leash make sure that your puppies leash is loose because a tight collar can create frustration which can lead to aggression.  Also, make sure that you feel calm and not nervous or your puppy will sense you are uncomfortable and feel the same way which can turn the greeting into something negative. 


It sound like you do understand the importance of socializing your dog well be introducing them to all kinds of different experiences.  Just remember, this puppy may not react the same as your first dog so you’ll have to adjust things accordingly.  Keep up the doggie day care and that’s wonderful you have enrolled her in a puppy class.  I would talk with the instructor of that class ahead of time about your concerns as well so they can be on the look out for the behavior.  You’ll also want to get a feel for how experienced the instructor is for this type of behavior so you can make sure you do everything right.  If you don’t feel confident in the insturctors individual experience try to find one that you do feel has the experience and is willing to work with you if needed. 


It sounds like you are on the right path to resolve the issues and I can see you are dedicated.  You are a great role model for people who notice something about their puppy and plan to do something to fix it rather than let it turn into a problem that will be much harder to resolve as an adult.  I am proud of you for that!  Good job!


Let me know how it goes and if you need any other advice!


Best of luck to you.



Hi Julie,

Thank you very much for your reply. 

I realise now that it was probably very overwhelming for our little puppy at the dog park and we will most definitely take a couple of steps back and wait until she is a older before we take her again.  I feel a little bad about that now,  I shall keep her on lead in future and ensure that she has gained more positive experiences around dogs in a controlled and less confronting situation as you have suggested.  I think Puppy School should help and I will make sure I advise the trainer and ensure we all keep an eye out for this behaviour to properly correct it.

I am no dog expert but a true believer in puppy socialisation.  Our older dog is such a pleasure to have around and we always get comments from people on her behaviour.  We have only ever used positive reinforcement for training and lots of love.  We know that by putting all the hard work in at the beginning has rewarded us with such a great adult dog. (but is it really hard work when they are gorgeous little puppies?  I don’t think so.).  If we can do it, it must be easy and I’m out there telling everyone to do the same!!

We have our hands full with this feisty little one but it should be OK.  Nothing like a challenge.

Thanks Again for your advise and i will let you know how I go.



Hi Lesley,

You are welcome!  Sounds like you are on the right track now and I am confident you will do well!