Puppies are still learning how to behave, and these adorable pets come with a selection of innate and learned traits that tend to spark a little aggression now and then. Wrestling with other puppies is a common activity for young canines, and it is, for the most part, quite normal and healthy.
Usually, young dogs who brawl with other puppies are learning how to act by hurting their peers and then “measuring” the pain that they inflict when they bite. Young canines also learn how to gauge pain by being bitten themselves! In some cases, this sort of puppy roughhousing does serve a purpose, as it trains puppies to control their biting or other potentially harmful behaviours.
Puppies who wrestle with other puppies have usually been removed from their litters before they could discover how to socialize peacefully with other pups (and with their own moms). For these puppies, more patience, training and positive reinforcement is needed to nip puppy wrestling in the bud.
How much wrestling your puppy does with other canines – and just how wild and woolly the fighting gets – should dictate your approach. Sometimes, pet owners must intervene and take action. At other times, the wrestling is mild enough to continue. Use your own judgment about how to deal with puppy wrestling, or consider asking your vet for advice.
Breeding Will Impact Puppy Aggression
Certain breeds are more likely to display aggression in the form of puppy wrestling. Proper breeding will generally ensure that your pup isn’t as aggressive as some of his or her contemporaries. Examples of breeds that are known for a lot of wrestling and roughhousing include German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Rottweilers. Going to the library (or using Google) to check out breeds and their natural aggression levels will be useful if you’re thinking of getting a puppy.
Puppies are naturally rambunctious, and most pet owners do enjoy this aspect of their pet’s character.
The important thing is to train your puppy to find proper balance between healthy grappling with other dogs and all-out war.
Has you puppy got a “Napoleon” complex? If your young dog is compact, he or she may want to prove strength and dominance through extensive wrestling matches with other canines. Usually, the smallest puppies are the ones who give in to “short-dog” syndrome. If larger canines are about, your puppy may feel the need to act aggressive and assertive around these bigger animals. It’s all part of your puppy’s animal instinct.
If your new pet has been the subject of aggression by other dogs, he or she may go on the offensive by starting a fight before he or she gets attacked. This is quite understandable, but it may get out of hand. Again, selecting the right breed, and then training your puppy to behave well early on, are the keys to controlling aggression in your pet.
Sometimes, puppy wrestling is cute and endearing. However, at other times, it’s just too much. If you’ve brought home a pair of puppies and it feels like World War III, try to be as patient and understanding as you can be. Be sure to use your tone of voice to display your displeasure when wrestling goes too far. Puppies need a strong leader to follow, and you can be that leader if you learn how to train your young canines properly.