Aggressive puppy biting can be very upsetting. If you are worried your small puppy is becoming aggressive we have some good news for you.
They are worried because their nine or ten week old puppy is aggressive.
And they are afraid for what the future will bring.
This is not people that are being pathetic about a few little nips
These are people with very young puppies that are launching into frenzied attacks.
Whilst looking angelic in between.
It’s about children in tears, it’s about snarling and biting. It’s even about puppies drawing blood. If your puppy is behaving like this, read on.
Here’s the good news
Your puppy is perfectly normal. This is a developmental phase that all puppies go through.
With your help, it will soon be over.
No matter how fierce your little puppy sounds, it is not a sign of aggression.
It is normal puppy play.
Here’s the bad news
Your puppy is perfectly normal, and he is going to keep on biting for a while.
All small puppies bite. They bite hard. And it hurts
If your tiny eight week old bundle has not started biting – he will. Just as soon as he settles in and feels at home.
Many Labrador puppies are a bit subdued for the first few days in their new home. Once they have their feet under the table, the biting starts in earnest.
It takes time to teach a puppy not to bite. So for a while, you will be subjected to regular assaults with a sharp little set of needles.
You are going to have to be tough, and you will need to protect small children from the puppy’s attentions for a while.
How do I stop the biting?
There are several articles on the website about why puppies bite, and how to stop it. Do take a moment to have a read through.
What about older puppies
Most puppies are through the worst of the biting phase by about four months old.
But some puppies at around six to nine months old have a resurgence of nipping and rough behaviour.
Often ending in tears when children are involved.
This kind of biting is almost always linked to inappropriate play. Often involving children. Dogs, especially young dogs, are not great at reading behavioural signals from small children and vice versa.
There is a bit of a language barrier here, and children can get hurt. Do check out this article: playing safely with your Labrador for more information.
It is important that you now how to recognise and deal with true aggression.
Genuine aggression is very rare in puppies and is almost always linked to extreme fear.
A puppy that bites from fear will normally attempt to hide and withdraw first. He will not be attacking your slippers or hanging on to your toddler’s jumper, he will be cowering in a corner.
The frightened puppy will normally growl fairly quietly and try to avoid contact before he bites, whereas the playing puppy will initiate contact and growl more and more fiercely once the biting game is underway.
A frightened puppy will also often give off a distinctive musky smell.
Helping a frightened puppy
If you find your puppy cowering under a chair and not wanting to be touched, you can be sure that someone or something has really frightened him.
Don’t dive in and grab him. Remove the source of fear (toddlers, and other dogs are common culprits) and take your time over reassuring him. Fetch some nice food, and tempt him out.
Check him over to make sure he isn’t hurt, limping, bleeding etc. He may need plenty of cuddles for a while, but try not to worry.
Most puppies are very resilient and soon bounce back from an unpleasant experience. All you can do now is try to figure out what happened and make sure it can’t happen again.
Aggression in older puppies
Most commonly, biting and rough behaviour in older puppies is due to the causes discussed above.
True aggression in older puppies is normally caused by fear and anxiety due to insufficient socialisation.
To avoid this kind of aggression it is vital to socialise puppies carefully, so that they are not afraid of anything. You can read up about socialisation here:
More information on puppies
Don’t forget, if you need help and support with your new puppy, drop into the forum where you can chat with experienced Labrador owners, and with others going through the same problems.
You can also check out our Labrador Puppies section for more help and advice on managing a Labrador in the biting stage!
For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.
The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.
The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.
The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.