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Warning Signs that Your Pup has a Behavior Problem

Many undesirable behaviors in puppies are typical, age-related issues that often resolve with maturity. However, some behaviors are not typical and can worsen with age if not appropriately managed. Aggressive and fearful behavior, such as growling, snapping, biting, stiffening, and cowering, are not normal in puppies. A psychologically sound puppy should be naive and somewhat eager to interact with people and animals. Mild hesitation in approaching unfamiliar environments, noise, people, or objects is appropriate, but profound fear is a serious problem. Signs of fear include taking more than 1-2 seconds to recover from mild hesitation, making repeated escape attempts, or refusing food or treats in certain situations. Monitoring these "red flags" during your puppy's first few months of life is important. If you notice any of these behaviors, consult your veterinarian immediately for appropriate behavioral help. Failure to address these issues early can lead to significant worsening of problems as the dog reaches social maturity, potentially progressing to aggression, and may be challenging to change.

Is there a issue with my puppy?

Typical Age-Related Behaviors:

  • Many undesirable behaviors in puppies are typical and resolve with maturity.

Abnormal Behaviors:

  • Aggressive and fearful behavior, such as growling, snapping, biting, stiffening, and cowering, are not normal in puppies.
  • A psychologically sound puppy should be naïve and somewhat eager to interact with people and animals.

"Red Flags":

  • Avoidance or Hiding:
  • Alarm Barking, Lunging, "Hackles" Up:
  • Excessive Mouthing:
  • Reluctance to "Sit" or "Down":
  • Confinement Problems:
  • Repeated Elimination in Crate:

Signs of Fear:

  • Mild hesitation in approaching unfamiliar environments, noise, people, or objects is normal.
  • Profound fear, prolonged recovery from mild hesitation, repeated escape attempts, or refusal of food can indicate serious problems.

Consulting Your Veterinarian:

  • If your puppy displays any of these behaviors, consult your veterinarian immediately for appropriate behavioral help.

Identifying and addressing these abnormal behaviors early can prevent them from worsening as your puppy matures.

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