When you consider how to stop dog aggression the best answer is to never allow it to begin. Proper socialization of puppies from a young age ensures that they will learn good social skills and proper human-canine boundaries. Good socialization helps puppies learn how to live in a home and how to function in the human world. It helps them learn how to get along with people appropriately without nipping or play biting or growling. Properly socialized puppies have not been abused or neglected and do not react with fear around humans. They are not excessively territorial. Good socialization helps puppies become confident, friendly adult dogs without aggression problems.
Ideally you should bring home a new puppy between the ages of 8-12 weeks. Some toy breeds may need to stay with their mothers close to three months to get a good start in life because of their small size. If you are obtaining a puppy from a reputable breeder your puppy should already have received some socialization. He should be comfortable around the people in the home. He should enjoy being petted and not be shy. He should be familiar with many common household sounds and objects. All of this early socialization in the home provides a good foundation on which you can build.
If you are obtaining your puppy from a shelter or rescue you may need to get him up to speed on some of his socialization. These early weeks are a crucial time. Make sure that you spend plenty of time with petting and cuddling. Introduce him to things in the house. Introduce him to people who come to your home. If he is frightened of anything show him that there is nothing to be scared of. Make a game of everything and show him that it’s fun.
You can continue your puppy’s socialization by taking him out to meet people and friendly dogs as soon as he has had his second set of shots. Don’t allow him to play with dogs who have not been vaccinated or to pick up things to eat that could disagree with him. Otherwise, let him explore new things and be a dog. You do want to keep him on a leash to keep him out of trouble and control the situation. But the more new things your puppy can see and learn about, the better for him.
Pet supply stores are a good place to go, as are parks where your puppy can meet friendly people who will pet him. You can also take him to a dog park where he can play with puppies and dogs his own size. When it comes to how to stop dog aggression, you want to start from a young age letting your puppy meet and mingle with other dogs and lots of people so he is well socialized.
Aggressive dogs are usually those who are un-socialized, living at home without contact with other dogs and people — the equivalent of a shut-in. The more your puppy (and dog) gets to see of the world in a safe, controlled situation, the more well-adjusted he will be. Dogs have to learn manners just as people do, and they can only learn good manners by interacting with people and dogs.
You may also consider taking your puppy to Puppy Preschool or puppy kindergarten classes. Even if you are not interested in obedience training for your puppy these classes are a great way to provide opportunities for socialization for your puppy. They are often offered by kennel clubs, pet supply stores and animal shelters. You can also ask about other classes these places may offer for dogs. Any kind of class for owners and their dogs that lets you get out and meet people and dogs can be a good way to continue your dog’s socialization.
Any dog can develop problems with aggressive behavior, not just dogs of certain breeds. Aggression has everything to do with how a puppy is raised from birth and how it is socialized by its owner. When you think about how to stop dog aggression, think about stopping it before it begins.