Ask the Vet: Question/Answer for March 2008

Question:

Hi! We purchased an 11 week old female lab mix 6 days ago. I am very concerned about her aggressive behavior. At my 1st vet visit with her yesterday the vet was also concerned. She growled and tried to bite him throughout the entire exam. She has also growled at me a few times when I have corrected her, and I feel I have the best bond with her. If she is this aggressive when she is a puppy, will it escalate as she matures? Do I have a personality beyond my control? Would she be better suited to a home without children? I stay at home with with my 3 young children (7, 4, and 1). We also have an 8 yr old Siberian Husky. I am so torn inside and I truly want the best for my family and the puppy. Can you please offer me some advice?

> Jen

Answer:

Behaviorists suggest that if a puppy is showing aggressive tendencies prior to 12 weeks of age that it is VITAL that the puppy begin training classes ASAP. This puppy also needs to be socialized very, very well. It is possible that even with the training and socialization that her aggression could progress into adulthood. I do not believe that you have a personality beyond your control. As for a home without children, it may or may not make a difference. Some dogs are born with this type of aggression, so keep in mind that this could be genetic. If that is the case then the training and socialization will make very little difference. If she is aggressive with your children then I would remove her from the home ASAP. You have to be extremely consistent with all puppies, especially this one. So make sure that your entire family is on board for whatever plan of action you decide to take.

Valerie Petry, RVT

 

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