Playful Biting vs. Aggressive Biting: How to Tell the Difference

Playful Biting Vs. Aggressive Biting: How To Tell The Difference

As a pet parent, whether new or old, one thing you must know about dogs is that they love to play. And sometimes, this playful nature can look serious and threatening when you observe them at it from a distance. From running, to puppy play biting and barking and chasing, dogs exhibit a lot of high energy when engaged in play.

If you’re not experienced in dog behavior, you could mistake it for being aggressive or offensive. Therefore it’s important to know when your pup is engaged in puppy playful biting and when it’s something more dangerous.

Having the right information could mean the difference between keeping your dog and yourself safe and being exposed to harm. To be clear, puppy playful biting is completely different from aggressive biting. However, things can change quickly if prolonged rough play isn’t broken up conclusively.

Signs of Playfulness in a Dog

If a dog is playing, its body language is completely different from when it’s being truly aggressive. The signs are often evident simply from looking at the displays from the dog.

Here are some signs to look out for know a dog is playing:

  • High energy chasing
  • Playful bowing
  • Playful growling and barking
  • Taking turns to perform an act
  • Panting and jumping around
  • Playfully submissive body language
  • Eager to please and friendly disposition

Signs of Aggression in a Dog

A dog can display aggressive behavior without being a typically aggressive dog. A one-time display of a behavior can be more about mood at the time rather than the nature of the animal. For instance, a dog trying to protect itself against other dogs might need a bit of aggressive body language to keep them off. A dog growling at another for bad behavior could be a positive display of aggression and part of their body language communication. It doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is an aggressive one.

However, if a dog is fond of attacking, showing threatening displays, biting down to hurt another dog, then such behavior can be called aggressive behavior and must be stopped. If there’s a bite during such an altercation, it’s safe to consider it aggressive biting. As much as dogs play a lot, even harmless fun can deteriorate into aggressive encounters where one or both dogs can get harmed. It’s on you as a pet parent to break it off when this is noticed.

Here are some signs of threatening displays that can also lead to aggressive biting:

  • ‌Stiff bodied, raised tail

    If a dog is being aggressive, it shows in their stance and body language communication. Expect to see a stiffened raised tail and tightened body stance.

  • ‌Snarling

    A movement of the lip baring the teeth with low noise from the dog is a snarl. When a dog is disturbed by something, it might start snarling.

  • ‌Growling

    Growling loud with a tensed posture is a sign of a potential aggression by the dog.

  • ‌Cold stare

    A focused cold stare at a person or another dog isn’t a great sign. In most cases, a dog will attack shortly after doing this.

  • ‌Biting

    And of course, aggressive biting clearly shows the dog isn’t in play mode.

Getting Involved when Play Biting turns to Aggressive Biting

The most important step in stopping aggressive biting is to nip in the bud in the first place. How you may ask? It’s by socializing and training your pup in the right ways of dog behavior. This can be done by starting dog training and behavioral adjustments early enough when the dog is still a puppy. If done early, puppy play biting behavior can be stopped before it becomes reinforced in the dog.

Below are some effective ways to reduce biting in your dog, whether play biting or aggressive biting.

  • Early socialization and dog training creates the foundation of how a dog will behave through its lifetime. Connect with a certified dog trainer or Animal hospital in League City who can handle this need. Your dog can be socialized with other young pups and well-behaved adult dogs.
  • Observe and watch over your dog as much as possible whenever you’re available. Correct behaviors you don’t like or connect with a dog behaviorist for help.
  • Spay or neuter your dog at an early age to mitigate the effects of hormone-driven aggression. High testosterone levels can push male dogs to become super aggressive. Spaying and neutering counters this outcome.
  • Train your dog to behave well by using positive reinforcement. Treat your pup with kindness, love and patience, plus a lot of treats for good behavior and it will reward you with more of that behavior.

Puppy playful biting can be trained out of your dog before it degenerates to excessive biting with aggression as the pup grows to an adult dog. Following some of the steps listed in this post will keep your dog’s behavior positive and its well-being safe.

If you’d love to socialize your dog more, train out negative behavior and get it to act right in the presence of other dogs, other humans and yourself, hiring a certified dog behaviorist is the way to go.

Safarivet is dedicated to helping pet parents give their dogs a near perfect existence by taking care of your furry child physically, mentally and socially.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our dog training services at Safarivet.

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