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Error-Free Puppy Raising™ Tips

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started Week 29 - Happy, Sad or Mad?

Aggression can be defined as a bite or any threat of a bite. Do not be fooled into thinking a dog will not bite if barking aggressively. "He never bites," means, "so far."  A dog that shows any of the signs of fear and tension listed below is giving a warning to "back off."  The next warning may be a "charge', "inhibited bite" or full-fledge bite.

Signs of fear and tension:  tense muscle tone, stiff or frozen posture; pupil and white of the eye increase in size.  your puppy may look as if he/she is trying to look larger (tail, head, and fur up) or smaller (tail, ears flat, head down. There may be vocalization, urination, a "fight" or "flight" response.

Signs of relaxation
: Loose, relaxed muscle tone, loose lips, relaxed ears and body movement; sitting or lying down; eyes look relaxed.

Nervous or emotional conflict
:  yawning, sighing, panting, grinning, tail chasing.

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