Normal Play vs. Aggressive Tendencies

Puppies can play rough.
Most puppy play consists of chasing, pouncing, barking, growling, snapping, and biting. So how can you tell the difference between normal play and possible signs of aggression in both dogs & cats?
In normal play, a puppy may play bow (lower its head and raise its hind end), present its front end or side to the owner, hold the front part of its body up, wag its tail, dart back & forth, emit high-pitched barks and growls, and spontaneously attack. Of course, even normal play can become too intense.


  • Distract the bad behavior – have a toy on hand that you can redirect puppy to
  • Speak up – if your puppy is being aggressive, make a loud noise such as “OUCH”
  • Interrupt problem behaviors – Can full of coins, spray bottle, can of air, fog horn
  • Provide plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, play with the puppy, obedience training, socialization