how to control aggression at 4 months?

Cosmo is almost 5 months and showing a few signs of aggression, when we go to take off his leash he gets snappy and when we punish him, is this normal for such a young age? It just started about a week ago but I'd really like to get it under control as soon as possible. I am constantly  rewarding him for his good behavior and just saying "NO" when he gets snappy. Any other ideas? 

He is such a happy puppy so I dont know where this behavior is coming from?! 

Please Help.

Thank you!

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Comment by Nora on July 23, 2012 at 9:14am

Beside what Cindi said, I would also practice "Collar Grab".

--- Since sometimes you don't have a leash around and you need to redirect him from doing something. Plus, if he is comfortable with you grabbing his collar, he will accept the leash faster --- since sometime you need to grab the collar first and then put the leash on. I had mine practiced a while, now I could even grab the collar and drag her for a few steps away from whatever I don't want her to get close (She believes I am drag her to the treat). Before the practice, she would turn her head back, try to get away or lie down on her back so she could face me and mouthing...

Start from small: just simple TOUCH the collar, give him a treat if he behaves well. And then build up gradually on the time length, the pressure and different directions/body positions. Search on Youtube, there is a lot video about the collar grab.

BTW, did you say punish him? Have you punished him? If yes----Stop that and find a positive trainer!!! Corgis response to positive reinforcements VERY WELL, but if you are harsh on them, they will fight back harder and won't listen to you. You need to win his trust:-) Good luck.

Comment by Kelsey Fuhrman on July 22, 2012 at 11:41pm
Wonderful!! Thank you so much!!!
Comment by Cindi on July 22, 2012 at 11:38pm

Let's try changing his association with the leash and collar.  Many dogs, and I've had a couple myself, when you try to handle their collar and take off a leash will spin around and get snappy on the hands.  There are a couple of ways you can deal with this.  First, if you correct too strongly, Cosmo will associate the aggressiveness of the correction with the leash and collar and not the snapping.  Keep some of Cosmo's favorite treats handy.  When you put his leash on, feed him a yummy treat and while he is chewing it, gently put the leash on.  Do the same for taking it off:  Give him a yummy that will keep him occupied for a moment and then gently remove the leash.  If he turns and snaps, verbally correct with "no bite" wait a second and try the treat again.  Once he makes the positive association with the collar/leash and treat, he will improve.

Now, as to his age, he is in a period commonly called "fear period." It happens a couple of times during the first year when things that didn't startle before do now.  Your dog may walk by a trash can that's been there for months a jump and bark for no apparent reason.  If Cosmo has handled the leash/collar up until now, he could be in that first anxiety period.  You correct it same as mentioned above.

And third, he could just be learning rough play.  Be very careful that no one is playing roughly with him.  No wrassling or extreme tugging.  Only gentle interaction.  If someone plays roughly, the dog sees this as acceptable play behavior and will imitate it using teeth and claws.  

Hope that helps.  If you have questions, you can always contact me off-list at

Comment by Jane Christensen on July 22, 2012 at 11:32pm

Great news...

Comment by Kelsey Fuhrman on July 22, 2012 at 11:07pm
Yes I was, and today I got down next to him, petted him and then took off his leash and he was fine then!!
Comment by Jane Christensen on July 22, 2012 at 11:05pm

Are you bending over him???? I would squat down to his level and face him...if you are at his level he may be more receptive? Sometimes they go through a phase and may be scared or if you are doing this fast and starting him.

Comment by Kelsey Fuhrman on July 22, 2012 at 10:35pm
I haven't been to puppy classes...definitely worth a try! Thanks!
Comment by Beth on July 22, 2012 at 10:30pm

Do you ever grab his collar when you go to scold him?  Or his scruff?  Is it possible he is associating your going for him as a correction?

Have you been to any puppy classes?  You might want to have a nice positive trainer evaluate his actions to see how the trainer interprets what he's doing.  

Comment by Kelsey Fuhrman on July 22, 2012 at 10:28pm
its not teething...hes been teething since i got him. he will literally show his teeth growl and snap at me. but its really only when we go to take off his leash, so i dont know if he just is mad because he wants to stay outside and have fun?! we live in new york so I dont have the option of keeping him outside all day long.
Comment by Ludi on July 22, 2012 at 10:20pm

What do you mean by snappy, exactly? And don't be so quick to label behavior as aggression - at 5 months, I sincerely doubt he is people-aggressive! If he is being mouthy with you, then it is possible that he is teething and trying to relieve his discomfort. Have his baby teeth started to come out?

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