Are Portuguese Water Dogs Aggressive? 6 Reasons and 5 Tips

The Portuguese Water Dog is not aggressive. He’s even-tempered, gentle, and friendly. Aggression in dogs is not based on the breed. Rather, it boils down to socialization and how he’s been trained or handled.

Since this is a dependable canine who retrieves fishing gear out of instinct, some may display a mouthing behavior. Meanwhile, in puppies, nipping happens only during playtime. Dog parents who find this worrisome can take preventive measures so it’s eliminated.

Do Portuguese Water Dogs Bite?

Portuguese Water Dogs don’t bite to harm people. This breed is a mouthy one, and people may take this as an onset of dangerous behavior. Gentle biting or nipping is only a playful gesture that needs to be eliminated to ensure it doesn’t become a habit.

Photo from: rio_and_sikari (IG)

A well-trained Portie knows how to act around other pets and people. If he’s been taught not to display a certain manner, his high intelligence enables him to understand what his human parent asks him to do and obeys right away. 

6 Reasons Why a Portuguese Water Dog Becomes Aggressive

Though it’s generally expected of a Portuguese Water Dog not to show hostility, it doesn’t mean he won’t be capable of showing signs of aggression.

If it does happen, dog parents should find out the root cause and strive hard to deal with the behavior properly. Here are the top 6 reasons your dog is not acting right:

1. Same-Sex Aggression

Porties are not immune to same-sex aggression. While some pooches find it easy to adjust to living with another male or female dog in the house, others won’t. If you’re planning to bring home a second dog, then there is a rule of thumb you must abide by.

You should opt for the opposite sex. That means, if you have a male Portie, you should get a female for the second dog. And the second four-legged companion has to be at least 2 years old.

This is because second dogs who are still puppies can end up becoming submissive to the older first dog. The goal is to make sure your second buddy becomes confident, making it a wiser choice to bring home an adult Portie. 

2. It’s a Learned Behavior

You should never underestimate how smart a Portuguese Water Dog can be. In some cases where he learned that he could get his way by inflicting fear or aggression toward his owner, the behavior will show again in the future. 

Your goal is to keep his manners in check. If he acts improperly, make sure it’s promptly discouraged.

3. He’s Annoyed

No matter how patient your Portuguese Water Dog is, never think about vexing him. Forcing him to do things will end up badly. Dogs, when they’ve had enough, may snap or react harshly.

4. He’s Been Wrongly Handled

What dog parents should know is that Porties are sensitive dogs. They shouldn’t be trained whilst using harsh punishments. They can’t even take verbal abuse. However, if this is the kind of environment a Portie has, he’ll eventually develop aggressive behavior as a way to fight off physical or emotional pain.

5. Could Be In Pain

Sick or injured Porties tend to isolate themselves as part of their instinct to protect themselves from predators. The best thing Portie parents can do is to take them to the vet and not treat their dogs by themselves at home. Be careful as well when you have to touch your sick Portie as you might end up causing pain to one of his affected areas.

Dogs who are physically suffering tend to react harshly, even to their owners.

6. Feeling Threatened

This is associated with fear-induced aggression. Portuguese Water Dogs, no matter how brave they are, can feel intimidated. What happens then is they become aggressive, and this is their defense mechanism displaying. 

5 Tips to Prevent Aggression in Portuguese Water Dogs

It can be quite a handful to have a dog that’s beyond control. Luckily, most Portuguese Water Dogs are kind and tender. Most of all, they’re affectionate and loyal to their owners. 

To fully eliminate any chances of your Portuguese Water Dog becoming hostile, here are 5 effective tips you can follow:

1. Early Socialization

Get your Portie used to different scents and faces. Early socialization enables him to form bonds and realize that it’s nice to make friends with others. This also lowers his guard down and, therefore, makes him more open to accepting people. 

I suggest that you choose a Portie puppy that has already been socialized by the breeder and continue keeping him exposed to other dogs. If you’re planning to adopt, see how the dog responds when you first meet him and find out if you’re both suitable for each other.

2. Proper Training

Portuguese Water Dogs have to be taught not to react unreasonably. He has to understand what “no” and “stop” means in case he acts naughty. Be consistent with your rules, and be sure to keep a schedule concerning his training.

Also, know when to seek professional help. Animal behaviorists and dog trainers can really help you with your troubles. However, if you can handle your dog yourself, we suggest you commit to that task, as this is also a chance to bond with your furry companion.

3. Consider His Feelings

Dogs are capable of absorbing a wide range of emotions. Be extra careful with your words, as Porties are dogs with feelings. It’s not true that verbally abusing your dog will toughen him up. It, instead, hones him to become a liability.

Show him lots of love and attention without compromising on his mistakes. Love starts with discipline. When you correct him, use positive reinforcements only. 

4. Keep Him Preoccupied

Though Portuguese Water Dogs are medium in size, their energy is actually incredible. They require at least 40 minutes of exercise per day as they are not couch potatoes. 

If their thirst for playtime is ignored and they’re just at home with nothing to do, this will pave the way for dogs to develop unwanted behaviors. This includes barking, growling, and gnawing on your furniture. 

5. Find Out the Root of Aggression

You wouldn’t be able to properly eliminate aggression in dogs, particularly in your Portie, if you haven’t found out the exact root cause of his behavior. If he’s sick and he’s been left untreated for several days, the span of his hostile nature extends.

Get him to the vet immediately to diagnose his illness or injury. 

Can Spaying/Neutering Lower a Portuguese Water Dog’s Aggression?

A 2018 research suggests that there is a significant difference between fixed and unfixed dogs. To lower the chances of your Portie becoming aggressive, more so if we talk about same-sex aggression, get them spayed or neutered. 

Not only would it positively affect their behavior, but as well as provides numerous health benefits like a lowered risk of developing cancer.

To add, it doesn’t necessarily mean that unfixed dogs are aggressive. Spaying and neutering are only surgical methods dog parents can opt for certain reasons. It happens that lower aggression levels are included in their advantages.