Puppies get aggressive at night due to exhaustion, boredom, poor training, or a lack of physical and social stimulation. A balanced routine and allowing for energetic sprints can help prevent aggressive outbursts.
Puppies have natural spells of hyperactivity, but what does it mean when it includes biting?
In this article, we look at what causes puppies to get aggressive at night and what you can do to prevent it.
What Does It Mean If My Puppy Gets Aggressive at Night?
Puppy aggression at night can mean it is not getting enough physical, mental, or social stimulation. It may also be caused by exhaustion, anxiety, or an interruption of natural energetic sprints.
It’s common for puppies to have sudden bursts of energy. It’s called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP) or the “zoomies”. It’s a young dog’s natural way to release pent-up energy.
It can look like a dog running around a home or garden at top speed. Puppies that don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation tend to have longer zooming episodes than other pups.
When someone tries to stop a puppy from zooming, the puppy can become aggressive.
A lack of exercise and social interaction can also cause a puppy to try to initiate attention-seeking biting or rough play.
A teething puppy that doesn’t have teething toys can use a person’s arm or leg as a teething aid. It’s not aggression, but it can become a habit.
Fear is another cause of puppy aggression. An anxious puppy is more likely to overreact than a secure pup.
5 Reasons Why A Puppy Gets Aggressive at Night
A puppy can become aggressive when someone tries to stop its zoomies session. It can also occur when overtired or lacking physical, social, or mental stimulation.
- Interrupted zoomies
- Teething or Play-Biting
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of social interaction and mental stimulation
1. Interrupted Zoomies
Zoomies or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP) are episodes of high-energy activity. During a zooming session, a puppy can start running at full speed as though chased and then stop, turn, and run in another direction.
Puppies can become aggressive if anyone tries to stop their energetic outbursts.
What Causes The Zoomies or FRAP in Puppies?
Bursts of high-intensity activity are natural and healthy in young dogs. The episodes are short-lived and, as a pup matures, they become less frequent.
Lack of exercise can increase the frequency and duration of zoomies. Dogs confined to crates for most of the day are more likely to have episodes than dogs with free run of garden or home.
An overtired puppy can easily become overexcited or irritable. This dysregulated emotional state can trigger play biting.
Make sure your puppy gets enough rest at night and during the day. Puppies need between 18 and 20 hours of sleep a day. This means a puppy can nap 30 minutes to two hours after every hour or two of being awake.
3. Teething or Play-Biting
Play-biting or mouthing can start when a puppy is between three and five months of age.
Puppies also bite as a form of play. It’s what they do with their siblings. You need to train your puppy not to bite people by redirecting it to chew toys.
4. Lack of Exercise
Puppies need to move, play and rest throughout the day. A lack of movement can lead to pent-up energy and frustration.
Take your puppy for a daily walk and take them outside to play, but be careful not to overwork your young pup. Remember, puppies need regular rest breaks and naps. 
5. Lack of Social Interaction and Mental Stimulation
If your puppy is alone for long periods and lacks mental stimulation, it can be prone to long periods of zoomies. They can also play bite to try to get your attention.
Is It Normal for A Puppy To Get Aggressive at Night?
Play-biting is common, but it is not normal for puppies to get aggressive at night. It can mean a puppy is overtired or frustrated after not getting enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction during the day.
If your puppy gets aggressive at night, consider your pup’s daily schedule to ensure that your pup gets enough time to exercise, play, socialize and rest.
Creating a balanced routine can help ensure that your pup is not overtired or has too much pent-up energy at the end of the day.
How to Prevent Your Puppy From Getting Aggressive at Night
To prevent your puppy from becoming aggressive at night, do not try to stop their zoomie sessions. You can also take your puppy for daily walks, play games, give it teething toys and room to move during the day, ensure it gets enough sleep, and attend puppy training classes.
Here are eight tactics to help prevent aggression in a puppy:
- Do not try to stop the zoomies.
- Take your puppy for a daily walk.
- Give your puppy room to move.
- Play games with your puppy.
- Give your puppy teething toys.
- Ensure your puppy gets adequate sleep.
- Take your pup to puppy training classes.
- Avoid using punitive training techniques.
1. Do Not Try to Stop the Zoomies
In young dogs, it is natural for episodes of the zoomies to occur twice a day. Don’t try and stop it.
Stopping your pup from zooming can cause aggression as the pup directs its pent-up energy at you.
Instead, give your puppy a safe space to release this pent-up energy, like an enclosed garden.
You can also reduce your pup’s need to zoom by ensuring your pup gets adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization and by avoiding locking it in a crate for long periods.
2. Take Your Puppy for a Daily Walk
Taking your puppy for a daily walk helps them burn off energy, preventing pent-up energy that can contribute to aggression.
A daily walk also helps help fulfill mental stimulation and socialization needs as it helps your puppy explore the world and meet other people and dogs.
3. Give Your Puppy Room to Move
Keeping a puppy locked in a crate for most of the day increases the need for your puppy to zoom around your home the moment they get out. It can also increase an aggression tendency.
Crates deprive puppies of opportunities to move, play and explore their world. It also gives them no option but to urinate and defecate in their beds.
According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), when animals are in cages or crates for long periods, they can develop aggression, hyperactivity, depression, separation anxiety, and an inability to bond with humans. 
Consider alternatives to a crate, like an enclosed garden or a playpen. You can also hire a dog walker or ask a neighbor to take your puppy for a short walk while you’re out.
4. Play Games With Your Puppy
Playing with your puppy helps it release energy, provides mental stimulation, and helps you bond.
For a puppy that has only played rough with its siblings, playing with you teaches it new ways to play that are acceptable to you and members of your household.
If you have a fearful puppy that bites, avoid playing tug-of-war and rough-play games. These games can encourage biting behavior. Rather play games like fetch. 
5. Give Your Puppy Teething Toys
Teething toys give a puppy something appropriate to bite. If your puppy starts biting you, redirect them to a teething toy.
6. Ensure Your Puppy Gets Adequate Sleep
Puppies are growing and need more sleep than adult dogs. If your puppy isn’t getting a nap every hour or two, it can become overtired.
An overtired pup is not unlike an overtired human – prone to irritability. It can make a puppy react aggressively.
You can encourage your puppy to nap by providing a quiet, cozy place to rest. If you put your puppy outside, provide a kennel and bedding as a comfortable retreat when it needs a nap.
7. Take Your Pup to Puppy Training Classes
Socializing your puppy with other dogs and people can reduce anxiety and aggression in puppies.
A study found that puppies that went to a mere two puppy classes before 12 weeks of age have 1.4 to 1.6 times less risk of aggression toward unfamiliar people.
A study published in 2015 found fewer socialization experiences during puppyhood resulted in dogs that grew to be more fearful. Dogs can react defensively when afraid, which is why nervous dogs can easily become aggressive.
8. Avoid Using Punitive Training Techniques
Puppy classes will also help you learn to use positive reward-based training rather than punitive training techniques.
Research has found that punishment-based training, like hitting, shouting, and using electric shock collars, increases the risk of aggression shown to known family members by 2.9 times.
When Should You See a Vet
It is advisable to have your puppy seen by a vet or an animal behaviorist if it shows signs of manic or obsessive-compulsive behavior and increased aggression at night. Manic behavior includes long and frequent episodes of irritability or hyperactivity. It can also include uncontrolled behaviors like excessive jumping, mouthing, or biting.
Manic behaviors can be symptoms of anxiety or hyperkinesis (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in dogs).
Signs of manic behavior in dogs include long and frequent episodes of the following
- Euphoria or irritability.
- Excessive jumping or play biting.
A vet can diagnose what is causing a puppy’s manic behavior. An animal behaviorist can assist with behavioral training to manage the condition.
Puppies can get aggressive at night if they are overtired, anxious, or frustrated due to a lack of physical, mental, and social stimulation.
The best thing you can do is create a calming routine for your puppy that includes daily walks, naps, play, and meals.
Attending puppy training classes can also help reduce your puppy’s anxiety, prevent aggression and help them learn to socialize appropriately.
A good puppy training class will also teach you how to use positive reward-based training to boost your puppy’s confidence while discouraging anxiety and aggression.