Understanding Normal Puppy Behavior

facebook twitter Share on Google+

As cute as they are, puppies are a handful!  You need be patient and understanding with your puppy, and work on training him as soon as he comes home with you.  If left unattended, cute puppy behavior will evolve into adult dog behavior problems.  Here is a list of training tips to help calm a few of the more unwelcome,  but normal,  puppy behaviors.

black puppy nipping

Mouthing and Chewing

Mouthing and chewing are very normal puppy behaviors.  It may seem like the nipping is never going to end, and it can be difficult to break the habit.  But break it you must, in order to avoid bigger problems when the dog is grown. This behavior is similar to teething in human babies – puppies teethe as well.  You can help discourage biting by offering a chew toy with one hand and petting your puppy with the other.  If your puppy still attempts to nip your hand, immediately look at your pup, say “ouch!” loudly and abruptly and cease any petting or attention you were giving the puppy.  Ignore your puppy, leaving the room if you must, in order to stress to him that mouthing is an unacceptable behavior.  Once your puppy is calm, return and try the chew toy method again.


Another common puppy behavior that must be corrected is jumping.  Dogs will jump on and at their owners in order to get attention.  If you push your dog away, he is still receiving a type of attention. When your dog is jumping on you, fold your arms, and command “off.”  If your dog knows the “sit” command, then give it.  Keep your back turned and ignore him until he has all four paws on the floor, then calmly turn to him and praise him.  If he begins jumping once you face him, repeat the ignoring process.

Never tap, slap, or hit your dog for nipping or jumping.  These are ineffective for training purposes and will likely backfire in the following ways:

• Your dog will become “hand-shy” and develop a fear of hands.

• Your dog will become fearful of you and begin avoiding you.

• Your dog will respond defensively towards you and your family.

• Your dog will misinterpret the slap as an invitation for rough play, and get even more excited and likely to nip and jump.

Tugging Games

Tugging or wrestling games may be fun, but they encourage undesirable behavior such as grabbing, lunging, and competition with you.  Please review the “Fun Things to Do with Your Dog” portion of this manual for appropriate outlets for your dog’s energy.  The whole family should be using the same techniques.  Otherwise, it can be very confusing to your dog and can make the training process difficult.

 Housebreaking Issues

A new puppy will need the housebreaking training from scratch.  The best, most efficient and easiest way to housetrain your new puppy or dog is crate training.  Crate training will require time and patience on your part, but it will greatly benefit you and your relationship with your dog.  Read more about Crate Training and Housebreaking your puppy here.

For more useful information, please download our free Dog manual.

1 Response

  1. Cathy says:

    My best friend named FORCE died on April 6,2014. I actually bought him for my sons 12th birthday. He was barely 9 weeks old, his head was so big that when he ran across he ran lopsided. He loved skate board & it was such a good boy. Brown/tan/white. He had a white star on his head. I’m ready to start looking for a puppy but don’t have much money. My son will be home in April 2015 so timing is important for me. We just lost him to an illness the vets couldn’t figure out. He was 8 yrs old