There is no doubt that your new puppy will be full of life, spunk and energy! Puppies are naturally very energetic, and they exhibit some strange behaviours that you might not expect, especially if you are a new pet parent.
Most of these behaviours are completely normal as your puppy is growing and learning more about himself and the world around them. This blog will be an informative guide on the different types of behaviour that are commonly displayed in puppies.
So, is your puppy crazy? Chances are, they aren’t! Here are six normal puppy behaviours to look out for.
Mouthing and chewing are very normal puppy behaviours. This is not something you want them to consistently do though. It is a bad habit that must be broken to avoid more significant problems when the dog is grown. Much like infants, puppies go through teething as well. You can help discourage this by offering your pup chew toys with one hand and petting them with the other. If your puppy still tries to nip at your hand, look at your pup and say “Ouch!” loudly as if they hurt you. Ignore your puppy, and leave the room if you must. Doing this will emphasize that mouthing is unacceptable behaviour. Once your puppy is calm, go back to him and try the chew toy method again.
Tugging or wrestling games can be fun, but they can encourage undesirable behaviour such as grabbing, lunging, and competing with you. Ensure that you set limits when your dog exhibits these behaviours so your fur baby stays on track. Everyone in the family should be on the same page with how you choose to play with your pup. It can be confusing to your dog to exhibit one behaviour with mom and then another with dad.
Your dog may also show some signs of aggression that you may need to nip in the bid as soon as you see it. For example, if they are showing teeth, they aren’t happy! Use their body language to read them and decide whether or not they are playful or aggressive.
Another common puppy behaviour that must be corrected is jumping. Dogs will jump on their owners and other people to get attention. If you push your dog away, he may still register this as attention from you!
When your dog is jumping on you, fold your arms, and use the command “off.” Turn your back and ignore him until he sits down and is calm. If your dog knows the “sit” command, tell that to him right away. Once your pup settles down, you may turn to him and praise him for a job well done. If he begins jumping again, repeat the ignoring process until he stops.
Do not tap, slap, or hit your dog for nipping or jumping. Your dog may think of this as a sign of aggression. These methods do not work and will likely result in your dog being afraid of hands or becoming fearful of you.
4) Elimination in the home
With a new puppy, you will need to start housebreaking training from scratch. A well-known and successful way to do this is by crate training your dog. Crate training will require time and patience, but it will significantly benefit you and your relationship with your dog. This will teach him to hold their bodily fluids until it’s time to go outside. It will also give your dog a space to call its own. So don’t forget to load up the crate with lots of treats and toys.
5) Tail Chasing
We have all seen this at least once! Watching a dog chase their tail can be hilarious, but it isn’t a behaviour you want to encourage or reinforce. Part of a puppies’ playfulness may involve chasing their tails. They often think it’s a toy and not a part of their body.
Another reason why puppies chase their tails is due to a lack of exercise. Further, if you don’t give them enough attention and praise them when they chase their tails, they will soon learn that this is a way to get a reaction out of you.
If you think your puppy chases her tail a little too often, increase daily exercise. Use games like fetch, take walks in your neighbourhood or keep them challenged with food puzzles or training.
Sometimes, tail chasing can also indicate a medical or behavioural problem. If your dog starts chasing her tail all of a sudden, excessively chews at the tail, or if dragging her bum across the floor, then your dog could have an itchy bum due to intestinal parasites or irritating skin allergies. Anxious or obsessive-compulsive dogs can also develop behaviours that involve excessive tail-chasing.
If you are concerned about this, do not hesitate to see your vet so they can help you come up with a solution.
6) Poop Eating
One of the grossest puppy behaviours reported by pet parents is eating poop. The technical term for this behaviour is coprophagia. Coprophagia is a fairly common behaviour among curious puppies that explore the world with their mouths. This includes exploring the wonders of their poop and poop from other animals.
In most cases, coprophagia is normal, exploratory behaviour that fades as puppies mature. This should stop around 8 to 9 months of age. If it doesn’t go away by then, or if your dog is an avid poop eater, talk with your veterinarian right away. It is crucial to find ways to discourage this behaviour. Puppies might consume poop if they are malnourished, bored, stressed, isolated, confined too much or to get your attention.
If you need help with your puppy’s potty breaks during the day, check out our services to see how we can help!
Morag is the owner and founder of York Regions most trusted premier in-home pet care and dog walking companies. In 2000 she saw a need for an alternative to kennels, catteries for family pets in the area and has always believed that pets are much happier and less stressed staying in their own familiar environment. Morag and her team are all certified in Pet 1st Aid and CPR, she also offers continuous training to her team members through online and hands on pet care and pet behaviour and care courses. Morag has earned her certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, Professional Dog Walking and Canine Attendant training. She has lived in the Newmarket/Aurora area since 1991 is a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a grandmother of 2 delightful little balls of energy. She has also been owned by fish, birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs and is an advocate for all living creatures. In her spare time she likes to be involved in her community and events travelling, reading and cooking.