This week’s guest post comes from Kristine Bennett of The Pet Care Pros. On episode 16 of the podcast, we spoke about the increase in families taking in pandemic puppies and learning about their behaviors for the first time. In this comprehensive post from her blog, Kristine talks about which puppy behaviors are common so we can best prepare for life with our furry new family members. You can learn much more about caring for your puppy or full-grown dog on her blog.
Raising a new puppy is definitely a lot of work and a huge commitment. We want to help you understand your pet a bit better, so you can spend more time enjoying your new fur baby.
If you are one of the many people who obtained pets over the last 16 months, we are here to help point out some normal behaviors to help you better understand your puppy.
Frequent Barking Is Normal Puppy Behavior
We all know that barking is entirely normal. It is how dogs communicate with each other and their owners. You may notice that your puppy will bark pretty often as they are getting used to their new home, surroundings and noises.
Most of the time, your pup wants your attention. Your dog may also be bored or hungry. Either way, your puppy is trying to tell you something, so be sure to try and decode the message. If your dog barks excessively, that is certainly not normal.
At that point, you may want to consult a professional dog trainer to help you understand what is going on and nip it in the bud.
Nipping or Biting
When puppies begin to teethe, they will try to nip and bite at anything and everything. Some people believe that puppies do this out of aggression, but that is not the case. Your dog is not trying to hurt you or anyone he tries to mouth on.
Nipping is a natural instinct for dogs and another way they explore their world. As an owner, you should try to discourage this behavior immediately to avoid future problems.
Chewing is another VERY common puppy behavior that you will see often. When puppies are teething, it is natural for them to want to chew on objects on toys. Puppies will also chew if they are bored and need to expel excess energy.
Chewing has health benefits for your dog, including decreasing the pain associated with teething and strengthening the jaw! If you have a breed that is more prone to excessive chewing, be sure to load up on chew toys to keep them busy, so they don’t end up with your favorite pair of shoes in their mouth!
Related Blog Post: Four Ways to Have a Better Bond with Your Dog
Your pup will want to try and jump and pounce on you every chance they get. Jumping is a way for your pup to try and get your attention.
Jumping should be addressed right away. Jumping might not be a big deal when your puppy is small, but if you have a dog breed that will grow up to be large or giant, you will not want them jumping on you!
If your dog starts to jump, fold your arms, and tell them “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 can 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.
Sniffing The Ground/Floor And Circling
When you have a new puppy, please keep an eye on this behavior! When going through potty training, this dog behavior will be present until your dog understands where they should be going to the bathroom.
If you notice your pup doing this, you need to take them outside right away. They are signalling that they are looking for a place to eliminate their waste, and your floors would be the perfect place to do that.
When you get them outside to pee, don’t skip out on the praise and positive reinforcement. Your dog will eventually learn that bathroom breaks only occur outside.
Related Blog Post: How to Choose and Use Treats in Training Your Dog
If you notice that your puppy cries and whines when you leave him at home alone, or he follows you when you move into another room, this might be a sign of separation anxiety.
Most of the time, your pup feels sad and unsettled when you’re not around. They may cry, whine and bark to try and get you to come back. Practice leaving your dog alone for short periods. Slowly increase the time they spend alone.
Eventually, they will learn that you always come back. When they get older, they will be much more self-confident and less clingy!
Related Blog Post: Three Tips for a Better Experience at the Dog Park
The “zoomies” are known as very brief periods of hyperactive behavior. If you have seen a puppy run around all over the house, then you know how hilarious this can be! Your dog may run up and down the hallway or in circles repeatedly.
While this might be shocking to see if you haven’t experienced it before, know it is completely normal! Puppies are taking in a lot of information every day of their lives. The more they take in, the more wound up they get and eventually, they need to release the built-up excitement.
You can stop this by trying to redirect your dogs’ attention to something more calm and quiet. Grab some treats, and work on some training exercises, or give them a stuffed kong to enjoy.
You can also put your dog in their crate along with chew toys to provide them with some quiet time, so they’re not causing a stir in the house.
Raising a puppy is an absolute joy and an adventure that will surely come with its own ups and downs.
Always remember that you do not have to do this alone. If you need some guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to Kristine with your questions!