Puppies are delightful little curious, wiggly creatures! Everything is new to them, and they are eager to explore the world. What makes puppies challenging is that much of that exploring takes place using their mouths. Puppies have a tendency to get themselves into trouble by nipping people and stealing and chewing objects found around the house and yard. As you get to know your pup, you will notice some behaviors that may seem unusual at first.

Common Puppy Behaviors

• Nipping or mouthing of people- Common targets are hands, arms, feet, pantlegs, and bottoms of dresses or skirts.
• Stealing and chewing items- Enticing objects include shoes, socks, remotes, eyeglasses, hats gloves, and paper items.
• Sniffing- Scent is their strongest sense, so it is a great way to explore. They will also do this before choosing a spot to go to the bathroom, so stay alert!

Barking or whining when separated from you– This is especially common at night for the first few nights, as they get used to being without their mother and litter mates in the crate.
• Frequent urination and defecation in the house- Puppies have very limited bladder and bowel control. Housebreaking is an important part of training that I can help you with.
• Being highly distracted, especially outside- This can be especially difficult for new owners in the fall when leaves and acorns abound.
• Resisting walking on the leash or pulling and lunging like crazy in every direction- Leash walking is not instinctive for a dog. It is important to work with a trainer to teach a dog this skill.

• Jumping- This is a common way that a dog will test people, and with puppies they tend to also do it when they are excited.
• Worse behavior when the kids are around- Puppies view little kids as peers, so to a puppy a young child is a very interesting distraction. Most dogs will not view children as “leadership material”, so it is critical to always have adult supervision to manage the puppy’s behavior.
• Sleeping a lot- It is not unusual for a puppy to sleep 20 hours a day in his early days.
• “Zoomies”- These bursts of frenetic activity often take place at the “witching hour”, which tends to be just before or after dinner in the evening. The better you are training your puppy and meeting his requirements for exercise and entertainment, the less of these you should see. This is not a time to try and correct your dog. He’s highly distracted and adrenalized. Step out of the way, let him run it out, and enjoy the show 😊

Some recent puppy scholars getting their education started on the right “paw.”

The best way to get rid of unwanted behaviors and to learn to guide your puppy to the correct, desirable behaviors is to work on training with a behavioral expert like me.

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