Puppies. These little furballs are full of love and energy, and they enhance our lives in so many ways. These young pups provide plenty of laughs and entertainment, but not everything they do is worthy of an “awww.” Some puppy behaviors are downright frustrating. Luckily, with a little bit of effort and attention, you can remove these behaviors from your puppy’s repertoire before they become big problems.
1. Puppy Behaviors: The Nips
Puppies explore the world with their mouths, and they play with their siblings by nipping on them. Some breeds have been bred to carry things in their mouths, others to nip at livestock to get them to move. This is a natural puppy behavior that might be transferred to you if there aren’t other pups to play with. Unfortunately, if you react physically to the bite, your puppy might think you are playing back. The best way to redirect this puppy behavior is to stop play and redirect with a toy or other interesting activity that doesn’t allow them to nip. When the dog responds positively and stops nipping, reward your pup with a treat to enforce the positive behavior.
2. Puppy Behaviors: Chewing
Another issue related to a puppy’s mouth is chewing. A little chewing is normal and helps your dog explore your house, minimize pain from teething, and even keep the teeth clean. It becomes a problem when the dog starts chewing on things like shoes, your carpet, or a wire. There are a few ways you can mitigate this puppy behavior. Try:
- Diverting your dog’s attention with toys specifically made for chewing
- Try interactive toys like puzzles or frozen kongs to keep your puppy busy
- If you see your puppy chewing on something he shouldn’t, exchange it with something he can chew on safely
- Keep all dangerous items like wires in a spot where your dog can’t get to them
- Keep your dog stimulated with plenty of physical activity
3. Puppy Behaviors: Piddling in the House
It’s never fun to step on a spot of puppy pee on the carpet. If your puppy is having trouble learning potty training techniques, you might experience some (or many) accidents in the house. The sooner you can work on this behavior, the better it will be for you and for the puppy. Pay attention to the times your puppy has to potty and try to make sure they are outside. Use positive reinforcement any time your puppy successfully goes outside. Crate training your puppy can also help you prevent accidents in the house.
4. Puppy Behaviors: Barking
Once pups find their voice, it can be hard to get them to stop using it. Try to offer a treat any time your dog stops barking. This shows a positive association with not barking. When your puppy continues to bark, turn your back and leave the room. Dogs are social creatures, and you physically retreating from their space will show them that you are not happy with the barking.
5. Puppy Behaviors: Whining at Night
The first few nights with a new puppy in the house can be difficult. Some puppies spend the whole night whining—even if they are in a crate. Before you can change this behavior, you must determine its motivation. Some common reasons for whining at night include:
- Need to potty
Adjusting your puppy’s bathroom and feeding schedule, putting a few comfortable toys inside the crate, and making sure your pup is tired out before bed can all help. If the whining persists, you might want to consult your veterinarian.
Don’t let these annoying puppy behaviors grow into bigger problems. At Union Lake Pet Services, we want to help you create the safest, most loving environments for your pets. Our positive reinforcement dog training services can help your puppy learn the right way to behave while having fun doing it. To learn more, please call (248) 363-6262.