Puppies are notorious for getting into every little thing. While their rambunctious enthusiasm is cute, some of their puppy behaviors…not so much. The first year of your puppy’s life is a time of fast growth and learning, which is why effective training during that time is critical to raising a great dog.

Union Lake Pet Services is here to address some of the common puppy behavior problems. It is our hope that you can continue to train and socialize your little furry one using some go-to methods for good behavior.

4 Puppy Behavior Problems You Can Change

No puppy is perfect. After all, consider how a toddler reacts to the world around them. Puppies chew, have the occasional accident, and play-bite because that is a part of their physical and social development. These early puppy behaviors are necessary for them to figure out ways to establish order in the pack, learn to hunt and scavenge, and so on. In the wild, these skills are needed, but not so when it comes to your rug, shoe, or skin (ouch).


  1. Play-biting/Chewing
  2. Nipping is a problem for many puppies, especially those that were bred to hunt. This behavior is fine when puppies play-bite each other, but without other play pals, they may turn to your hand or feet. Chewing is another problem that manifests when your puppy is teething.

    To redirect this behavior, exclaim “ouch” each time the puppy attempts to bite. If they continue, get up and walk away from them. If your puppy is chewing up everything in sight, the best approach is to give them plenty of things to chew on, such as a dental chew, Kong toy, or a Nylabone. Any time they pick something up that is off-limits, swap it out with an appropriate toy.

  3. Jumping Up
  4. Soon enough, your puppy will learn that they can jump up on you to get your attention. This rowdiness is not always welcome by strangers, children, or seniors. For some, the excitement of your puppy when you come home is adorable, but when they make a habit of jumping up on pant legs and laps, it can be a problem.

    To discourage this, downplay every time you come into the home. When they jump up, move away rather than giving them affection. When they are calm, treat them to verbal praise and a favorite doggie biscuit. They will learn, over time, that excitement and jumping won’t yield the reward they want.

  5. Housetraining Troubles
  6. As anyone who has housetrained a puppy knows, it is WORK. There will be accidents for some time until they get the hang of where they should “go potty.” One of the biggest reasons why dogs get dumped off in shelters is due to lack of proper housetraining. The key to this, though, is the consistency of training and the use of a crate.

    Crate training from an early age gives your puppy a safe place to nap and remain during the times you can’t supervise them. They are also useful during the night. Remember that puppies have small bladders and need to relieve themselves much more often. Expect to take them out after they eat or drink, and every 30 minutes or hour, depending on their age. You can use puppy pads during training.

    Another effective tool is a plastic clicker, which makes a clicking noise when you press on it. Use this “click” in conjunction with a treat when your puppy goes to the potty in the correct place. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean accidents using an enzyme-based cleaner, which discourages repeat accidents.

  7. Digging
  8. Digging is a normal instinct in dogs since this serves as a way to find food. In the wild, canines dig up things like insects, roots, and other edible things, as well as hide their food to return to later. If your puppy is frantically digging at the carpet, furniture, or flower bed, this instinct can be a problem.

    Instead of scolding them, give them a corner of the yard that is okay for them to explore. Some pet owners get a sandbox and fill it with sand or dirt, along with fun toys your puppy will love to dig up.

    If you have trouble training your puppy, or have experienced these puppy behavior problems and need help, call us. Professional training can redirect possible behavior issues and give your pup the skills and confidence to grow into a wonderful adult dog.