Having a puppy as a new addition to your family is one of the most rewarding experiences. However, living with one means also dealing with certain behaviours that can sometimes be unacceptable and stressful. The good thing is, behavioural problems are very common in puppies because they are still getting used to their new home and environment. With proper training and socialisation, these issues can be managed. Here are three behaviours that are common and natural among puppies:
Puppies explore, communicate, initiate play, and attract attention by nipping, biting, or mouthing people or objects. While it is a normal behaviour for them and part of their developmental stage, the habit can last for several months when tolerated or ignored. This is why new canine owners need to discipline their puppies as early as possible before something that isn’t serious at the moment becomes problematic later on.
If you want your puppy to stop nipping, here are some techniques that have worked for other pet parents:
- Be verbal – Let your puppy know that it’s nipping or biting hurts by saying “no” or “ouch” loud enough for it to stop or be surprised. If you are dealing with a mouthy breed, like a Border Collie or Labrador Retriever, show authority and confidence.
- Pay no attention to your puppy – Some canines nip or bite to get their owner’s attention. If you do not want to encourage this behaviour, walk away immediately and stop interacting with your pet. Over time, your puppy will realise that you do not approve of its actions.
Just like human babies, puppies go through the stage of putting things in their mouths. Chewing on objects during their first few months is their way of strengthening their jaws, minimising tartar buildup, and relieving pain caused by teething. While this behaviour is normal for them, it can be frustrating for pet owners. Luckily, there are a few ways for you to stop your puppy from chewing everything you own:
- Get your puppy a chew toy – The purpose of a chew toy is to help relieve discomfort caused by teething. This is why it is important to choose one that is made from good-quality materials. Avoid giving your puppy a chew toy that is too firm, flexible, or sharp.
- Keep your items out of reach – Puppies are easily drawn to objects that smell like their humans, which is why it is recommended to hide items you do not want to be destroyed. These include your shoes, socks, clothes, and hats.
Barking is a normal dog behaviour that is caused by plenty of reasons. Puppies bark to get your attention, let you know they are hungry, express their boredom, or alert you of strangers. Unfortunately, since you do not speak their language, incessant barking can sometimes cause you to become frustrated. If you want to discipline your canine, here are some ways to do so:
- Ignore your puppy – For many dog owners, turning their back on their pet when it is trying to get their attention is difficult and heartbreaking. However, the result can be rewarding once your puppy has finally learned to quiet down. The key to encouraging your dog is by giving it a treat every few seconds of being silent.
- Desensitise your puppy to loud noises – Some dogs, like Beagles and Cavoodle puppies, tend to get easily stressed by loud sounds. To teach your canine to stay calm in noisy situations, record all the sounds that trigger a negative reaction from it. When you find your puppy in a calm state, play the recording at the lowest possible volume, then build up the volume once your pet starts to react less to the sounds.
Puppies tend to get into mischief, chase everything that moves, or run away when they are outdoors, which is why teaching them to wear a leash is essential. The only problem is, leash pulling comes naturally to them. When they are not trained properly, their pulling becomes a habit that is difficult to break. The good thing is, there are some ways to stop your puppy from pulling on its leash.
- Stop and do not move – Sometimes, your puppy will pull you in another direction. When it does this, stay still until it comes back to you. Refrain from yanking its leash or dragging your puppy along with you.
- Reward it with treats – Keep your puppy motivated by giving it treats or toys for every good behaviour. This will not only make the learning process easier but also encourage your puppy to repeat its actions on its own accord.
Puppies are adorable, but they can display a lot of behaviours that can be overwhelming and confusing for many humans. If you are looking to bring home a puppy, it is recommended to adopt from registered breeders. That way, you can be educated about its temperament, history, and overall needs.