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Understanding Normal Puppy Behavior

If you’re a new puppy parent, you know puppies are adorable but also a handful! You need to be patient and understanding with your puppy, so work on training him as soon as he comes home with you. If left unattended, cute puppy behavior will evolve into adult dog behavior problems. Here is a list of training tips to help calm a few of the more unwelcome but normal puppy behaviors.

Mouthing and Chewing

Mouthing and chewing are very normal puppy behaviors. It may seem like the nipping is never going to end and it can be difficult to break the habit. But break it you must, in order to avoid bigger problems when the dog is grown. This behavior is similar to teething in human babies – puppies go through teething as well. You can help discourage biting by offering a chew toy with one hand and petting your puppy with the other. If your puppy still attempts to nip your hand, immediately look at your pup, say, “Ouch!” loudly and abruptly, and cease any petting or attention you were giving the puppy. Ignore your puppy, leaving the room if you must, in order to stress to him that mouthing is unacceptable behavior. Once your puppy is calm, return and try the chew toy method again.


Another common puppy behavior that must be corrected is jumping. Dogs will jump on and at their owners in order to get attention. Even if you push your dog away, he still registers a type of attention. When your dog is jumping on you, fold your arms, and use the command “off.” If your dog knows the “sit” command, give it. Keep your back turned and ignore him until he has all four paws on the floor, then calmly turn to him and praise him. If he begins jumping once you face him, repeat the ignoring process. This is where Obedience and structure comes into play, a jumping dog can be controlled without harsh methods if he is well-tuned into his down or sit commands

Never tap, slap, or hit your dog for nipping or jumping. These are ineffective for training purposes and will likely backfire in the following ways:

  • Your dog will become “hand-shy” and develop a fear of hands.

  • Your dog will become fearful of you and begin avoiding you.

  • Your dog will respond defensively towards you and your family.

  • Your dog will misinterpret the slap as an invitation for rough play, and get even more excited and likely to nip and bite

Tugging Games and Flirt Pole

Tugging or wrestling games may be fun, but they encourage behavior such as grabbing, lunging, and competing with you. The whole family should be using the same techniques. Otherwise, it can be very confusing to your dog and can make the training process difficult. At the same time if it's done correctly is a moment to engage in partnership and interaction.

One game we really love is the flirt pole. A flirt pole, also called a "flirt stick", is a piece of exercise equipment for dogs that entices a dog to chase a fast-moving lure. This equipment is often used to physically condition a dog and improve his or her skills for better performance in certain competitions such as lure-coursing or Schutzhund, but it's also a great tool to interact with your dog and get him engaged and at the same time helps for lowering energies and anxiety.

this link takes you to a video on the use of a Flirt Pole

Housebreaking Issues

A new puppy will need the housebreaking training from scratch. The easiest and most efficient way to housetrain your new puppy is crate training. Crate training will require time and patience on your part, but it will greatly benefit you and your relationship with your dog. Learning how to housebreak a puppy does not have to be difficult or stressful but it does takes some time and patience. Training your new dog not to urninate and poop inside the house or his crate are important task for all new owners. Your new family pet will need to potty break first thing in the morning, right after eating meals, the moment it wakes up from a nap and sometimes after playing. If you follow the daily timeline schedule below, your growing puppy will be potty trained within 1-2 weeks. Don’t forget to reward your friend with a praise or treat every time he or she gets it right.

Video on Potty Training your dog

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