Understanding your puppy’s behavior
You are an important social partner to your puppy, and whether they're trying to catch your attention or not, it's important you're able to understand their behavior, how they express themselves, and the meaning behind their actions.
Your puppy's body language
Your puppy can't communicate through speech, so look at their body language and try to recognize how you can meet their needs.
Encouraging good behavior
What behaviors do you want to encourage?
It’s important to reinforce good behavior from the day you bring your puppy home. There are certain actions which you will want to encourage more than others, such as being friendly toward strangers and not chewing furniture when left home alone.
How to enforce good behavior?
Once you’ve brought your puppy home, it’s up to you to enforce positive behavior and deter unwanted actions, such as scratching or biting. Positive reinforcement is a useful method when training your puppy to follow house rules. You can reward their good behavior and ignore what you don’t want them to repeat.
If you reward your puppy with treats for good behavior, they are more likely to replicate them as there is an association with a positive result. When your puppy is misbehaving, try not to give the action too much attention and always avoid punishing or scolding them, as this may lead to fear and encourage such behavior. Instead, teach your puppy alternative behaviors.
The evolution of a dog's behavior
Domestication has seen dogs change from wild animals to household pets, which has resulted in drastic behavioral changes. As dogs no longer need to source food or seek shelter, they need to be able to communicate their needs to their owners, which they learn to do from an early age.
Puppy behavior explained
Your puppy may be experiencing separation anxiety. To prevent this, introduce your dog to the idea of being alone. If your dog can stay home alone for at least 30 minutes, it’s usually easier for them to be left for longer periods.
Your puppy could be upset for a number of reasons, including hunger, loneliness, injury, boredom, or because they need to relieve themselves. Reading the context and their body language using our tips above could give you an insight into what they want.
It was previously thought dog’s eat grass to induce vomiting; however, a more likely explanation is that they simply like to eat it.
This could be a sign your puppy is trying to communicate something, such as affection. In new situations, they might lick the face of a stranger to try and figure out their intentions.
First, it's important to rule out medical issues, so contact your veterinarian if you’re concerned. Other reasons for shaking can include stress, fear, excitement, and cold temperatures. Try to remember what was happening before your puppy started shaking to figure out the cause.
This can be due to boredom or curiosity; however, it can sometimes be associated with specific diseases, and if you are concerned about your puppy’s behavior you should consult your veterinarian.
Boredom is one reason, so it’s essential to provide chew toys and plenty of exercise. Prevent chewing behavior by redirecting their attention to a toy, and never punish your puppy as this can sometimes increase the bad behavior.
If your puppy hasn’t had enough exercise, they could be trying to burn off excess energy through digging. Your puppy may also be inclined to bury their toys or chews, so keep an eye if they're taking these outside with them. They might also be trying to cool off by lying in freshly dug soil if they are too hot.
Excessive panting is possibly a sign they are too hot; however, it can also indicate stress if they are in an uncomfortable situation. Excessive panting can be a sign of disease, so always consult with a veterinarian if you are unsure.
Some suggest puppies roll in poo because it helps to disguise their scent, and this spans back to a time when dogs were not domesticated. Others say dogs do this simply because they like the smell!
Dog’s noses are cold because of the moisture which evaporates off it, so if there is no evaporation their nose will feel warm. Your puppy’s nose should never be dry or chapped though, and you should consult a veterinarian if you are concerned.
Puppies only have a short attention span when learning new skills, so it’s possible your current training sessions are too long if there is too much distraction. Try and keep sessions to a maximum of five minutes, choose a quiet and familiar training location, and make sure your puppy is not distracted.
This is more likely to be a more common problem for puppies under six months of age. Some people suggest they do this if they have a vitamin deficiency, internal parasites, or simply when they’re bored.
Your puppy's health
Learn all about your puppy’s health and well-being and how to spot early signs of illness.