It can sometimes come as a shock to find out that your adorable new puppy does some things you would rather they didn’t – like nip, jump up and chew things.
This isn’t them being naughty, bad or aggressive in any way. In fact, these are all totally natural behaviours for a puppy. For example, your puppy is chewing as part of their exploratory games; they have to chew in order to learn. It’s up to teach them what is available for chewing and what isn’t.
So far, your puppy has only had their littermates and their mum to play and interact with so you and your family need to take on the role of teachers and playmates. This helps with the bonding process between you and your puppy and it’s important that you use the opportunity to encourage good habits from the start.
Without this, your puppy will continue all the behaviours that they have grown up thinking are acceptable, and even desirable, into adulthood. They’ll just be bigger, stronger and have adult teeth which mean your dog could accidentally cause an injury or frighten someone with their boisterous behaviour.
So when your pup comes home with you, start to teach the behaviours you’d like to see straight away. Remember though, they are not being ‘naughty’; they are just behaving the natural way that they have learned in their early weeks of life.
To teach your puppy to behave appropriately needs gentle, positive reinforcement. This means that you encourage your puppy to do the things you want them to do and reward them when they do so, usually with a tasty, healthy puppy treat, so it becomes their new default behaviour. Always reward the behaviours you’d like your puppy to repeat and if your puppy displays behaviours you’d rather not see, use our dog training guides to teach them an alternative.
Never punish your puppy verbally or physically. You will just make them fearful of you, it will damage your relationship, and it will not have the effect you desire. Puppy biting
Puppies in a litter play together and this play will involve lots of rough and tumble and play-biting. This is how puppies learn to interact with each other and also how to limit their biting. If they bite too hard or the play gets too rough, the other puppies or their mother will stop playing with them, and so in this way, they are learning a valuable lesson about appropriate interactions with others.
Puppy teeth are sharp and their jaws are weak. This means that while bites hurt, they don’t cause injury and this helps them to learn bite-inhibition from their littermates and their mum. As a result, however the occasional painful nip might happen while you and your puppy are playing.
When your puppy comes home with you and is living in a human family, they need to be taught that games with humans don’t include teeth! You don't want puppy biting to be a continued behaviour into adulthood but you do want to teach them appropriate ways for you to play and have fun together:
Even with your best intentions, your puppy will occasionally nip you. First of all, don’t over-react. Yes, it may have hurt but if you tell your puppy off, get annoyed or shout at them, you will make them scared of you, lead them to mistrust your hands, and it will break down the relationship you have.
Instead, you have several options and the option(s) you choose will depend on your puppy’s character, breed/breed mix and a bit of trial and error:
As your pup explores the world, it is normal to find the little one chewing on various objects. However, this can make them susceptible to virus and bacteria causing intestinal upsets, infections, etc. Colostrum, found in mother's milk provides vital nutrients, and supports healthy immune system to help protect your pup from intestinal upsets. Colostrum in PURINA® PRO PLAN® PUPPY enhances the immune response and protects your puppy from various germs and infections. It comes in 3 variants - Small & Mini Puppy, Medium Puppy and Large Puppy. Choose the right food for your puppy today!
With some consistency and reward-based training, your puppy will soon learn that games with people need to be gentle and tooth-free.
Most puppies jump up as it is a natural canine greeting behaviour. Puppies want our attention and up until now they only know one way to get it so you can’t blame them for doing what comes naturally. Teaching your puppy not to jump up is simple. You just need to show them that you’ll respond and give them your attention when their paws are on the floor so there’s no need to jump.
Chewing is a natural puppy behaviour that helps develop their teeth and jaws. Owners shouldn’t try and stop their puppy chewing as all dogs need to do it but instead should make sure they give their puppy things to chew that are appropriate and safe.
If you are concerned that your puppy is chewing excessively, take them for a check-up with your vet. They can help if your puppy is teething and has a sore mouth or gums. If you are still worried, a qualified and experienced behaviourist will be able to help you understand the root of non-clinical chewing issues.
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