5 Behaviours to Look Out For in a New Puppy

There is so much joy and happiness that comes with getting a new dog for yourself, family or friend. As Adorable and cute as pups are, they can be a handful! And every dog owner should know a thing or two about how these pups communicate their feelings and emotions.

You will need patience, teaching a puppy to get used to basic rules can seem like hard work but eventually would pay off. It is necessary to start training them at a young age, so they don’t turn out with certain behavioural problems in the future. 

Here is a list of some behaviours to look out for In your new puppy and possible tips to correct them:

  • Chewing

Puppies tend to chew on everything and anything they see around the house. This is totally normal; for them, it is a way to relieve pains caused by teething, combat boredom and anxiety. While it is perfectly normal behaviour, your new pup needs to know that it isn’t okay to chew on just anything. Gently guide your new pup to chew on more appropriate objects like their own toys and edible things such as bully sticks and carrots. It helps to put valuable objects away until you’re sure that your dog has learnt what is appropriate to chew on. 

  • Digging 

Many dog lovers have sacrificed their gardens to dig up dogs. There are different reasons why dogs dig and it can become more difficult if not managed. To prevent inappropriate digging behaviour, you will need to understand why your pup digs; this is also necessary to prevent new behavioural problems such as excessive vocalisation and chewing.

Some breeds, such as the malamute and huskies dig cooling holes to lie in; common during the hot summer days. Some other breeds dig to find prey or due to direct sounds and smell from beneath. Dogs could also dig due to boredom, to escape anxiety and confinement. These reasons are particularly true in puppies, especially of energetic breeds.  

On hot days, provide adequate water and a cooling shade for your furry friend. Ensure adequate social interaction and exercise if you find out your pup digs for fun or out of boredom.  For some dogs, it might be necessary to provide an area where the dog is allowed to dig, but never leave them unsupervised. 

  • Begging

It is somewhat difficult to ignore the adorable eyes of your pup., the cute little whine and the innocence. They beg because they love food, but begging in a dog, while natural, is not desirable behaviour. It is usually a ploy for attention from their favourite humans, but it is one to look out for. Encouraging this behaviour can also lead to digestive troubles. When you are able to reinforce from the beginning, most pups learn that the behaviour just won’t pay off.  So what do you do to stop your pup from begging? 

  1. Feed your pup first, preferably distant from the family dining area. This will keep them busy while you eat. 
  2. Structure your pup's play and fun time sometime before family meals. 
  3. Give a command (such as “go to bed”, “Stay down”) when you notice your pup’s gaze. And be sure to reward a positive response with a treat, not food. 
  4. Remember consistency is key, don’t give in. 
  5. Give them acceptable alternatives such as chew toys and bully sticks. 

  • Potty Training

One complaint of dog lovers has been peeing and soiling the home by new pups. It is therefore essential to look out for this behaviour in your new pup. Establishing a potty training protocol is a good way to prevent your new pup from peeing and pooping anywhere in the house. It Is recommended that you begin potty training between 12 and 16 weeks of age; when they must have developed a level of bladder control. But you can start to implement a good routine straight away.

To prevent your pup from exhibiting the wrong behaviour of peeing and pooping anywhere, here are some tips on potty training:

  1. Take your puppy outside frequently to do their business: immediately after a meal, during and after playtime and after they wake. Give a “potty” command and do well to reward them after they relieve themselves, by giving a treat and praising them. 
  2. In cases where you are not home for longer than your new puppy can hold, it is helpful to have a potty training patch or mat outside the pup’s crate.
  3. Remember, consistency and patience is key. Puppyhood won’t last forever. Give your furry friend attention and appreciation while you enjoy the period. 

  • Nipping

However undesirable nipping by your new pup might be, it is a natural behaviour and common complaint with puppies. Puppies naturally play by nipping and turn to you in the absence of a doggie playmate. Some breeds such as the retriever and terrier have a greater tendency to nip than others. 

Biting/nipping that is excessive should not be encouraged in puppies.  

Here are tips to discourage inappropriate nipping and biting:

  1. Avoid rough play with your puppy
  2. Provide adequate chew toys and alternatives for your new puppy to nip on. These toys will help redirect the urge to nip or bite on your hand and/or valuables. 
  3. Practice yelps that will teach your pup that the nip or bite was hard. Reward with treats appropriately. 
  4. Give commands such as “Sit” when your pup starts nipping or biting and reward the good behaviour. This tells your puppy that sitting and not nipping brings rewards, and in no time, you’ll have a less mouthy puppy. 


Every breed is different, carrying a specific personality and temperament, you would want to understand as much as you can about a dog breed before getting one. Although your final consideration of a puppy should be made to suit your personal needs and lifestyle, you would need to consult with breeders or shelter staff. This will inform your choice and educate you more on behaviours exhibited by various breeds and behaviours to look out for in your new puppy. 

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