Your new puppy chewed up your favorite shoes, chomped on your mother-in-law’s ankles, and peed on the bathroom rug… and that’s just today! They bark and whine when you leave, jump all over you when you get home, and don’t come when you call them, either. But they are going to grow out of all that, right?
Yes and no. Dogs don’t just grow out of bad behaviors if they’re not taught anything different. They will only grow out of these bad behaviors if you teach them what they are supposed to do instead. Simply waiting for them to outgrow chewing on your stuff is going to be a big mistake.
What many people think of as bad behaviors are perfectly normal for a puppy. With patience, training, and a lot of positive reinforcement, they absolutely can outgrow them.
Here are 4 common puppy behaviors that your dog should grow out of. We will explain what you can do to correct them so that they don’t repeat them when they get older.
1. Playful Biting
If you’ve ever watched a litter of puppies play, you’ll notice that they wrestle and bite their littermates rather aggressively. It’s a perfectly normal and instinctive play that doesn’t just go away when they’re weaned and go to their forever home.
In fact, if you wrestle with your new puppy and allow them to bite you, even playfully, you are reinforcing the bad behavior. Over time, it will get worse, not better. So, what can you do to help them outgrow playful biting?
The best way to redirect playful biting is to provide an outlet for the behavior. Redirect their attention to a game of fetch or tug of war. You can also arrange a playdate with another puppy so they have someone to play rough with.
2. Destructive Chewing
When a puppy discovers something new, their instinct is to explore it, first with their nose and then with their mouth. They also have a strong urge to chew during the teething phase in an effort to relieve the pain of their new coming in. So, if you don’t puppy-proof your home and supervise their play, you’re inadvertently allowing a normal puppy behavior to become destructive.
If you want them to grow out of this behavior, keep things they are not allowed to chew on out of their reach. Provide them with interactive games and chew toys that they can use to satisfy their urge to chew, instead. If they do manage to get a hold of something they shouldn’t have, take it away calmly and redirect their attention to a toy.
3. Jumping on People
For puppies, jumping on their littermates is perfectly normal, so it’s no surprise that puppies jump on people when they get excited, too. And, while it’s super cute to have your little furball jump all over you when you get home from work, it’s not so cute when they get big enough to knock Grandma down at Thanksgiving dinner.
Once again, if you are rewarding this normal puppy behavior with snuggles and attention, you are reinforcing it and it will become a bad behavior they don’t grow out of as an adult.
It’s up to you to teach your puppy how to interact with people. To correct this behavior, start by ignoring it. Redirect the behavior with a toy and don’t offer any attention until they calm down.
Over time, teach them to sit and stay when they approach you. Don’t engage with them when they jump. Ask them to sit and only offer praise and attention when their butt and front feet are both on the ground.
Repeating this process over and over again to teach your puppy that they get attention by sitting politely, rather than jumping.
4. Accidents in the House
Puppies have tiny bowels and bladders, so they can’t hold it as long as adult dogs. If your puppy needs to go and you don’t take them out, they don’t have any choice but to go in the house.
The only way your puppy is going to learn that they are supposed to go to the bathroom outside is if you teach them. That means taking them outside at least every two hours, immediately after each meal, and as soon as they wake up from a nap.
In between potty breaks watch your puppy closely for signs that they need to go out, such as sniffing the floor, pacing, or squatting. Take them out immediately if you notice any of these signs.
Don’t forget to reward them with lots of praise and a treat when they go to the bathroom outside. Never punish them for accidents in the house. If you catch them in the act, calmly take them out to their potty area and reward them for finishing their business out there.
How the Dogo App Can Help Your Puppy Grow Out of Unwanted Behaviors
As a responsible pet parent, you’re likely already feeding your new puppy the best vet recommended food for puppies, taking them for regular checkups, and giving them lots of love. All of those things are incredibly important but don’t overlook the necessity of teaching your puppy how to be a good citizen, too.
The Dogo app’s New Dog Program is designed to strengthen your bond with your new puppy and help you with potty training, crate training, and socialization. It also covers many common puppy behaviors that you want them to grow out of, such as playful biting, guarding behavior, and more.
The four-week program will also help you teach your puppy some basic obedience skills, like sit, stay, and come. If you take a proactive approach to raise your puppy, it will go a long way toward ensuring that they grow out of their normal puppy behaviors and they don’t become bad behaviors when they are adults.