Updated: Jan 12, 2022
Puppies, just like human babies, are inclined to cry out for help in a variety of usually annoying and sometimes disturbing ways. They are designed to push those around them into action.
During this "baby" stage of development, their brains also absorb information at an alarming rate! They are learning as they go. Every experience is new to them, so they must develop responses and skills and catalog every detail of the experience away for future survival. This is why it is vital to ensure that their experiences are positive and involve minimal stress levels. Stress at high levels or for prolonged periods changes the make-up of the puppy brain.
This doesn't mean that they are compromised to the extent that someone can't live with them and work with them on becoming a mannered companion. However, they will have to adjust their methods of working with that puppy who endured stress at a young age compared to a cognitive-typical puppy.
So you want to teach your puppy not to bite you, not to bark, and not to jump. Those are the biggest complaints we get from puppy parents. The trouble is that these behaviors are natural for puppies.
First, we ask, why does your puppy do these often unwanted behaviors? As annoying as the behavior is, it is effective for the puppy! Try asking yourself, why do babies cry?
There is a fundamental need the animal is most likely expressing a lack of, and they resort to unwanted behaviors to get that need met.
Puppy needs that must be addressed:
Social acceptance and guidance
Play & creativity (preferably with peers)
exploration (positive experiences)
Food (the younger the puppy, the more frequently they need to eat)
Sleep! (this one is often overlooked)
Chewing & independence
Some of those could be broken into different categories, and there are indeed smaller subcategories of needs that I didn't mention.
Is your puppy getting the appropriate amount of each need? The puppy determines the amount and intensity of how each need is met.
I bring up these needs because it is usually a lack of or miss interpretation of a Puppy Need that gets our puppies (and kittens) into trouble.
They are using the resources they have available to get the things they need.
Biting you leads to your attention, and frustration raises your energy. However, most pet parents who put the puppy's needs first and ensure that they receive all the things I mention often find that their puppy grows up and out of those "troublesome" puppy behaviors.
Meeting your dog's needs is the definition of enrichment. When we meet our puppy's needs appropriately, they don't have to ask for as much. When they are not nagging us, they are better behaved, generally speaking.
So, in conclusion, it is the needy puppy that most commonly ends up being the naughty puppy.
If you are struggling to solve the reason behind your puppy's biting, barking, jumping, or other annoying behaviors, I recommend signing up for our Puppy classes.
Consider private consultations if you have an older dog whose behavior is more concerning.