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Is My Puppy Normal?

With a new puppy come questions:
“Is it normal for my puppy to ______________?
Just fill in the blank with anything from chewing, digging, whining, barking, and much more. To help answer that question, I'm going to list some “normal” puppy behaviors as well as behaviors that would be classified as “abnormal.”

Normal Puppy Behavior

  • Mouthing or chewing
  • Cautious but curious, removing objects from cabinets, trash, closets
  • Being active and energetic, “talking” or vocalizing during play
  • Avoiding direct eye contact except briefly
  • Easily distracted, short attention span
  • Wants to play with everything and anything
  • Pawing, batting at or pouncing on toys or people
  • Barking, whining and mild crying
  • Rolling over on back
  • Jumping up on people
  • Wants to be near you, following you, touching you while resting
  • Chewing on whatever is in sight, furniture, clothes, books & more
  • Sleep patterns: may be frequent, at odd times & may twitch during sleep
  • Rolling in smelly objects, such as rabbit droppings
  • Having to urinate every time he drinks, wakes up, plays or goes outside

Abnormal Puppy Behavior

  • Serious biting, snapping or attempting to bite people (and other pets)
  • Growling and/or serious aggression (not while playing)
  • Overly shy or fearful, may hide in corner, under furniture or in crate
  • Maintaining eye contact in an intimidating manner
  • Unable to concentrate or focus attention, even very briefly
  • Overly possessive of food, toys or bed
  • Attacking people or pets in a non-playful or threatening manner
  • Cowering and cringing
  • “Clingy-ness” – afraid to let owner out of sight

If your new puppy exhibits behaviors that concern you, call a professional trainer in your area for some advice. If you don't know a trainer, please feel free to call or email me anytime with your questions.

~ Originally posted at ~ January 2010 ~

Renee Jones-Lewis
Pet Marketing/Canine Specialist
800-533-3377 x 381

Renee Jones-Lewis, CPDT-KA is a professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers Terry Ryan, Pia Silvani and Gary Wilkes, to name a few.
She works in Pet Marketing and as a Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and She also owns a kennel and holds training classes.

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