Behavior Training for Puppies

puppies photo
Photo by Lisa L Wiedmeier

Your puppy loves to investigate his world. From nipping, chewing and digging, he wants to investigate it all. In order for puppies to become well-behaved household pets, they need to be trained in what acceptable behavior is and what isn’t. While it might be fun to watch your puppy acting cute, it?s not fun to listen to barking, pick up scraps of what was once your favorite pair of slippers, or repair the once-landscaped backyard that has been dug to pieces. Behavior training for your puppy is absolutely necessary, for your peace of mind and your little dog’s own protection.


Nipping and Biting

Your puppy naturally gets his teeth into everything; for him, it?s fun. For you and your family, not so much. He can, however, learn that people have delicate skin and not to bite.

When you watch a litter of puppies play, you?ll notice they love to pounce on and bite each other. This is normal behavior, and when a pup gets too rough, his playmate will yelp and stop playing. This confuses the biter, but he learns how to be gentler in his approach.

When your puppy bites, tell him ?no? in a loud and firm voice and stop playing. Start to play again until he stops using his teeth. Your puppy will learn that not biting will get him playtime, while biting will put an end to playing. Keep repeating that until he knows not to hurt.

If he starts to gnaw on your finger, give him a chew toy to bite.

There are many reasons why dogs become aggressive and bite. The dog may feel over excited or that he is threatened. A lot of dog aggression comes from the lack of confidence and positive training. It is very important that you socialize your puppy with different people, dogs, children, and environments. Socialization boosts his confidence and reduces his fear in new environments. Remember to give lots of praise and treats to reward good behavior. Go see a vet if your puppy shows signs of aggression constantly.



Puppies tend to view their yard as their personal playground to be dug up and explored. They also enjoy ?hiding? favorite toys. That is natural behavior, but you can teach him to restrain himself.

When you see him digging, clap loudly or use a whistle. This will distract him and let him concentrate on you.

Don?t allow the puppy to play in the yard alone until he learns to control this behavior. When he starts to dig, immediately use distraction to get his attention. An excellent distraction is to toss treats around the area. He?ll go after them and forget, at least momentarily, about digging up dirt.

Since digging comes naturally to your puppy, it helps if you are able to provide a specific area where digging is allowed. To confine him to the designated area, hide a few treats or toys in the digging area. Call him and let him explore for buried treasures. If he moves to areas of the yard that are off-limits, bring him back. Make sure the rewards he loves so dearly can only be found in the marked and specified area. Praise him when he digs there.

You could also discourage him from digging at unwanted places by putting small amounts of diluted pepper in the area. The best way to stop digging is to spend more play time with him and give him more activities and exercise to drain his energy.