Behavior and Training, Pet Care Basics, Puppy and Kitten Care, What to Expect With a New Puppy

What to Expect With a New Puppy: Normal Puppy Behavior FAQs

From puppy hiccups to biting and chewing on EVERYTHING. What is normal puppy behavior and what isn’t? When you get a new puppy, one of the first things you should do is schedule a new puppy vet visit. At your puppies first vet visit, your vet will likely ask many questions and you will likely have many questions. As Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services and as a practicing veterinarian, I’ve included my recommendations, to give you something to think about before your first vet visit or after in cases where you weren’t able to discuss a certain topic with your vet.

Since there are lots of topics to cover with a new puppy, we’ve broken up into several smaller articles. This particular article will address normal puppy behavior, biting, chewing and of course what we call “the Zoomies”.

What is Normal Puppy Behavior

Hiccups, dream sleeping, biting, chewing, the Zoomies in the evening. We get a lot of questions about what is “normal” for a puppy.

When young, puppies get the hiccups frequently. They also dream sleep often – making little running movements with their feet and sometimes little yipping noises. Biting and chewing is an unfortunate yet important developmental phase all puppies go through.

Additionally, most puppies get the “zoomies” in the evening, sometime between dinner and bedtime. It is like when children are overstimulated. Have fun with it – soon she will outgrow it and you will miss the entertainment.

How to Keep a Puppy From Biting

It is NEVER acceptable to allow dogs teeth to touch human skin. Dog to dog biting is not fun or fair, but is more common and acceptable. If you are seeing signs of aggressive behavior of dogs toward humans, even before an actual bite occurs, seek the assistance of a veterinary behaviorist or dog trainer with training in managing aggression.

One bite to a human is one too many. One reported bite may mean euthanizing the dog or losing your homeowners insurance so take warnings seriously and get professional behavioral health before it is too late.

If you notice your puppy biting themself, this is not normal. It can be an indication of a possible skin condition. If you see this happening, take the puppy to your vet for an evaluation.

How to Stop Puppy Chewing

Chewing is one of the most common behaviors in young puppies. While chewing on chew toys and bones is acceptable, chewing on furniture, woodwork, or shoes is not. Make sure you provide appropriate and adequate items to keep little teeth busy. Don’t leave the dog unattended in an area that is not “puppy-proofed”. And use a crate to keep your home and belongings as well as your puppy safe.

How to Manage Attention Seeking Behaviors

Just like kiddos, your puppy knows when you are on the phone or otherwise preoccupied and not giving them 100% of your attention. Before the puppy begins to act up, chew on inappropriate items, or bark to get your attention, nip the behavior in the bud. Have your stuffed toy or muffin tin ready in the freezer to pull out for an intervention before you reward their attention seeking behavior.

How to Stop a Dog From Counter-Surfing

The only dogs who won’t counter-surf are the ones who aren’t tall enough to reach them. Sometimes, the cat will help by double-teaming you. Cat on the counter, puppy on the floor, cat pushes T-bone steak onto the floor, and you lose dinner.

Like with all other behaviors, preventing this is easier than trying to stop it once it has started. It is such a self-rewarding behavior, you are bound to lose. Prevent it by removing temptation. You know that thing on your counter you think is a microwave oven? Here’s a tip! It’s actually a. a great secret hiding box for thawing food, cooling cookies or loaves of bread. I have never met a dog that can open a microwave. So don’t let the puppy ever get a chance to steal from the counter, breadboard, or kitchen table.

If the puppy has already discovered the wonders of deliciousness on the counter, you will need to untrain the behavior. Set the puppy up to be tempted to swipe something (of low value and won’t hurt if she eats it). Hide around the corner, armed with shaker cans – empty soda pop cans with a few small stones secured inside by taping over the hole. Once the puppy makes a move toward swiping the food, toss the shaker can toward them, not intending to hit but only to distract them. Never let the puppy see you are the one who tossed the can or then you have taught them only to steal food when you aren’t looking.

Basic Puppy Obedience Classes – Online/ In person

When choosing a class, be certain you have selected a rewards based trainer. There are also classes available online. Even if you are an experienced dog owner, classes are helpful in socializing your puppy and providing her with a play group.

If you have a specific question or concern with your new puppies health or puppy behavior problems, reach out to your veterinarian or call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.