Common puppy behaviours and what they can mean

Having a puppy at home is cosy, fun, entertaining and safe. At the same time, the puppy phase can present a lot of question marks, especially if you're a first-time owner. Why does it behave the way it does? What's causing it? How should different behaviours be interpreted? Below we go through some common behaviours that may raise some questions, uncertainty or concern. Read on to learn more about puppy behaviour, what it may be caused by and what you can do to influence it!

My puppy barks when left alone at home - why?
If your dog barks when it's alone at home, it's most likely because the puppy is feeling scared, insecure and lonely. If you haven't practised leaving your puppy alone in the past, it's a good idea to do so if it's something you plan to do several times.

Why is my puppy shaking?
If your puppy is shaking, it could be due to a number of different things. The first thing you should do is check that it is not due to a medical problem - if this is a possible cause, you should contact your vet.

Other reasons include the dog being scared, stressed or tense, or it could be because it is cold. Think about what you were doing before the dog started shaking and then use that as a starting point to counteract the shaking.

Why is the puppy whining?
A whining puppy means an upset puppy. Just as a puppy can shake for different reasons, a puppy can whine for different reasons. Depending on the puppy, the reasons may be different, but common reasons are that the dog is hungry, peeing, injured or bored. It can also be because the dog is lonely and scared.

My puppy is panting, why?
A common behaviour among both puppies and adult dogs is panting. This may be because the dog is very hot and therefore needs to ventilate to cool down. However, heavy panting can also be due to the puppy being insecure, uncomfortable or stressed. In some cases, it is also a sign of illness.

The puppy is eating dirt, grass or faeces - what causes it?
It is certainly not uncommon for puppies to start chewing and eating different things. Grass, dirt and faeces are all things that puppies are happy to chew, for reasons that are often not as alarming as you might think. If the puppy is found to be eating grass, it may in some cases be because it wants to vomit. Most likely, however, the puppy simply likes the taste of grass.

If the puppy eats faeces, that is not very worrying either, except that it is very unpleasant. This may be a behaviour that the puppy is copying from the mother, who eats their faeces to clean up. Finally, there's soil, something the puppy can chew if it's bored, curious or just wants to try something new. However, this can also be due to illness.

Why does the puppy roll in faeces?
As disgusting as it may be to us humans, a great many puppies and dogs quite frankly like faeces. This may be one reason why they roll in it, but it may also be because they want to hide their own scent.

Chewing and digging?
Puppies can start chewing on furniture or digging in the garden without warning. Chewing and digging are often signs that the puppy is bored, which in itself is a sign of under- or over-stimulation and lack of activity. However, digging can also be because the puppy wants to bury its "possessions", or because it wants to cool down if it is hot. Chewing on furniture and the like may be because the dog is insecure or anxious in its own company.

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