How to Correct 4 Common Puppy Behavior Problems

Puppy Training

Your brand-new puppy is an innocent bundle of fluffy joy that can do no wrong! We know the feeling, but sooner or later, reality will set in and you’ll discover that while your puppy is definitely an innocent bundle of joy, he’s actually quite capable of doing “wrong.”  It’s not his fault, of course. He […]

Your brand-new puppy is an innocent bundle of fluffy joy that can do no wrong! We know the feeling, but sooner or later, reality will set in and you’ll discover that while your puppy is definitely an innocent bundle of joy, he’s actually quite capable of doing “wrong.” 

It’s not his fault, of course. He needs to be trained. At Petland Florida, we highly encourage all new puppy parents to set daily time aside to properly train their puppies, in addition to their efforts to housebreak their fur babies. Training your puppy not to go to the bathroom inside, otherwise known as housebreaking, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full puppy training picture.

There are 4 common puppy behavior problems that you may notice start to emerge in your puppy’s otherwise angelic personality. In this article, we lay out tips to help you curb these behavioral problems before they start. 


Of all the bad habits that a puppy naturally comes into the world with, nipping and biting is right up there. When a puppy is young, his nipping is harmless and can even tickle! But if the puppy is not quickly trained out of this instinct to nip, he will carry this behavior into adulthood and could really hurt someone. This is why it’s so important that new puppy parents do not enable this bad behavior in their puppies. 

Enabling nipping comes in many “innocent” forms, the most common of which is when pet parents sympathize with their puppies teething. Teething puppies like to nip and even gnaw. Because their “milk teeth” are soft, it doesn’t hurt when a young puppy gnaws on your fingers. But if you allow this behavior, your puppy will only learn that gnawing on human hands is acceptable.  

Firstly, don’t let your puppy gnaw on your fingers. If your puppy is teething, we recommend that you pick up a few teething chew toys and teething treats from your local pet store. When your puppy starts nipping or gnawing to alleviate his uncomfortable gums, supply him with a chew toy. 

Also, don’t let your puppy latch onto your arm or clothing during play, which is another form of nipping and biting, and constitutes “aggressive” play, which we’ll cover later in this article. If your puppy does nip or try to nip playfully, then make a high-pitched yelping sound. This yelping noise will sound like a “hurt puppy” to your puppy. Your puppy will understand that his nip has hurt you, and he will have an instinct not to do this behavior, because he is hard-wired not to hurt his fellow puppies. 


All of the common behavioral problems that we’ve covered so far can also be summed up in a word—hyperactivity. This is often displayed as a puppy using inappropriate behavior to get their parent’s attention. You do not want to allow your puppy to use any hyperactive, or inappropriate, behavior to get your positive, rewarding attention. Puppies are so cute that it can be tricky to even recognize that your adorable fur baby who you could just eat up because he’s so cute is actually exhibiting unacceptable behavior. Many pet parents, while in the throes of watching their puppies jump up on the dinner table and roll around in the dessert tray, squeal with delight at how cute their bundle of joy is… 

They say love is “blind” for a reason. Try not to be blinded by your love for your puppy, and instead aim to see his behavior for what it really is, and proceed accordingly. If you respond to any and all of your puppy’s behavior by giving him your full, undivided, positive attention, then you will actually end up sabotaging his training. 


Puppies feel an irresistible urge to investigate the very things that tend to be the most dangerous to them. Complicating matters is the fact that puppies “investigate” with their mouths by licking, chewing, and even trying to swallow whatever item they happen to be curious about. This tendency, in large part, goes away with age, and your puppy will outgrow trying to literally “digest” whatever he’s hoping to “figure out,” including your stinky gym socks! But for the first 8 months, you’re going to have to really watch him. 

Even more to the point, you’re going to have to make sure that there are zero choking hazards in plain sight at home. This cannot be overstated enough. You may even have to reconsider the bins and containers in your home, and if they have tops that are easy for a puppy to pry open, we recommend you invest in bins that close securely with a snap lock or twist-on cap. 

The most common around-the-house choking hazards include coins, marbles, paper clips, rubber bands, string, yarn, ribbon, pantyhose, jewelry, hair elastics, scrunchies, hair accessories, screws, nails, nuts, bolts, toolkit items, and the list goes on. Even a balled-up, used paper towel that isn’t properly disposed of can wind up in your puppy’s throat when you aren’t looking.

That brings us to the next important step in the puppy-proofing process—using trash receptacles that close and stay closed. The complex aromas of a typical garbage can, while repulsive to humans, are downright irresistible to puppies. Your puppy will naturally associate most of those smells with food, which means that if he gets into the trash, he’s going to try to eat what’s there.

Best case scenario, this will make a huge mess. But the worst case scenario could be fatal for your puppy. Many human foods are poisonous to dogs. You might be aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. But did you know that the list of poisonous food items includes grapes, avocados, onions, garlic, sugar-free gum with Xylitol, and most nuts? If you spit your gum out into the trash and your puppy gets in there, it could mean a trip to the doggy E.R. and no one wants that!

So, again, make sure the trash bins that you keep in the kitchen, bathrooms, tool shed, and any other area are mechanically able to close and stay closed. If not, then investing in new receptacles that stay closed is in high order. 


Most often, separation anxiety forms when a puppy is separated from his mother too soon and isolated. Responsible, ethical breeders never separate puppies from their mothers before the puppies are fully weaned. After weaning, even though the puppies are transferred from their mothers to the pet store, they remain with other puppies, who are a source of comfort. 

Separation anxiety can also develop as a result of a puppy leaving his littermates and going home with you. During this period of adjustment, some separation anxiety is to be expected. For example, your puppy may not like separating from you at night to sleep in his crate alone. There are several growing pains like this that will not cause chronic separation anxiety. 

However, your puppy could develop prolonged separation anxiety if there’s a major lifestyle change, such as you beginning a full-time office job after working from home for a while. This kind of separation anxiety can drive your puppy to become destructive and do other behaviors that he knows are wrong, like going to the bathroom inside the home. 

If you believe your puppy is experiencing separation anxiety and the problem seems mild, try the following ideas to help your puppy understand that alone time can be fun. 

  • Take your puppy for a walk or do some other high-energy activity an hour or so before you leave
  • Give your puppy a special treat, such as a Kong game, when you leave 
  • Make your puppy’s area, room, or pen very cozy
  • Keep your “coming and going” low-key without making a big deal about leaving
  • Give your puppy over-the-counter natural calming supplements

On the other hand, if the problem seems out of control, we strongly advise you take your puppy to see the vet. 

There you have the 4 common puppy behavior problems and how to correct them. We hope you found this article helpful, and we wish you all the luck in the world as you train your puppy!