Puppy Behaviour Guide

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The first months in a new puppies life are an amazing time for learning about new things.
In these first few months, nerve pathways develop and are only retained if they are remain actively used.

Incredible though it may seem, this means that the range of different situations that your new puppy comes across actually influences the nerve pathways in their brain.

So making the most of this period to socialise and teach your puppy as much as possible is key to a healthy adult dog. Understanding their behaviour and needs during this time and training should be done in tandem with socialisation.

Puppy's First Night

Puppies and dogs are pack animals and can whimper and cry when they are first separated from their Mum and puppy siblings. They are not initially used to being on their own. For the first few nights you might want to have your puppy in a large open box or crate which they can’t crawl out of in your bedroom. This may help them to get used to being on their own and can aide toilet training.

Make sure your puppy is as tired as possible before bed time, with games, training. When you settle for bed try not to fuss over every whimper or murmur but be prepared to get up for a trip to the toilet without too much attention.

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Puppy Toilet Training

Puppies need fairly constant supervision for the first two or three weeks. To help toilet train your pup take him/her outside to the same spot frequently. Ensure they go out after each feed, after playing, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, basically at least once an hour. You should stay with them so get that coat and umbrella at the ready.

There’s no need to stay out for hours if it doesn’t look like they are going to toilet, stay for a few minutes and if nothing is happening take them back in and try again later. There will be steps forward and the odd step back but you will make progress. Consistency from you and your family will help.

It is best to allow them to wander around, when you see they are about to go use the same cue phrase such as ‘Go Potty’ or ‘Be Clean’ and use the phrase consistently every time. When they have been praise them enthusiastically to make that little tail wag.

Top Tips For Puppy's First Days


  • As frustrating as it may, be try not to be angry if there’s been an ‘accident’ in the house. This could cause them distress and actually result in them not wanting to go to the toilet in front of you at all.

  • Dogs naturally communicate with other dogs using body language, this means they naturally understand human gestures and body language better than spoken word. For example dogs may find direct eye contact and a smile that shows your teeth threatening rather than friendly.

  • Continually praise and reward your puppy immediately when they show good behaviour and this good behaviour will grow into good habits.

  • When petting your puppy have a toy to hand that they can mouth. This may seem obvious, but puppies don't have hands. So they explore with their mouths. A toy will help them learn that they play with humans with a toy and not chew or nibble on our hands a feet

  • While some puppy behaviour may be cute, try to think about the future. As an adult dog that jump, nip or pull could be very undesirable. Try to keep encouraging good behaviour and be constant in what is acceptable. Ask friends and family to be also help you here and don't be afraid to politely ask them not to encourage certain behaviour.

  • If your puppy is doing something you don’t want them to do, immediately take their collar and gently lead them to what you do want them to do. You may want to use a training line so you can better manage his or her activity for the first few weeks.

  • Your puppy needs to understand that you are the leader, you can help this along by showing that you are in charge of access to food, controlling use of toys and the access to the outdoors and winning more often than you lose in those little play games of tug of war.

  • To keep things interesting try to change and swap out toys every few days. Removing toys from play will also help you establish yourself as the pack leader.

Cuddles & Touching

Dogs rarely touch each other so you will want to teach your dog to tolerate and enjoy being touched. It’s good to get your puppy familiarised with human touch, the more they are held, handled or restrained the less threatened or stressed they will be by these experiences in the future.

Once again when you start with this have a toy and maybe some treats to reward the positive behaviour with these. A toy will also encourage the puppy to chew or mouth this and not your arm!

Making this a positive experience is both personally rewarding but also key for grooming and visiting your vet. (You can take a toy with you to the vet too.)

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Puppy Playpen

A Puppy play pen is a great way to give yourself and the puppy time to relax and to separate them from other animals and children in the household.


Ensure they have space to sleep and play and there is somewhere to toilet if necessary. A couple of toys and bed are essential so that your puppy will be able to settle and lean to stay calm.


Remember that this is not somewhere to leave your dog for long periods of time. This is a safe space that will allow them to learn to be alone and to relax while they are not having attention from family members.

Their puppy play pen should be a positive and clam space dedicated for your new puppy.