Negative and Positive Behaviours to Watch Out for in Your New Puppy


When you bring home a new puppy, there are certain behaviours to look out for that will help you ensure your pup grows up healthy and happy. While it’s important to recognize the positive behaviours that your puppy exhibits, it is also essential to be aware of any negative behaviours that may arise so that they can be addressed early, especially since each breed of dogs has different behaviours.

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The idea is to reinforce positive behaviours while discouraging negative ones whenever possible. Doing so consistently lets your puppy know what’s expected of them, and helps give them confidence that they’re behaving appropriately. Let’s take a look at some positive and negative behaviours to look out for in a new puppy. 

Positive Behaviours


Socialisation is an important part of a puppy’s development, so it’s important to look for signs that your pup is getting along well with other animals and people. Positive socialisation behaviour includes friendly interactions with other pets and people, playing together nicely, and responding positively to commands or cues given by their owners. It’s also important to make sure your pup is not overly aggressive or fearful when meeting new people or animals. 

House Training

House training will likely be one of the first tasks you tackle with your new pup, so keep an eye out for signs that they are learning the ropes quickly. Look for signs like going outside on their own when they need to go potty, using the same spot each time they go potty, waiting at the door when they need to go outside, and quickly understanding commands like “go potty”.

Learning Commands

Teaching your pup basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come” and “down” can help them learn good behaviour habits early on in life. If your pup responds quickly to these commands when given then this can be viewed as a positive behaviour – an indicator that they are eager to learn. Puppies that are excited for training (and its associated rewards) learn quickly, making the basic obedience training process much easier for both of you. 

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Good Appetite

A good appetite is an indication that your pup is healthy and thriving in their new environment. Look for signs like eating all their food in one sitting (not leaving any leftovers), licking their bowl clean after meals and showing excitement when mealtime comes around. While it’s good to encourage your puppy to eat their food during mealtime, avoid the temptation to give them more food than they should get – overweight puppies will tend to have more health issues later in life compared to ones that are at a healthy weight. 

Negative Behaviours 


Aggression towards other animals or people can be a sign of underlying issues such as fear or anxiety, or even an untreated medical condition. Signs of aggression include: 

  • Growling
  • Snarling
  • Snapping at others dogs or people
  • Barking excessively at strangers
  • Lunging towards other dogs on walks
  • Refusing commands from owners

Puppies may not yet fully understand how to interact with others, so some of them may naturally be more aggressive than others. For most dogs, they are able to grow out of this phase with proper socialisation and training. However, if you notice any of these signs it is a good idea to take precautionary measures such as enrolling in obedience classes right away. 

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety occurs when puppies become overly anxious when left alone without their owners present . Signs of separation anxiety include: 

  • Excessive whining
  • Barking
  • Pacing
  • Chewing on furniture
  • Urinating inside the house while owners are away
  • Trying desperately to follow wherever the owner goes
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If you notice any of these behaviours it would be wise to speak with a veterinarian who specialises in animal behaviour in order to find solutions for dealing with separation anxiety effectively. 

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding in dogs is an aggressive behaviour that occurs when a dog feels like its resources are being threatened. This can include food, toys, beds, or even people. When a dog is exhibiting this behaviour they may growl, bark or snap at someone or something that is too close to the resource they are guarding.

Resource guarding usually begins with warning signs such as staring, lip licking, freezing, and tail tucking. If the threat does not go away when the warning signs are displayed then the dog may become more aggressive and may display behaviours such as growling and snapping. In extreme cases a dog may even bite in order to protect their resources. 

It’s also important to note that resource guarding can develop due to fear or anxiety so it’s important to identify any potential triggers and remove them from the environment if possible. In order to prevent resource guarding it’s important to socialise your pup from a young age so they become comfortable with other people and animals being around their resources. It’s also important to offer positive reinforcement when your pup shares their resources instead of punishing or scolding them for displaying aggressive behaviours; this will help them learn that sharing is okay and that there will be rewards for doing so. 

It’s also important to remember that if your pup is exhibiting resource guarding behaviours then you need to address it immediately; if left unchecked it could worsen over time and lead to further aggression issues. If you’re not sure how best to handle it then speak with a certified behaviourist about how best to address your pups specific needs; they will be able assess the situation and provide you with tailored advice on how best handle it moving forward.

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Excessive Barking

Excessive barking indicates either boredom or frustration due to lack of mental stimulation or attention from the owners. It is possible that a puppy may bark out of fear due to past trauma, in which case this behaviour should be addressed immediately by a professional dog trainer or behavioural specialist. Excessive barking can also disturb neighbours so it is best kept under control through proper training techniques and providing adequate physical and mental stimulation through interactive toys and games. 

Final Words

Keeping an eye out for both positive and negative behaviours in a new puppy will give you a better idea of how your puppy relates to the world around them. Positive behaviours should always be encouraged, whereas negative behaviours like aggression and excessive barking should always be discouraged and addressed immediately. 

Your puppy relies on you to guide them throughout their life, and a vast majority of puppies can turn out to become well-behaved and gentle adult dogs. Even if your puppy seems especially challenging, there is always the option of getting help from professional trainers and behaviourists. Be patient, don’t give up on your puppy, and the odds are they’ll turn into wonderful family pets. 


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