Listen to your puppy

Understanding your puppy’s body language will help you communicate with him, and thus love him more. Interpreting his vocalizations is one way to understand his body language. His whines and howls could indicate separation anxiety, especially during his first few days at your home.

  • Your puppy may make a “grrr” sound during such competitive games as wrestling or tug of war. This low, throaty sound is commonly a sign of playfulness in puppies.
  • Puppy owners may mistake a “grrr” as an aggressive growl and punish the puppy, even though he was just showing his playful side.

Watch how your puppy uses her mouth

Your puppy may show you her teeth — this may be either submissive or aggressive. If this is a submissive action, your puppy will horizontally retract her lips and form wrinkles at the corners of her mouth. An aggressive showing of teeth is usually accompanied by a snarl and a display of the front canines.

  • If your puppy yawns, it may be because she is bored or sleepy. However, her yawn could also let you know that she is anxious or upset. The context of the situation in which she yawns will help you decipher her yawning.

Interpret your puppy’s rolling on his back

When your puppy rolls onto his back, he is signaling that he is either relaxed or scared and submissive. If he is feeling relaxed, his body will be loose: mouth open, rear legs flopped to one side, and tail wagging slowly. If he is feeling scared or submissive, he may be holding his head off the ground with his mouth closed.

  • A tucked tail and one front and rear leg raised in the air are also signs that he is feeling scared or submissive.

Learn why your puppy stops playing

As much as your puppy loves to play, you may be surprised when she suddenly stops playing. It may be because she has to relieve herself. If this is the case, take her outside and see if she has to go to the bathroom.

  • Your puppy may also stop playing if she becomes tired. Puppies tend to have short bursts of energy, so she may become tired quickly and need to rest.
  • Puppies who tire quickly may have more serious medical problems, such as hypoglycemia or heart-worms. If your puppy seems to tire easily, take her to the veterinarian.

Learn about puppy mounting behavior

It can be embarrassing if your puppy mounts someone or another dog. However, your puppy’s intentions are likely harmless when he does this. For example, your puppy may mount another dog during play to announce that he is the winner of the game.

  • Your puppy’s mounting of a person usually indicates that he is feeling playful or is excited about something.
  • Rather than punishing your puppy for mounting, try to divert his attention to more desirable play behavior,like playing fetch.


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