How to Stop Enabling These 5 Bad Behaviors in Your Dog

biting jumping up nipping Puppy Training

To support you in your efforts to survive your puppy’s “terrible twos” and transform him by the power of your love into a mature, trustworthy dog, Petland Texas has put together 5 puppy rearing hacks that will help stop your puppy from continue these 5 bad behaviors: Nipping & biting Jumping up Peeing & “marking” […]

To support you in your efforts to survive your puppy’s “terrible twos” and transform him by the power of your love into a mature, trustworthy dog, Petland Texas has put together 5 puppy rearing hacks that will help stop your puppy from continue these 5 bad behaviors:

  • Nipping & biting
  • Jumping up
  • Peeing & “marking” in the house
  • Aggressive play
  • Using inappropriate behavior to get attention 

Ah, the joys of new puppy parenthood. Who doesn’t love being surprised first thing in the morning when your bare foot meets a warm puddle of urine on the kitchen floor? Or when your mint-condition collectible baseball card worth thousands of dollars is suddenly a cracked, crushed, damp heap… Don’t they make those protective plastic sleeves puppy-proof? And how the heck did your fur baby figure out how to open that drawer anyway?!

Consider this sentence our hug of reassurance to you! You’re doing a great job, raising a puppy is challenging, and the best thing you can do is keep going and never give up!

By implementing the tips we lay out in this article, you can prevent bad, long-term behaviors 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. 

This cute chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy shows no bad behaviors as he runs through his family's backyard on a sunny day.


The behavior of “jumping up” may seem innocent enough, and even cute, when you see your puppy doing it. After all, your fur baby is just so excited to see you, so excited to see visitors at your home and new people on his walks. He also gets so very excited when you or anyone is sitting down to eat, how could he contain his excitement and not jump up to experience all the joys with you?

Well, as adorable as your little puppy is when he jumps up whenever he feels like it, this behavior is not going to be so cute when he’s an adult. In fact, at that size and age “jumping up” is just plain rude. That’s why it’s important to nip this bad behavior in the bud while your puppy is young and eager to learn. 

Until your puppy is fully trained not to jump up, you will need to “manage” him when guests come to the house and in other instances to ensure that he doesn’t jump up on anyone. 


Use the following management techniques until your puppy is fully trained not to jump and you trust him to “stay down” when visitors come or when exciting strangers approach during walks and other trips:

  • Put your puppy in his crate
  • Confine him in another room
  • Restrain your puppy on a leash and ask him to sit while the a pedestrian walks by 
  • Be sure to reward your puppy’s obedience and good behavior with a treat morsel!

This will prevent jumping while your fur baby is learning proper behavior.

Training to Eliminate

First things first, it’s important to stop rewarding and encouraging your puppy when he jumps up on you and others. If you respond with smiles, pats, ooohs and awes, then your puppy will receive the message that jumping up earns affection. 

Instead of making this mistake, teach your puppy that he will receive no attention for jumping on you or anyone else. You can turn your back and only pet your puppy when all four paws are on the floor.

Now, you must provide your puppy with an alternative to jumping up. You see, you puppy uses jumping up to express his love and excitement. What he most wants to do is express this emotion. You can train him to understand that he can express his excitement and receive attention when he sits and offers his paw to shake, for example. This is a great alternative because it will result in the attention and human contact that he’s excited to receive!  

Remember, it is important to be consistent during the training process, and to be firm and consistent when you are ignoring the jumping up behavior. Of course, if and when your puppy jumps up, you must tell him “no” and tell him to “sit” and even mold him gently to the ground so that he knows what “sit” means. If he resists, doesn’t comply, or show any other disobedience, this is when you “ignore,” and use the “negative reinforcement” of not giving him love and attention for doing bad behavior. 

Your puppy will learn quickly, trust us! Just remain firm and consistent!

A black Labrador Retriever puppy is showing bad behaviors by chewing on a sneaker in a mess of toilet paper he created.


We aren’t going to sugar coat it. When it comes to housebreaking your puppy, accidents are bound to happen. Proceeding with love, patience, and firm consistency is the key. In general, puppies are eager to learn. And they’re quick learners. That being said, if you’re away from home or if everyone in the house is asleep through the night, your puppy is going to pee on something if he has to go. 

This is due to many factors that go beyond the fact that your puppy is still being housebroken. One of the biggest reasons that your puppy may go to the bathroom where he should is because he hasn’t developed his bladder muscles. And when it comes to “number two,” your puppy might struggle to know when to go or when to let you know that he’s got to go right now, because his digestive system is still settling into his diet. Depending on your puppy’s age, he may be transitioning from wet puppy food to dry food, or from puppy food to adult food, or hey, you might have given him a little too much peanut butter. 

Now that we’ve addressed the “when nature calls” aspect, let’s go over how you can quickly train your puppy not to pee, poop, and “mark” in the house. As you might have guessed, the first order of business has to be that you stop enabling this behavior.

Many first-time puppy parents don’t realize that they’re enabling this behavior. But when you provide your puppy with wee-wee pads everywhere, then you are actually sending your puppy the message that he can go to the bathroom everywhere

Instead, use wee-wee pads as a training tool. Of course, you’ll lay down these pee pads in your puppy’s crate or sleeping area so that he doesn’t make a mess during the night you can’t clean up easily in the morning. But never provide pee pads and allow your puppy to use them in the house while you’re also in the house

What should be done is that when you (or other house members) are home, you should routinely take your puppy outside to go to the bathroom once every half hour, or once every hour, or once every two hours (depending on his ability to “hold it”). Take him outside regularly in this manner whether he has expressed that he has to go to the bathroom or not! 

As you lengthen the amount of time in-between trips outside, you will discover that your puppy will come to you and indicate that he needs to go outside to the bathroom in those moments where he’s been inside too long to keep holding it. Also, be advised that it’s okay if you take your puppy outside and he doesn’t go to the bathroom. You will find that you’re able to estimate, based on your puppy’s “bathroom regularity” that you don’t have to bring him outside every half hour (because he doesn’t pee every trip). But instead, since he only pees every third trip, you can instead aim to bring him outside every 1.5 hours. 

Eventually, your puppy will “expect” the bathroom trip, and if you don’t provide the trip, he will come to you and indicate he needs to go pee now! This is when you know the training process has been successful!   

A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy and an Australian Shepherd puppy play a healthy game of tug-of-war because they out grew their bad behaviors.


Puppies are cute, small, and for the most part completely harmless. For this reason, it can be so hard for new puppy parents to even recognize “aggressive play” in their fur babies! But take it from us, you really need to keep an eye out. And if you notice any aggressive behaviors as defined by us below, you’re going to have to curb your puppy’s bad behavior as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is to end up with a fully grown, adult dog who thinks it’s okay to use aggressive behavior during playtime. 

Aggressive behavior that should never be tolerated during play includes:

  • Nipping & biting
  • “Pinning” for too long
  • Disregarding “yelps”
  • Refusing to “drop it”
  • Disobeying commands and instructions

Part of the nature every canine, including your puppy, possesses is the desire to dominate others for the purposes of establishing his rightful place within the pack hierarchy. The quest to dominate doesn’t mean “to harm others.” In fact, canines have an exquisite ability to establish dominance within their pack without harming anyone in the pack. They become respected as high ranking leaders by others in the pack because they keep others safe and are trustworthy. In the wild, no displays of dominance are meant to harm, injure, or kill other canines. 

That being said, the displays of dominance and “roughness” that wild canines use, though not harmful to one another, would be completely inappropriate among domestic dogs. 

For this reason, aggressive puppy behavior during play must not be allowed. We’ve already covered the protocol for you to use if your puppy “nips and bites,” so let’s take a look at “pinning.” During play, puppies will attempt to figure out who is more dominant, and a sign of successful dominance is the ability to “pin” another puppy to the ground. This is normal and not harmful. Puppies with healthy behavior will “pin” but quickly let the submissive puppy up. If your puppy has pinned but refused to “let up” the other puppy, then he should be told “no” and given a time out. You should not allow your puppy to “pin” a child or human, however. If your puppy is attempting to “dominate” someone in this fashion, he should likewise be trained not to with “no,” and given a timeout in his crate if he persists. 

Disregarding “yelps” during play is also a bad sign. Your puppy should have an instinct to immediately back off if he causes his playmate to yelp. If your puppy doesn’t back off in this instance, then you must train him with “no” and with consequences, like time in his crate, if he doesn’t obey.

In general, any disobedience and disregard of your commands, like if you tell your puppy to “drop it” and he doesn’t, should warrant a firm timeout or other consequence that reinforces your puppy’s bad behavior will get him nowhere. Rest assured, your puppy will learn quickly and respect you, as well as his playtime, all the more when you train him not to play aggressively.


All of the bad behaviors that we’ve covered so far can also be summed up in this final section. You do not want to allow your puppy to use any bad behavior to get your positive, rewarding attention. As we’ve mentioned in prior sections of this article, 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 horrendous 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 blissful delight at how gorgeously precious their sweet bundle of furry joy is… 

We’re exaggerating, but the point holds true. Try not to be blinded by your love for your puppy, and instead aim to see his bad behaviors for what they really are, and proceed accordingly. If you respond to any and all of your puppy’s bad behaviors by giving him your full, undivided, positive attention, then you will actually end up sabotaging his training. 

Well, that wraps up our tips on how to stop enabling the most common 5 bad behaviors in your dog. We hope you found this article helpful! Remember, when you get your puppy from Petland Texas, you and your new puppy will receive 6 Weeks of Free Puppy Training with our professional dog trainers!