What ALL new parents experience in their puppies... and what to do about it.

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, April 27, 2023
Lock anxious to go to his furever home

Two puppies have now been introduced to their new families. 15 more puppies are on their way home today!

Since so many of you will meet your puppy for the first time soon, I want to share five of the most common puppy behaviors new owners will experience.

The following experiences are normal for all new puppy parents.

  1. All puppies bite. This is because puppy play biting is a form of affection in the dog world. Playing with one another by biting and roughhousing is how puppies form bonds with their fellow littermates. They even choose certain puppies with whom they play more than others. If your puppy bites you wanting to play, it is showing you that it likes you and wants to interact with you.

    It is your responsibility as a new puppy owner to teach your puppy (in canine, because puppies don’t know “human-as-a-second-language” yet) that humans are fragile and don’t like sharp puppy teeth on their skin.

    HINT: When you clearly explain to your puppy in its own language that humans do not like to play bite, you must use body language.
  2. All puppies cry/whine when left alone. This is because puppies live in large family units called packs. For the first time ever, your puppy left its pack and must sleep inside a crate by itself away from the warmth and comfort of its littermates.

    It is your responsibility as a new puppy owner to teach your puppy that it is okay to be alone. A human is never far away. Puppy must learn that when you are away, you will return. It is like a baby believing that when it can’t see you, you aren’t there. When a puppy can’t see you, you aren’t there.

    HINT: Use toys, chews, your heartbeat snuggle toy, blankets, etc. to comfort puppy. Then, show puppy that you aren’t far away should it become concerned. Sleep puppy next to your bed in a crate. Put your hands inside the crate if needed should puppy feel alone.
  3. All puppies chew. This is because puppies do not have fingers and opposable thumbs to grasp with. They explore their world by using their mouth. They put things into their mouth to learn what an object is.

    It is your responsibility as a new puppy owner to teach your puppy what is acceptable and not acceptable items to chew.

    HINT: Provide your puppy with appropriate items to chew on. Place your puppy in a controlled environment (such as a crate, ex-pen, or tether) so that it has no access to harmful items.
  4. All puppies jump. This is because jumping to reach their momma dog’s face and lick at the muzzle is a sign of respect in the dog world. Puppies believe it is a sign of submission and respect to get to your face and lick you.

    It is your responsibility as a new puppy owner to teach your puppy that jumping up on humans is not acceptable. Humans are fragile creatures, not the same as dogs.

    HINT: Reach down to your puppy when it is sitting. Acknowledge your puppy when it is calm. Reward your puppy when it is laying down and being still. If puppy jumps, give it the gift of knowing what is NOT right by saying “no” to your puppy in the only way puppy can understand: body language. Don’t ignore bad behavior. If you don’t say no, it’s as good as saying yes.
  5. All puppies pull on the leash. This is because all dogs have a natural instinct to produce an equal and opposite reaction to pressure. The stronger the leash pressure gets, the harder a dog will pull.

    If is your responsibility as a new puppy owner to teach your puppy to do the exact opposite of its natural instinct and move INTO the pressure to release it.

    HINT: Initially introduce the leash by following puppy anywhere it goes, so that the leash does not become taunt. A taunt leash may result in panic. Then, systematically teach your puppy leash pressure so that it understands exactly what to do to counter its natural instinct. Do not punish a puppy for not understanding how to do the opposite of their natural instinct.

Today, I am traveling with all the precious cargo heading east. I usually drive for four hours before we stop and stretch our legs. Then, it’s right back on the road. We usually go at least 12 hours of driving, sometimes more, in a day.

This means that I won’t be as easily available over email.

In fact, our NEW Editor-in-Chief will be writing our daily emails for a time.

Emails will be appropriately entertaining and delivered promptly on time… right, Jay Stoeckl?!

During the trip, you can experience your DireWolf Dog’s journey on the DireWolf Express in real time all along the track to your home. The DireWolf Express uses the free app below to post pictures, videos, and stories about your DireWolf Dog as it travels across our great country. It’s available in both Android and iOS versions for mobile, although you can also log in via their website. It’s free to download and use.


Download the PolarSteps app from Google Play or the App Store and follow Jennifer Stoeckl for your upcoming trip.

This Thursday’s trip is called the “Friendly Neighbor Trip”.

You can also view past rides and how each driver did with the DireWolf Dogs in their care.

With a 4.7 star our of 5 rating and over 42, 672 reviews, PolarSteps is our choice for a free option to share the journey in real time with you!

That’s it for today.

I look forward to sharing all about my adventures with the puppies and adults on the DireWolf Express on PolarSteps. See you there!

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.