Plants Toxic to Puppies

Plants Toxic to Puppies

We all want the best for our new puppies, but puppies can be adventurous and usually want to explore through their mouths by biting, chewing and licking, hence leading them to be inadvertently at risk to danger and harm. Puppies can especially bite and chew things in the backyard out of curiosity or boredom, so in our very own backyard we must be vigilant, as there could be something potentially toxic or fatal for puppies, such as plants that puppies could have an adverse reaction to from toxins entering the bloodstream, so knowing what is in the garden and keeping the puppy safe is very important.

Here are some plants that could be toxic if eaten by your adventurous puppy or poisonous if pricked by the plant itself on the body of the puppy.

The list of plants toxic to puppies
Agapanthus (Roots)
Aloe (Leaves)
Angels Trumpet (All parts)
Apricots (Stem, bark and seed kernels)
Arum Lily (Spine and bulbs)
Asparagus Fern (All parts)
Avocado (Fruit, leaves, bark, seed)
Azalea (All parts)
Bird of Paradise (Fruit, seeds)
Caladium (All parts)
Cape Lilac (Berries)
Clematis (All parts)
Cotoneaster glaucophyllus (Fruit)
Cycads (Seeds)
Daffodils (All parts but especially bulbs)
Daphne (Berries, bark, leaves)
Dumb Cane Dieffenbachia (All parts)
Foxgloves (Leaves, seeds, flowers)
Frangipani (Sap)
Gladioli (Bulbs)
Hellebore (All parts)
Hyacinth (Bulbs, leaves, flowers)
Hydrangea (Leaves, stems)
Ivy (All parts of most varieties)
Jonquil (Bulbs)
Kalanchoe (All parts)
Lantana (All parts)
Lily (All parts)
Lily of the Valley (All parts)
Lobelia (All parts)
Macadamia (Nuts)
Fruit Salad Plant Monstera (Unripe fruit)
Morning Glory (Seeds)
Nightshade (All parts)
Oleander (All parts, including dead leaves)
Onion (Bulbs)
Ornamental chilli (Fruit)
Philodendron (All parts)
Poinsettia (Leaves, flowers)
Rhododendron (All parts)
Rhubarb (Leaves)
Savin Juniper (All parts)
Sweet Pea (Seeds, pods)
Tomato Plants (Leaves)
Tulip (Bulbs)
Umbrella Plant (All parts)
Wandering Jew (Leaves, stems, sap)
Wisteria (Seeds, pods)
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (All parts)
Yucca (All parts)


Plants toxic to puppies


Best way I have found is to google up the plant in question and see google images of different types of plants.

If you have someone who has a green thumb, ask for advice on plants, and if they know any of these species of plant.


Why Is My Puppy Not Eating Dry Food?

Why Is My Puppy Not Eating Dry Food?

Picky eating can be a quirk associated with an individual puppy or a sign of something more serious. If your puppy is not eating dry food, consider the following:

Is My Puppy Healthy?

A sudden change in appetite or feeding behaviour can indicate a health issue of some variety. Your puppy may have an upset stomach, intestinal problems, or oral/ dental discomfort.

If your puppy has stopped eating altogether, and you suspect that something may be wrong, book your puppy in with the veterinarian. If your puppy will still eat other foods, it may just be a case of picky eating.

Is a Jack Russell right for me
Keep an eye on normal behaviour patterns, and watch for the food levels they are eating as the puppy grows, increasing the amount as they grow into their adult form

Is My Puppy Old Enough to Eat Dry Food?

Young puppies are generally not fully weaned until they are 6-8 weeks old. Prior to this time, they will feed mostly on their mother’s milk (or a substitute).

During the transitional stage (between 4-8 weeks), puppies will begin to nibble on solid foods, however, dry food will still remain out of reach. It is not until after this period of transition that puppies will be able to eat dry food.

While most owners receive their puppies after 8 weeks, if your puppy is younger than this you should be aware of their transitioning diets. You can incorporate dry food into their diet by soaking kibble in water to break it down a little and make it easier to eat.

Is My Puppy Teething?

Most puppies will eat less when they are teething. This is due to the extra strain and discomfort placed on their teeth, gums, and jaw. Teething usually takes place between 3-6 months.

If your puppy is reluctant to eat dry food during this period, considering switching to wet foods until their adult teeth have set in. Otherwise, you can soften dry food by soaking it in warm water or even by mixing it with wet food. If you do decide to add wet food to your puppy’s feeding schedule, make sure you scale back the volume of dry food to ensure you are not overfeeding them.

Is a golden retriever puppy right for me
Sharing food between puppies is very normal and making sure enough kibble is available to not create any food possession between pups is recommended

Am I Feeding My Puppy Regularly?

While it is less likely to be the cause of picking eating than some of the other factors on this list, your puppy’s feeding schedule may cause them to avoid certain foods. Rather than leaving your puppy’s food in a bowl all day, provide smaller meals at specific times during the day. This may help with appetite and regularity. Generally, puppies under 6 months should be fed 3 smalls meals throughout the day and puppies over 6 months should be fed 2 times a day.

how to stop my puppy biting me


Is My Puppy Just a Picky Eater?

Some puppies are born picky eaters. They may not like the taste of dry food, or they may not like the texture. If your puppy is not eating their dry food, consider experimenting with different brands and varieties. Alternatively, you can mix dry food with a small amount of wet food to entice your puppy.

puppy how to give medicine
If your puppy stops eating, go to the vet. In different cases they could have ate something that has made a blockage.

Why Male Puppies Mark Their Territory

Why Male Puppies Mark Their Territory

Owners with male puppies are often all too familiar with the casual cocking of a leg at every lamppost along your walking route. Territory marking behaviour is most common amongst male puppies which have progressed through adolescence.

Puppy owners are often able to accept that territory marking is part of their puppy’s behaviour but sometimes struggle to be understanding when this behaviour occurs within their homes. This article will discuss the cause of this behaviour and explore ways to prevent it from occurring in your house.

What is Territory Marking?

Territory marking is one of the many non-verbal behaviours that puppies can use to interact with other animals. Many animals use urine, and even faeces, to define their territory. Territory marking makes other animals aware of your puppy’s presence. This is especially true for animals from the same species. Territory marking also communicates the reproductive status of the animal.

Is There Anything I Need to Know?

The first thing to note is that sometimes it’s not easy to recognise when your puppy has begun to form a habit of spraying. They can often do it at times when you are distracted or out of the home. If you have begun to notice the smell of urine around your home or have stepped in strange puddles, your puppy may be attempting to mark their territory.

Before you attempt to stop any territory marking behaviour, its important to ensure that your puppy is toilet trained. What may seem like territory marking behaviour may actually be the sign of a weak bladder. For more information on toilet training, visit our article om toilet training. Provide your puppy with plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom and create a solid bathroom routine.

How Do I Stop My Puppy from Peeing in My Home?

Once you have ruled out toilet training as an issue, you can be sure that your puppy is deliberately marking their territory and target this behaviour. Many puppy owners find that by desexing their puppies, they can eliminate territory marking early on. Unfortunately, this strategy is generally not effective after the puppy has established a habit of spraying; it works best when performed early.

If your puppy has already formed a habit of marking their territory, there are some other strategies you can employ. Firstly, territory marking behaviour will frequently occur in the exact same area. As a result, you can often reduce spraying behaviour by immediately cleaning soiled areas with a cleaner designed to remove urine odour. In addition, you can deter your puppy by making these areas inaccessible or unattractive for your puppy. As a last resort, you can feed your puppy in the areas where they repeatedly spray in order to change their association with these areas.

If you have other pets in the home, especially male pets, your puppy may be marking their territory as part of a conflict with these animals. This conflict may even extend to animals that your puppy can see through windows or fences. Try to eliminate your puppies ability to see other dogs where you can. If you believe your puppy is spraying as a result of other animals, visit our guide on socialisation in order to make your pets more friendly and less conflicted. Remember that puppies mark their territory in order to warn off male competition.

When trying to reduce territory marking behaviour, the most important thing to do is be consistent. Consistently feed your puppy in the same location and at the same time; have them visit the bathroom at the same time, and consistently remove the temptation to spray. Remember that territory marking is a habit that you will have to actively break.

How Do Puppy Energy Levels Change as They Age?

How Do Puppy Energy Levels Change as They Age?

Much like humans, puppies go through stages of varying energy levels and changing behaviour. This is an evolutionary advantage which allows puppies to learn quickly and keep up with the pack.

While increased energy levels are great for your puppy, they can lead to some frustrating experiences in the home. This guide will discuss the changes in puppy energy levels, what behaviours to expect, and what you can do to manage your puppy’s changing behaviour.

puppy play safe with other puppy

Puppy Energy Levels: Birth – 10 Weeks

Up to 10 weeks puppies are like much like human babies and toddlers; they are energetic, curious, and playful. This is a period of massive mental and physical growth. In order to understand the world around them, your puppy must experience as many things as possible and this requires enormous energy reserves. At this age, your puppy may tire very quickly due to sensory overload.

Puppies at this age will run around chewing, pawing, smelling, and fighting with anything within reach. They will bound and gallop around your home looking for someone, or something, to play with.

This is a fantastic age to begin obedience training because your puppy is such an eager learner. Begin to teach your dog their name and some Basic Commands. To burn some of that energy, it’s important to take short walks and play with your puppy a few times a day.

Puppy Energy Levels: 10 – 16 Weeks

Puppies at this age are much like young teenagers. They still have enormous energy reserves, but they like to test the boundaries. This is because your puppy is developing an increased awareness of pack hierarchies and the world around them.

At this age, your puppy may begin to “forget” some of the commands they once responded to. They may also disobey rules or expectations that you have begun to set. Your puppy may begin chewing everything that can reach because they have begun to teeth. 

Puppies at this age should begin to receive longer walks and more play. Be aware of teething behaviour and provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to chew on things that you don’t mind being destroyed. At this point, obedience training should be ramped up and you should work to assert yourself as the leader of the pack.

puppy socialisation

Puppy Energy Levels: 4 – 6 Months

At 4 months, your puppy begins to develop into a young adult. Your puppy will still have great levels of energy but may begin to direct it in different ways such as play-fighting. Your puppy will begin to have a much greater control over their energy levels and will have less of the crashes they experience at younger ages.

Your puppy may begin to fight with other pets, children, and you. They may bite, paw, and scratch at you as they begin to test pack hierarchies. Puppies at this age also begin to show fear. It’s usually best to ignore this behaviour and build confidence through training and play. It’s also important at this time to reinforce the idea that your puppy should not bite or scratch you at any point.

Puppy Energy Levels: 6 – 12 Months

At this age, your puppy is very quickly beginning to look like a full-grown dog. Don’t let this fool you though, your puppy still has a very juvenile mind. You may even begin to see a boost in energy as they begin to round out their growth.

Your puppy will continue to test the boundaries but should begin developing a greater sense of right and wrong. They will generally be able to control their energy and will have very few crashes.

At this age it’s important to continue structured play and exercise to ensure that your puppy can dispel their energy in a positive way. Continue to train your puppy and socialise them with other puppies and adult dogs.

jumping for the puppy can cause Hip Dysplasia

Puppy Energy Levels: 1 – 2 Years

If you’ve made it this far with your puppy, congratulations. You’ve successfully made it to canine adulthood. For smaller breeds, 1 year generally signifies adulthood. For larger breeds, it can take up to 2 years to reach full physical and mental maturity.

At this age, your puppy will generally still be playful and energetic, but this will begin to slow down as they age and mature. Your puppy should have a good grasp of the rules and expectations and, as a result, they will be less troublesome despite still having energy.

At this stage, you should aim to maintain age appropriate exercise and play and continue to be consistent with expectations and obedience.


Training a Puppy to Walk On a Leash

Training a Puppy to Walk On a Leash

Puppies aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. It’s up to you to show them how to respond to the leash and behave appropriately.


Why Should I Train My Puppy to Walk on a Leash?

Puppies are naturally curious. They love to explore their world. For this reason, it’s extremely practical to teach your puppy to walk using a leash. Walking is great exercise for you and your puppy and a leash serves to make this experience enjoyable.

Leash training is beneficial because:

  • It keeps your puppy close to you while you walk
  • Leashes can make obedience training an easier task
  • It allows you to control your puppy when they become scared or agitated.
  • Leashes are essential in many urban areas
Exercising the puppy will benefit so many ways, physical and mentality of the pup

How Do I Leash Train My Puppy?

The first step to leash training is to get your puppy used to wearing their collar. Puppy collars are important, not only because they are used for leash training, but also because they carry your information in the case that your puppy gets away.

Familiarise your puppy with wearing a collar from a young age by getting them to wear a well fitted collar early on. Your puppy’s collar should be tight enough that they cannot remove it, but loose enough that it is not uncomfortable. As your puppy continues to grow, it’s important to continually check that the collar is still fitted appropriately. If you can fit two fingers between your puppy’s neck and the collar, then it is well fitted.

Once your puppy is comfortable in their collar, you can begin training them to walk on a leash. At first, attach your puppy’s leash and have them drag it around the house under supervision. After 5 – 10 minutes of this, your puppy will likely have become familiar with the way the leash tugs at their collar.

Have your puppy walk on your left side. Shorten their leash so that they are unable to walk ahead of you but attempt to maintain slack when possible; the goal is to have your puppy walk alongside you without coercion. When your puppy is walking alongside you, praise them and occasionally treat them.

Behaviours Should to Look Out For

Your puppy should not be pulling on the leash. This will create an unpleasant walking experience for both of you. If your puppy is pulling on the leash, DO NOT pull back on the leash. Rather, stand still until your puppy realises that pulling is not getting them anywhere. When your puppy is walking on the leash properly treat them for their good behaviour.

lead training puppy
Puppy pulling on lead

Some puppies do not like walking; they will drag their heels and refuse to budge. In this case, do not be tempted to pull them by the leash. This will only increase their anxiety. Rather, squat down to their level and use your excited voice to call them, use treats or toys to convince them that walking is fun. Again, when your puppy walks on the leash properly, treat them for behaving appropriately.

Meeting off leash is much better for the puppy, if they meet another dog face to face, watching body language is very important, don’t let your puppy get anxious.

Preventing and Treating Dehydration in Puppies

Preventing and Treating Dehydration in Puppies

Puppies are active animals, abound with energy. To support this active lifestyle, they need countless volumes of water. When your puppy doesn’t get enough water, they can quickly become dehydrated. Left untreated, this can cause significant pain and discomfort, and even death. This article discusses how to diagnose, treat, and prevent puppy dehydration.  

Why do Puppies Become Dehydrated?

Puppies can become dehydrated by a range of factors. The biggest causes of puppy dehydration are exposure to heat and illness. Illnesses that cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and excessive urination can often lead to dehydration.

Puppy dehydration can sometimes be a sign of more serious issues such as kidney degeneration, kidney failure, and the ingestion of harmful substances. These factors can cause severe dehydration in puppies and if severe symptoms persist, should always be checked out by a qualified veterinarian.

puppy training summer
On those extremely hot days, have more options for your puppy. Old buckets of water does the trick.

How Can I Tell if my Puppy is Dehydrated?

If you’re concerned that your puppy may be dehydrated, here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Lethargy and depleted energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Change in usual behaviour
  • Excessive panting
  • Inelasticity in the skin

What Should I Do if my Puppy is Dehydrated?

The most important thing is to ensure that your puppy always has access to a source of clean drinking water. If they are just thirsty, your puppy will drink on their own and will quickly recover.

If after drinking, your puppy still appears dehydrated, you can attempt to administer electrolytic solution to help them recover. Mix an electrolytic concentrate in their water at a rate of 1-2 ml per kilogram of body weight. Encourage your puppy to drink this solution. And monitor their progress.

If symptoms persist and your puppy is experiencing more severe dehydration, the best thing to do is take them to a veterinarian. It’s best to be safe and avoid the worsening of more serious illnesses.

puppy training summer
Water fountains are amazing for puppies, drinking and cooling off and a play if the puppy decides it would be fun

How Can I Prevent Puppy Dehydration?

Preventing dehydration caused by exposure to the sun and heat

It is extremely important to be aware of the weather, especially if your puppy spends a significant amount of time outdoors. During the summer, or on especially warm days, your puppy can become dehydrated very rapidly.

Your puppy will naturally look for cool water and shade. If this is unavailable, they will be unable to regulate their body temperature. On warm days it is especially important to ensure that your puppy has constant access to cool water and shade. Bring them inside if this is not possible. On days of extreme heat, bring your puppy inside and give them a cool place to rest.

Never leave your puppy unattended in a car. Heat becomes trapped inside the enclosed environment and can rapidly cause severe dehydration in puppies and young children.

puppy training summer
Salt water pools can be a fun way for cooling your puppy in the summertime

Preventing dehydration caused by illness

The first step to preventing illness related dehydration in puppies is monitoring your puppy’s overall health. It’s important to be aware of when your puppy is experiencing bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. This way, you can quickly treat these illnesses by visiting a veterinarian.

It’s also important to have plenty of clean drinking water available for your puppy when they are sick. They will likely need to consume a lot more water to offset the large volumes of water they are expelling.

Remember you can always go to the vet, or ask over the phone to speak to the vet you see and ask for help or advice. To help your puppy is the most important thing we can do when they can’t help themselves.

How Do Puppy Energy Levels Change as They Age?

How Do Puppy Energy Levels Change as They Age?

Much like humans, puppies go through stages of varying energy levels and changing behaviour. This is an evolutionary advantage which allows puppies to learn quickly and keep up with the pack.

While increased energy levels are great for your puppy, they can lead to some frustrating experiences in the home. This guide will discuss the changes in puppy energy levels, what behaviours to expect, and what you can do to manage your puppy’s changing behaviour.

Is a Border Collie right for me
Know the puppy breed and energy levels

Puppy Energy Levels: Birth – 10 Weeks

Up to 10 weeks puppies are like much like human babies and toddlers; they are energetic, curious, and playful. This is a period of massive mental and physical growth. In order to understand the world around them, your puppy must experience as many things as possible and this requires enormous energy reserves. At this age, your puppy may tire very quickly due to sensory overload.

Puppies at this age will run around chewing, pawing, smelling, and fighting with anything within reach. They will bound and gallop around your home looking for someone, or something, to play with.

This is a fantastic age to begin obedience training because your puppy is such an eager learner. Begin to teach your dog their name and some Basic Commands. To burn some of that energy, it’s important to take short walks and play with your puppy a few times a day.

puppy play safe with other puppy
Playing for the puppy is a great way to release energy levels

Puppy Energy Levels: 10 – 16 Weeks

Puppies at this age are much like young teenagers. They still have enormous energy reserves, but they like to test the boundaries. This is because your puppy is developing an increased awareness of pack hierarchies and the world around them.

At this age, your puppy may begin to “forget” some of the commands they once responded to. They may also disobey rules or expectations that you have begun to set. Your puppy may begin chewing everything that can reach because they have begun to teeth. 

Puppies at this age should begin to receive longer walks and more play. Be aware of teething behaviour and provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to chew on things that you don’t mind being destroyed. At this point, obedience training should be ramped up and you should work to assert yourself as the leader of the pack.

Walking the puppy in a safe situation, on lead areas is recommended for the puppy to understand training while on lead.

Puppy Energy Levels: 4 – 6 Months

At 4 months, your puppy begins to develop into a young adult. Your puppy will still have great levels of energy but may begin to direct it in different ways such as play-fighting. Your puppy will begin to have a much greater control over their energy levels and will have less of the crashes they experience at younger ages.

Your puppy may begin to fight with other pets, children, and you. They may bite, paw, and scratch at you as they begin to test pack hierarchies. Puppies at this age also begin to show fear. It’s usually best to ignore this behaviour and build confidence through training and play. It’s also important at this time to reinforce the idea that your puppy should not bite or scratch you at any point.

training your puppy
All puppies will have different levels of energy, the responsibility of exercising the high energy puppy will keep them happy and healthy.

Puppy Energy Levels: 6 – 12 Months

At this age, your puppy is very quickly beginning to look like a full-grown dog. Don’t let this fool you though, your puppy still has a very juvenile mind. You may even begin to see a boost in energy as they begin to round out their growth.

Your puppy will continue to test the boundaries but should begin developing a greater sense of right and wrong. They will generally be able to control their energy and will have very few crashes.

At this age it’s important to continue structured play and exercise to ensure that your puppy can dispel their energy in a positive way. Continue to train your puppy and socialise them with other puppies and adult dogs.

belly rub training puppy
Enjoy the quiet times the puppy gives you, if they are sleeping, let them sleep.

Puppy Energy Levels: 1 – 2 Years

If you’ve made it this far with your puppy, congratulations. You’ve successfully made it to canine adulthood. For smaller breeds, 1 year generally signifies adulthood. For larger breeds, it can take up to 2 years to reach full physical and mental maturity.

At this age, your puppy will generally still be playful and energetic, but this will begin to slow down as they age and mature. Your puppy should have a good grasp of the rules and expectations and, as a result, they will be less troublesome despite still having energy.

At this stage, you should aim to maintain age appropriate exercise and play and continue to be consistent with expectations and obedience.

Why Do Puppies Like Kisses?

Why Do Puppies Like Kisses?

Few experiences can top the feeling you get when your puppy greets you at the door with a wagging tail and plenty of kisses. Puppy kisses, after all, are one of the best parts about owning a puppy.

But why do puppies love to give kisses?

Puppies seem to crave licking. Sometimes to the point where we, as owners, wish they didn’t. Surely there is a simple biological answer to this, right? Well, actually, it seems that it’s still up for debate whether puppies really do enjoy kisses in the human sense.

While there’s no conclusive, scientific evidence on why puppies love to lick, we can infer from our knowledge of mammalian biology and animal behaviour.

Puppy love

Why Does my Puppy Always Lick Me?

Puppies lick for several reasons, most of which are socially based; puppies are pack animals, after all. 

Firstly, puppies lick each other to show affection and improve social bonding. When puppies lick themselves or another dog, hormones called endorphins are released. These hormones are often referred to as “feel-good” hormones because they help relieve stress and boost happiness. Thus, as puppies lick, they experience a sense of pleasure. Humans experience similar happiness boosting and pain-relieving sensations when they exercise, kiss, hug and receive gifts.

Puppies also lick to gather information about pack mates and show submission in social settings. Puppies will often lick higher pack members in an attempt to indicate their submission. This behaviour proves that they are not a threat and may also garner a reward in the form of food and attention.  

So, that explains why they like to lick, but do puppies enjoy kissing in a human sense?

It’s more likely than not that, for puppies, licking is more instinctive than cultural, as it is for humans. That is, your puppy’s obsession with licking your face may have more to do with the mucus, sweat, and oils on your face than with a sense of intimacy.

A large degree of canine affection occurs through non-verbal, non-contact communication. Puppies hug and kiss through body language and eye contact and bond through play. Endorphin levels in puppies spike when puppies communicate with body language and during play.

how to give a Puppy bath
Puppy kisses while giving a bath

Do All Puppies Enjoy Kissing and Licking?

While many puppies love to demonstrate their submission and affection through licking hands, feet, and faces, not all puppies love ‘kissing’. Some puppies like to have personal space and prefer non-contact communication.

Especially for anxious puppies, kissing can be a form of affection which increases stress and nervousness. Some signs off this include growling, turning away, high or low tail wagging, and staring.

Its important, if you observe these warning signs, that you avoid forcing you rpuppy to kiss you. Educate children on the warning signs of canine aggression and the importance of puppy personal space. Children, like puppies, are sometimes ill-aware of the concept of personal space. It’s always best to educate your puppy about recognising puppy behaviour so that they can avoid accidents and trauma.

That being said, there are many ways to show your puppy affection, including Belly Rubs, play, and training. If your puppy doesn’t enjoy kisses, invest time in finding a bonding activity that they do love for a long-lasting, loving relationship with your pet. 

Why Do Puppies Love Belly Rubs?

Why Do Puppies Love Belly Rubs?

If you like to pat your puppy then you’ve probably encountered the notorious “belly rub roll”. Puppies seemingly love to have their tummies rubbed. But why do rubs on the belly feel so much better than anywhere else?

The answer for this one is fairly simple; it feels really good.

Belly rubs for puppy’s builds trust, loyalty and love with your puppy.

A good belly rub is an awesome calming technique for the puppy’s temperament. If you find your puppy has way too much energy, try the belly rub technique and use a word like “Relax!” while stroking the belly. But important to note… you have to be relaxed while doing it.

I personally cut the nails of my Japanese Akitas while they are on their backs. In between feet and nails, they get their belly rubs, which they really love. They relax and trust me.

puppy belly rub training
It can make them relaxed when they are excited also, a calming technique which has many benefits.

Why Do Belly Rubs Feel So Good?

I bet you haven’t really put much thought into it before. You start patting your puppy and they like it. They roll over to expose their belly because they love the way it feels you’re willing to oblige because, well, you love your puppy.

It’s a simple process but there’s actually quite a lot of trust built into this exercise. A puppy’s stomach is an extremely vulnerable place. It houses important organs and is not protected by a strong, bony ribcage like their chest is. Puppies are naturally reluctant to expose their vulnerable parts so if they’re willing to roll over for belly tickles, it means you have quite a strong, trusting relationship with your puppy.

Now, onto why it feels so good.

While there isn’t much study into why puppies specifically enjoy belly rubs, there is firm scientific basis which we can apply in this situation.

Puppies are mammals, and most mammals (including humans) have an inbuilt neural response which reacts to hair follicle stimulation. Researchers found that a brain neuron called MRGPRB4 reacted strongly to gentle stroking but not at all to other sensations. More simply, when you stroke your puppy’s hair follicles a release of hormones stimulates feelings of pleasure.

belly rub training puppy
My Japanese Akita’s relaxing.

But why do belly rubs feel so good in particular?

Well this seems to come down to the smaller, much more sensitive hairs on your puppy’s belly. These hairs are more respondent to stroking and therefore make the MRGPRB4 stimulation more effective.

This could be a result of evolutionary selection. Perhaps puppies with more sensitive hair follicles on their stomachs learnt more quickly that they should guard their stomachs. Puppies could be taught through play that their stomachs were areas which needed protecting.

puppy belly rub training
Sleeping with the belling facing up means the puppy is very relaxed. Puppies will automatically roll over and this follows into adulthood.

What if My Puppy Doesn’t Like Belly Rubs?

While many puppies will revel at the opportunity to have their tummies rubbed, not all puppies enjoy this behaviour. For some puppies, exposing their bellies is a sign of different behaviours. For other puppies, contact with the stomach can be seen as hostile and trigger an appropriate response.

If your puppy automatically rolls over and exposes their belly to you when you walk into a room, this may be a sign of submission, rather than an invite to rub their belly. Puppies perform this trick to make themselves appear as unintimidating as possible to higher pack mates. However, if your puppy exposes their belly to you after you start patting them, then it’s more likely a sign of enjoyment.

If your puppy is exposing their bellies as a sign of submission, it’s important to build on the trust and bond you share. Being sensitive of anxious puppy’s needs is an extremely important part of growing a happy and healthy relationship with your pet.

How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting?

How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting?

Biting and nipping are natural puppy behaviours. Much like humans, puppies lose their “milk teeth” as they develop. This can cause considerable discomfort and, much like babies, your puppy will look to relieve this discomfort through biting, nipping, and chewing.

Unfortunately, puppies will sometimes direct this behaviour towards you, your family, and your belongings.

The puppy just out of being in a litter will think its normal behaviour from playing with siblings or mum and dad in this manner. It’s important to remember that your puppy doesn’t intend to hurt you.

While biting and nipping during the teething period is relatively normal, it’s important to stop this behaviour early to discourage your puppy from developing a biting habit. As your puppy grows into a larger dog, innocent biting could develop into a serious, painful problem.

how to stop my puppy biting chihuahua
How to stop my puppy biting me? Redirection the puppy to a toy, works wonders!

How Can I Stop Puppy Biting?

With some patience and persistence, you can curb your puppy’s biting habit and prevent future biting. The following steps provide a guide to dealing with teething trouble.

  1. Acknowledge

The first step to stopping biting is to acknowledge that your puppy should not, under any circumstances, make contact with you using their teeth.

Puppies are most comfortable and well-behaved when there is a clear expectation of what is appropriate, and what is not. By acknowledging that biting is an inappropriate behaviour, you cement the expectation that your puppy should not be doing it.

When puppies play, there may be times when one oversteps the boundary. When this occurs, the other puppy will often let out a “yelp” to signal their disapproval. Litter mates will establish expectations this way and it’s important you do too.

If your puppy bites or nips you, it’s vital that you alert your puppy to the fact that it hurt and that it’s inappropriate behaviour. This can be done by:

  • Letting out your own “yelp” or “ow” sound
  • Pulling away can lead to a little puppy tooth catching your skin, and can hurt. Try not to move fast, but slow and controlled, kids might need to be told with softer skin how to be around a playful puppy.
  • Letting out a stern “ah ah” or “ow” (be sure not to yell) and not to use “No!”, avoiding this word will benefit learning for the puppy because for example, in normal day living, if someone asks “Do you want a coffee?” and the answer is “No!” It can create confusion if that’s the go to word for correction behaviour.

This way, you can teach your puppy that biting hurts and encourage them to avoid biting you in the future.

It’s important to maintain a firm, stern attitude when training your puppy not to bite. If you act in a playful manner, your puppy may view your reactions as playful behaviour, initiating a frustrating game. Once you have acknowledged negative behaviour, it is sometimes best to ignore it and allow your puppy to stop of their own accord. 

puppy socialisation
Puppies can learn quickly from other dogs behaviour,
so it’s good to have nice friends at the development stage of a puppies life.
  • Redirect

Once you have acknowledged that biting is inappropriate behaviour, it’s important to give your puppy something else to chew on; this is called redirection.

Redirect your puppies desire to bite by providing things that you want them to chew. If your puppy is teething, their instinct is to relieve oral discomfort by chewing. Rather than trying to fight this instinct, you can have a great deal of success by learning to redirect it.

Have chew toys available at all times during the teething stage to encourage your puppy to choose these over you, your family, and your belongings.

If you notice that your puppy seems to nibble on you at certain times or in particular locations and situations, have a toy on hand to anticipate the behaviour.

If your puppy does bite you, acknowledge the behaviour, as in step 1. After your “yelp”, provide your puppy with a chew toy for them to nibble on.

* It’s important to avoid using redirection as a treat. Do not give your puppy food after they have bitten you. This will only encourage and reward the behaviour.

how to stop my puppy biting me
Redirection, if you don’t have a toy to use, grab a
stick in the garden and use that for the puppy.
  • Play

You can discourage biting quite effectively by giving your puppy attention and praise through other, more positive games.

Some puppies learn to view biting as “play time”. This is especially true if you encourage the behaviour through attention or treats. When your puppy associates biting with reward, they are more likely to maintain a habit of biting as they get older.

Despite their innocent intent, it’s important to never view biting as a form of play. This can be especially difficult if your puppy comes to view any reaction as a reward of attention.

You can exercise your puppy’s desire to chew and play roughly through games.

Tug-o-war and fetch are both excellent examples of games which appease your puppy’s instinct to play and chew. By playing these games with your puppy, you can drain their energy, satisfy their impulses, and improve your bond with them.

Thus, play is an excellent way to reduce biting behaviour in puppies.

golden-retrievers training
Having well mannered puppies to play with is always handy,
same age and energy either siblings or from the local puppy school.
Having regular play dates teaches good behaviour.
  • Socialise

Lastly, you can discourage your puppy from chewing by allowing them to play with other friendly puppies.

Puppies naturally learn to handle biting behaviour through play. By allowing your puppy to play with others, they can exercise their need to chew without it affecting you.

Take your puppy to dog parks and puppy preschools, invite friends with puppies over for play dates, and search for puppy groups on Facebook.

A puppy who has the opportunity to expend their energy will be a lot calmer and happier. What’s more, a puppy who has used up their energy will be less likely to nibble on you and your furniture.

Even if only once or twice a month, allowing your puppy to socialise with other puppies will make them more rounded and happy overall. When your puppy isn’t playing with others, you can help expend their energy through games, walks, and training.


The most important thing to remember about training your puppy not to bite is that chewing is a natural instinct. It takes patience, persistence, and dedication to set clear expectations and firm guidelines.

If your puppy continues to chew, nibble, and bite, even after a month or so of consistent training, it may be best to contact a local trainer who can provide more individualised assistance.

Important to note, if a puppy is playful and catches jeans or clothing while you’re walking with their puppy tooth, stop and try to unhook their little puppy teeth, otherwise they might lose the K9 tooth and you might need to put a dollar under the puppy pillow.

Be consistent with the puppies training (meaning everyone, friends & family) everyone doing the same training techniques for quicker learning for the puppies.