Jumping, Chewing, Playbiting, and Other Destructive Behavior Problems in Puppies, Young Dogs

Pediatric Behavior Problems in Dogs

Undesirable behavior exhibited by dogs between puppyhood and adolescence, such as destructive chewing, jumping on people, and play biting, is medically referred to as pediatric behavior problems. Though these behaviors may be perceived as a “normal” trait of a puppy, it is often not acceptable behavior for a pet. It is important to address this as early as possible with behavioral modification therapies while the puppy is still impressionable.

Genetics do play an important role and behavior of young pups is likely to be similar to those of their parents. Certain breeds inherit certain problems like unruly, activity problems in working breeds of dog. However, such behavioral problems have been found to be more common in urban areas where opportunities for exercise and play are limited.

Symptoms and Types

Destructive Chewing

Initially, the pup may chew and damage furniture and/or other household items in the presence of family member, but after being caught and punished, he may continue be destructive when no family member is around.


Play fighting may be started by a family member initially, but can further escalate or become spontaneous afterward. This is a problem because the deciduous teeth of puppies are still sharp and can cause injury if it bites the hands, legs, and/or clothing of family members. Growling and barking may also develop, but usually differ from the acts associated with fear or justified aggression.

Jumping on People

Jumping on people and placing paws on visitors and/or family members typically occurs during greetings and when she is excited, but may occur when the pup wants attention or something in the person’s hand.

Getting on Counters/Furniture

The pup may get on the counters or furniture to grab an object to chew or eat. He or she may also jump on furniture during play, to get attention, or to rest.


While many behavior problems in puppies are species-typical, there are some causes that can worsen behavioral issues — many of which are related to inadequate supervision, control, training, exercise, and/or the pup’s general environment. Specific factors that may lead to the categories listed above include:

Destructive chewing

  • Poor nutrition or inadequate food provisions
  • Presence of mice or other small mammals in the walls or flooring
  • Spilled food on carpet or furniture
  • Insufficient or uninteresting toys
  • Escape behavior

Play biting

  • Teasing and rough play (i.e., encouraging pup to bite)
  • Long confinement periods, especially in small enclosures
  • Excited greetings by visitors or family members

Getting on Counters/Furniture

  • Insufficient or uninteresting toys
  • Desired foods or objects left on furniture
  • Uncomfortable floor surfaces or inadequate sleeping areas



You will need to give the veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The questions will particularly focus on the pup’s environment, new additions to the family (including other animals), and other related topics. Laboratory tests, meanwhile, are often not conducted unless a concurrent disease or condition is present.


The act of determining an animal’s age by looking at its teeth


The term for a harness that is worn by certain animals; it fits over the head and the nose

deciduous teeth

Temporary teeth that go away as maturity approaches

Leave a Reply