The instincts and behaviors of puppies

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What are the instincts of puppies? Instinct and behavioral traits hold the key to unlocking this mystery. All of this begins when your dog is still a puppy.

Dogs today hold the same instincts and behavioral traits as dogs from long ago.

  They are mainly predatory animals, ready and willing to run and hunt.  These instincts are in place even before a puppy is born.

Most dogs are eager to please.  Their willingness to adapt to new situations is astounding.  Instinct and behavior play a huge role in this theory.  From the time of birth, puppies have senses.  These senses shape their behavior as they grow.

Puppies are born with 5 major senses, just as humans have.  Smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight.  Some if not all of these will have to be developed as the puppies grow.  Puppies are also born with a protective instinct.  

Smell is a very important sense for a puppy.  When they are born, their eyes are closed, so they must instinctively rely on their sense of smell to survive.  Being able to smell its mother for nourishment as well as comfort is key. As your puppy matures, smell plays a different roll.  Smells help to identify people, places, objects, other animals, etc.  

Taste is just as important as smell. For puppies, knowing the taste of its mother's milk is key for survival. A dog will rarely eat anything that doesn't entice his sense of smell.  However, there is a dog or two or three out there that will eat just about anything.

Touch refers to the puppy’s willingness to be touched by people.  Some puppies withdrawal and have the same reaction as they grow older while other puppies and dogs react positively when touched.  

Most dogs have exceptionally keen hearing.  From birth, puppies have the ability to hear sounds we humans cannot hear.  They can also detect sounds that are higher pitched.  Puppies are extremely sensitive to the human voice and react according to the tone of your voice.  A higher pitched voice will sound pleasing to your dog as opposed to a lower voice, to which the dog will instinctively know something is wrong.


A good amount of dogs have poor eyesight.  Not necessary as puppies, though, but diminishing as they age.  Instinctively, they rely on hearing and smell to get around.

The instinct to protect is major.  Puppies are born with this instinct, but it develops with age.  Dogs protect the things that surround them.  Be it a toy or his owner.  They will frequently mark their territory.  They do this by urinating around the perimeter of their domain.  If any changes occur within his domain, protective instincts will come into play.

Young puppies are readily able to adapt to new situations at around 3 weeks old.  As they grow, you will see new behaviors emerge.  Embrace your puppy’s new instincts and behaviors.  It is what individualizes him and makes him part of your world.



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