We’ve all been there! You’ve got your new baby and the excitement is overwhelming. So, too, is the feeling of responsibility for this ridiculously cute little ball of fluff. The natural response is, of course, panic. Well, don’t! We are here to help. Naturally, you want to know if your puppy is happy, so here are a couple of guidelines.
A happy, healthy puppy is going to want to wee, play, eat, poop and sleep, usually in that order (with some extra wee and play thrown in). Your puppy will also need love and cuddle sessions. Touch is extremely important for them. If your puppy is getting all these things, he should be a happy little fellow. To make sure, you can look for the following signs:
A happy puppy’s tail should be either relaxed or wagging. If it’s held between the legs, or stiffly pointing upwards, these are signs of fear or undue arousal.
A happy puppy’s body would not be stiff. They are kind of floppy little creatures. If your baby is standing frozen and stiff, something is worrying it. If, however, your fur ball is bouncing, flopping and rolling around, you can be pretty sure he’s happy.
A play-bow is a really good sign of a happy puppy. When a dog wants to initiate play, they’ll lower their front legs and face close to the ground, with the bum up in the air. Let the games begin.
A happy puppy’s eyes are relaxed, often with their forehead furrowed. A wide-eyed look, with the whites showing, is a sure sign something is worrying them. If your puppy’s eyes are wide and their body and tail stiff, they may have noticed a new, foreign object. Pay attention to this and, if this is the case, introduce them to the new object slowly. Go and touch the object yourself, so your baby can see that it’s nothing to worry about. Let him come and sniff it in his own time. If it’s something dangerous, remove either it, or your puppy.
If your puppy is happy, he should be delighted to see you each time you return, or he wakes up, or just happens to see you when not expected.
Ok, so, we have a puppy and things will get destroyed. They will teeth and need to chew on stuff. However, if everything in your house is being chewed up and destroyed, your pup is likely lacking mental and physical exercise. A happy puppy gets plenty of exercise and entertainment. Remember, they need both. They’ll get equally tired from mental activity as they will from physical. They need plenty of appropriate toys and interactive play time with you.
Excessive destructiveness, especially while you are away, may indicate separation anxiety. If this is the case, go back to basics. Get the excess energy out of your puppy before you leave. This can be in the form of training or exercise. Make sure he has gone to the toilet (think how you jump around when desperate for the loo). Leave the house but return within a few minutes. Repeat this a few times until your pup realizes that you always come back. Now you can begin leaving for a little longer at a time.
A happy, healthy puppy should have a healthy appetite. They are growing at a rapid rate and their interest in food should reflect this. If he stops eating, or his appetite drops off, it might be time for a trip to the vet.
The bum wag is a great way to know your puppy is happy. Sometimes, in utter delight, rather than a simple tail wag, the whole back end gets involved in the joy of the moment.
Leaning up against you is another way to know that your puppy is happy and comfortable with you. The lean is, also, terribly cute.
The way your puppy sleeps can also tell you a lot. A happy, well exercised puppy, tends to flop down in some of the most hilarious positions. If they are comfortable and confident, they’ll spread themselves out, or show their tummies, or just collapse wherever they may be. If your puppy is hiding or curling into a tight ball whenever they sleep, they are likely not feeling comfortable with their environment.
Your puppy’s mouth should be relaxed, sometimes even looking like they have a smile on their face. Not a snarl, or a baring of teeth, just a relaxed mouth.
Remember, dogs live in the moment. If they are happy now, then they will not be thinking about anything in the past. For the first few days, the puppy will be trying to adjust to a new environment and new people but he will settle in and love you beyond anything imaginable. So long as you are providing the basic needs of love, exercise, training, food, water and shelter, your puppy should be happy. If you are at all concerned, please feel free to pop us a question. A quick trip to the vet, or calling in a qualified behaviourist can also prove invaluable.