Why is he doing that!? Puppy Quirks.

Puppies do some strange things, that you do not see adult dogs doing……here are some of the weird, funny and sometimes worrying things that we have noticed with Nando:


From Day One…….

Breathing Fast:

During the first 24 hours we had Nando, he was breathing really quickly.  He wasn’t coughing, had no discharge from his nostrils, and was bright-eyed and healthy looking – so probably not a lung infection!

The breathing was most likely an anxiety response.  This was perfectly understandable given that he had just been taken away from his family and home!  But what surprised me was that he breathed fast even while he slept……I had thought, if he was anxious, the breathing rate would slow down during sleep – but it didn’t.  Thankfully after 24 hours, his breathing returned to normal.

He sometimes still does this when he is nervous, even at 22 weeks.


Nando hiccuped a lot during the first month.  Pretty much every time he ate or drank, or got nervous he hiccupped.  I don’t know exactly why – but he survived, and slowly the hiccuping episodes became less frequent.

At 22 weeks, he still hiccups occasionally.  He also burps after eating!

Face rubbing:

Nando would often rub his face with his paw, or on the ground, after eating or drinking.  I checked his mouth for inflammation or something painful but there was nothing obvious, especially early on before he started teething.  He still rubs his face, but not as often.  My best 2 guesses as to why, are:

  1. He does not like the sensation of food and water in his beard and moustache
  2. His gums hurt because he is teething

Now, at 22 weeks, I still think it is a combination of dental pain and not liking having a wet beard and moustache.

Everything goes in the mouth:

Puppies seem to share this trait with human babies – they explore new things by putting it in their mouth – tasting it, chewing it, experiencing the texture – and mostly spitting it out again. But not always!

We tend to let Nando explore things with his mouth – rocks, hard plastic, most plants etc – so that he can learn what is edible and what is not, but we watch him real close!  We don’t let him chew discarded food, or soft plastic, or things he likes to swallow, like tissues and serviettes!  Read more about this under the ‘Tissue Issue’ in Growing up in the City.

Going ‘Mad Dog’:

…..aka the ‘Zoomies’.  There is nothing more delightful than watching a puppy get a burst of hyperactivity that manifests as the dog bolting in random, energised, silly and joyful circles, with its butt and hind legs tucked under the body, giving it propulsion to run in crazy bursts.  What triggers this behaviour is not clear (to me at least), but its like a ‘sudden joyful brain explosions’ that seems to occur toward the end of a period of play, or around older dogs who are reluctant to play with him.  I think the puppy run even amuses these old dogs.


Our little humper.  Nando has 2 sheeps skins (he is just a bit spoiled) – one was a birthday present given to my husband a few years ago that he happily donated to Nando when he showed an affection for it.  The second was given to us by friends who were moving house.  From the age of 10 weeks Nando was humping these sheeps skins.  He gathers them up into a nice peak that fits under his body then goes for it (see video below).  He is only just entering puberty……so part of the purpose of this blog is to keep a record of what happens with this behaviour.

I am a bit conflicted about whether he should be allowed to do this or not, but at 10 weeks, it was play not sexual, and at 17 weeks he is still only doing it to the sheep skins, and at 19 weeks he is doing it less.

If we get the slightest inkling of him doing it near us, we walk away and leave him to it, and we don’t let him drag the sheep skin onto the couch to have his way with it (which he really wants to do).  I have seen him try humping one female dog now, but she told him clearly to back off – which was great.

At 22 weeks, Nando only humps his sheep skin when he is over-excited or stressed.

Energetic days and sleepy days:

Nando has days where he is quiet and sleeps a lot, especially in the first 6 weeks.  I worry that he is brewing an infection on these days (especially before he had all of his vaccines), but usually he just woke up having gotten taller, or wider, or longer, or with crazier hair.  Growing must be hard work!

He also slept a lot during the weeks when he was rapidly teething – 2022 weeks of age.

Nando the Groodle Puppy - growing is hard work!

Busy growing

Belly rubs:

I recently read an article by a veterinary behaviourist that said dogs don’t like belly rubs (its a very submissive behaviour to show the belly) but they tolerate it because they think it makes us happy.  Nando really does seem to enjoy it, as did my last dog, and it is purely voluntary on the dog’s part, and he is usually very clear when he doesn’t like something.  Chest and armpit scratches he definitely enjoys.

Anxiety and Fear

City noises are scary!

Growing up in the city is not easy on a puppy.  We live in a neighbourhood where there is a lot of construction and trains passing by.   The noises of jack hammers and heavy equipment, the sight of cranes moving, the sound of fast trains, and the rev of a motor bike engines, and the crash of skateboards against concrete were scary/terrifying to him at first.  Some of these noises have receded into ‘background noises’ for him, but some, like skateboards and motorcycles are still scary.

Vacuum cleaners and hair dryers are also scary!

Apparently this is a common Groodle trait.

My husband was given a great tip to talk to and pat the vacuum cleaner like it was also a puppy.  That was super fun to watch, and actually seemed to work – but we only started that last week, so we will see how well that works again (today I lay the vacuum cleaner down and gave it ‘belly rubs’…..Nando may have even gotten jealous, because he came over and had a close look 😉 ).  With the hair dryer, he now sits and watches me dry my hair (from a safe distance) – instead of running under the bed.  In the long term, hopefully he will let us dry him after a bath, especially in winter.

Nando the Groodle Puppy at 10 weeks - anxiety
Nervous, but not quite fitting under the couch.

People can be scary too!

New were also scary at first, but over time he has became more and more comfortable and social.  Nando is a bit of a cute, so people stop to pat him all the time – he sits in the office doorway at work in the hope that people will stop by to chat, and they do!  Most people try to pat him on the head – which usually results in some hand chewing (he is mostly gentle) – shoulder patting is safer.

Nando is far more interested in playing with other dogs than he is in interacting with people.


Let us know about your Groodle experiences! Same or different?