Displacement Behaviours

Displacement behaviours are normal behaviours displayed out of context. It is important to look at the context to determine what your puppy is feeling and whether or not it was the puppy showing the behaviour normally or out of context. Displacement Behaviours are a GOOD thing. Displacement behaviours can be shown by a puppy both positively (overexcited, relaxed, etc.) and negatively (fearful, anxious, etc.). A puppy will show displacement behaviours when it has a desire to do something but suppresses that desire. Displacement behaviours are a puppy’s way of trying to communicate and indicate how they are feeling. We need to acknowledge and respect when a puppy is showing displacement behaviours to make sure that the situation doesn’t further escalate. Never punish a puppy for showing a displacement behaviour as you might suppress the puppy showing them in future and therefore jump higher on the ladder of fear/aggression from the beginning. Not only are you observing your puppy for displacement behaviours but also observing any other dogs that are around your puppy to prevent any altercations from happening. Remember displacement behaviours are your puppy’s way of communicating with you and showing you how they feel.  

Examples of displacement behaviours include: 

Yawning when not tired 


● Lip licking when not around food 










● Sudden scratching when not itchy










● Humping










● Sudden sniffing ground or other object 










● Wet dog shake when not wet or dirty 










● Snorting, huffing or sneezing










● Checking or licking genital area

● Rolling on the ground










● Hyped-up running/zooming around










● Whale eye










● Scratching the ground with back legs










● Excessive licking










● Sudden biting at paws or other body part










● Stretching