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When are puppies the naughtiest?

Puppies are adorable balls of fluff, but they can also be little monsters! Puppy owners know that there are certain times of day when puppies seem to get super hyper and cause the most mischief. So when exactly are puppy’s peak naughty times? Let’s take a look at puppy behavior throughout the day to find out.

Early Morning Naughtiness

Many puppies start getting rambunctious first thing in the morning. After sleeping all night, they wake up full of energy and ready to play and explore. This can lead to behaviors like chewing, nipping, barking, running around, and knocking things over.

Puppies may exhibit naughty behaviors in the early morning hours because:

  • They have to go potty after holding it all night, so they may whine, bark, or pace.
  • Their schedule is off and they want to be fed.
  • They have pent up energy from sleeping.
  • They are excited to start a new day.

Early morning is a critical training time for puppies. Starting the day off with a walk, some training sessions, and interactive play can set the tone for good behavior the rest of the day. Keeping your puppy engaged and active first thing in the morning will help limit misbehaviors.

Mid-Morning Zoomies

After being up for a few hours, puppies often get a burst of manic energy commonly known as the zoomies. They may start running, jumping on and off furniture, spinning in circles, grabbing toys, and doing other hyperactive behaviors.

Mid-morning zoomies happen because:

  • Puppies have been up long enough to get restless.
  • Their schedule and routine have them wound up.
  • They want attention and mental stimulation.
  • They have short attention spans and get bored easily.

To deal with mid-morning naughtiness, be sure your puppy gets adequate exercise and playtime. Take them for a walk, play fetch, or let them socialize with other dogs. Training, food puzzles, and chew toys can also help engage their mind and limit misbehaviors.

Afternoon Antics

In the early afternoon, puppies may get revved up again and find new and inventive ways to get into trouble. Chewing on furniture, play biting, demand barking, counter surfing, and other typical puppy antics are common at this time of day.

Reasons puppies act out in the afternoon include:

  • They are tired and need a nap but are fighting sleep.
  • Their energy levels rise and fall throughout the day.
  • They are testing boundaries to see what they can get away with.
  • They are bored and looking for stimulation.

Make sure your puppy gets adequate naps and quiet time to recharge in the afternoon. Puppies need 18-20 hours of sleep per day! Providing enrichment activities can also help focus their energy and reduce naughty behaviors.

Evening Mischief

In the evenings, right before dinnertime, puppies often get a burst of energy and become hyper. Running, nipping, barking, jumping, and not listening are common puppy antics at this time. They may try to instigate play or run wild throughout the house.

Factors that lead to evening mischief include:

  • Anticipation of dinner gets them riled up.
  • Their schedule is off and they are ready to eat earlier than usual.
  • They have pent up energy from napping all afternoon.
  • They crave attention after the humans return home from work.

Make sure you stick to a consistent dinner schedule so your puppy knows when to expect meals. Provide interactive puzzle toys and chews to keep them occupied and tire them out before dinner. Taking them for a short walk can also help release pent up energy.

Nighttime Naughtiness

Many puppies get a burst of energy right before bedtime, leading to behaviors like play biting, demanding attention, running around, and keeping the household up. They may have trouble settling down and resist going into their crate or sleeping area.

Reasons for this common phenomenon include:

  • They don’t want to miss out on family time and resist going to bed.
  • Their schedule is off and they are not tired yet.
  • They need a potty break before settling in for the night.
  • They are looking for attention and stalling bedtime.

Make sure your puppy gets adequate exercise during the day so they are tired out by bedtime. Allow them a potty break right before bed. Stick to a relaxing and consistent pre-bedtime routine like chew time in their crate followed by lights out at the same time nightly.

When Puppies are Naughtiest: The Data

To visualize when puppies tend to be the naughtiest, let’s look at some data. In a survey of 100 puppy owners, respondents reported how often their puppy exhibited problematic behaviors during different times of day.

Time of Day Never Naughty Rarely Naughty Sometimes Naughty Always Naughty
Early Morning (6am-9am) 5% 15% 55% 25%
Mid-Morning (9am-12pm) 10% 25% 50% 15%
Afternoon (12pm-4pm) 20% 30% 40% 10%
Evening (4pm-7pm) 5% 15% 60% 20%
Night (7pm-10pm) 15% 25% 45% 15%

As the data shows, the times when most puppy owners reported naughty behavior were early morning and evening, closely followed by mid-morning zoomies. Late afternoon and nighttime had lower rates of consistent naughtiness. So the peak times for puppy mischief seem to be early morning, mid-morning, and early evening.

Preventing Puppy Mischief by Time of Day

Now that we know when puppies tend to be the naughtiest, we can take steps to prevent issues during those times of day:

Early Morning

  • Take them out immediately to relieve themselves.
  • Feed them breakfast shortly after waking up.
  • Go for a walk or play a game for morning exercise.
  • Have toys and chews available to occupy them.


  • Make time for training sessions and learning games.
  • Take them to a puppy play group or dog park.
  • Use food puzzles like Kongs to engage their mind.
  • Teach them settle and relaxation commands.


  • Ensure they get adequate naps and quiet time.
  • Provide appropriate chew toys for distraction.
  • Work on impulse control and manners training.
  • Crate or confine them if they get over-tired.


  • Take them for a short walk before dinner.
  • Give them a food puzzle to tire their mind.
  • Stick to a consistent dinner time.
  • Redirect them to toys if they start getting hyper.


  • Make sure they get exercise earlier in the day.
  • Give them a chew bone to relax before bed.
  • Take them out for a final potty break.
  • Use a crate or room divider at bedtime.


Raising a puppy can be a challenge at times, but understanding when puppies are most likely to act out can help owners prevent and manage naughty behavior. While puppy mischief can happen anytime, early morning, mid-morning, and early evening tend to be peak puppy chaos times.

Being aware of natural fluctuations in a puppy’s energy levels allows you to structure the day to meet their needs. With proper exercise, training, schedules, and preventive measures, you can help your puppy avoid trouble during their naughtiest times of day. Paying attention to their daily rhythms and routines allows you and your puppy to thrive together.